#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Philip Redhead

What is the best way to study online? Should you do an online programme? How to better manage time when learning online?

How to deal with the challenges of learning online? Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash.

These are all questions that we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get regularly asked by students looking to join one of our online programmes. Undertaking to do an online master’s degree programme will be an additional commitment to your time and finances, and it is wise to get information beforehand.

Through this continuing series of blog posts, some of our past and current students have shared their experiences, thoughts and opinions and given their feedback on handling some of these choices and situations. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.

“Expect it to be tough but rewarding.”

Philip Redhead

An Introduction

Photo by Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash.

Who are you?

Philip Redhead

Which Uni are you studying with?

York St John University

Which programme did you choose and why?

MBA Leading Innovation and Change. I selected this course to build on my MSc in Educational Leadership and Management in terms of a broader business and strategy angle.

The Study Plan

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? For example, how many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

Each module really does require 200-300 hours. I planned for 2-3 hours per day on most weekdays and extended periods at weekends. I also took leave at crucial times to ensure submission deadlines were met.

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)

Evenings through the week and full days at weekends and on the days I took leave leading up to the draft and final submissions.

How much time did you devote to each assignment?

200-300 hours

Travelling and Communication

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash.

How did travelling impact your ability to study?

As a consultant, I was travelling regularly, which helped me have alone time in hotels to focus on my studies. I even got quite a lot done on planes.

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?

This was fine. I was always within 3-4 hours of Zurich and York. Also, being ‘ahead’ gave me an extra feeling of comfort over deadlines!

A typical day as a master’s student

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?

Depends. On working weekdays maybe 2 hours most evenings. Then planned, long days in cafes.

Any advice?

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.

Expect it to be tough but rewarding. Plan time across the 12 weeks of each module when you know, you will be alone and not be disturbed. The better you plan and communicate your plan, the more understanding and supportive your family and employer will be! Select your module dates according to your commitments, and don’t be afraid to change. Resist the temptation to do this quickly and overlap courses if you are also working full time.


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer and the application process.

It’s 2022! Happy New Year!

On behalf of the staff and students at Robert Kennedy College, I would like to wish all our readers and their families a Happy New Year 2022! May this year be blessed and bring an end to COVID!

2020 was a real downer of a year, and so when 2021 started, we all had hopes that this year would be much better than 2020. We hoped that we would be able to return to a pre-COVID lifestyle. And to some extent, we achieved this, but sadly many things have remained the same.

Let’s start with the positives and see how things changed for the better

Vaccinations: 2020 was the year of the pandemic, but 2021 was the year of vaccinations. The world made a concerted effort to fight the CORONA virus, and our scientists created the COVID vaccines in record time. Our healthcare professionals were, of course, the first to get themselves vaccinated because they risked it all and were at the frontlines during the peak of the pandemic in 2020. Most of us were right behind them and were desperate to get ourselves vaccinated as soon as possible. Not only to protect ourselves from COVID but to be able to go out and socialise.

I want to thank our scientists and healthcare professionals who worked tirelessly to create the vaccines and for keeping us safe and healthy even during the pandemic’s peak.

Our gratitude to all the scientists and healthcare professionals. Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash.

Back to office: 2021 was the year offices started opening up. While most of us got used to working from home, there were a few among us who just got frustrated and demotivated sitting at home all the time. Going back to the office just lifted the spirits. So, the offices opening up, all be it in a limited way and following COVID protocols, can as a timely relief for a number of us.

Entertainment: I know I keep mentioning “socialising” repeatedly, but as the legendary Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “man is by nature a social animal”. And with vaccinations, theatres, restaurants, cafés, etc., started to reopen. I remember a friend wanting to catch up atacafé as soon as it opened because she was scared we might go back into another lockdown if she delayed. But we could at least go back to socialising in a small way.

Back to school: While physically going to school will have a minimal impact on graduate or postgraduate students and self-learning forms an essential part of their learning, it makes a big difference to primary and secondary school students. For young developing minds, the social interaction they experience at school plays a vital role in their social skills development, and the physical activities they undertake at school help them develop physically. And of course, parents also get to catch up on work and their other interests when they don’t have to constantly find ways to keep their kids productively occupied and entertained at the same time.

Going to school is vital for developing social skills. Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash.

Holiday: While I haven’t gone on a holiday since January 2020, I know many people who have gone on holiday, and they have all got back much happier and refreshed, especially after being locked in at home for most of 2020 and 2021. Being able to get away from your daily life and having the opportunity to recharge is vital to remain productive.

And now for the negative (Yes, there is only one as I see it!)

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash.

The virus: COVID-19 is what has made us all change the way we live. It hit us hard in 2020, and despite us fighting back in 2021, the virus has evolved – from Delta to Omicron, the virus has mutated and continues to impact our lives. And we are helping it on its evolution by not following COVID-19 protocols, not wearing masks in public, not social distancing, and, most importantly, not getting vaccinated. If we ever want to return to “normal” life (per COVID era life), we must fight COVID together. Listen to what the medical professionals tell us and follow the COVID protocols. Otherwise, this is going to be our new norm.


If you are looking to add a few new skills or a master’s degree to prepare yourself for the “new norm” or prepare for life to return to the “old normal”, consider joining one of our specialised master’s degree programmes. You could also get in touch with our team of admission advisers on WhatsApp, who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice.

If you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

5 ways of marketing effectively during Christmas

On behalf of the staff and students at Robert Kennedy College, I would like to wish you, our readers, and your families a very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Photo by Mitya Ivanov on Unsplash.

Christmas is a time of happiness, hope, and celebration. A time when families come together and broken friendships are mended. A time of holiday and exchanging gifts. A time for children and Santa Claus. It has always been such and hopefully will always be such.

In short, it is a dream come true for every marketing executive. 

Almost every aspect of Christmas can be made into a marketing campaign. Understanding the emotions associated with Christmas and determining how to best capitalise on these emotions will result in the success or failure of the marketing campaign.  

Whether or not companies choose to take advantage of the “Christmas Spirit”, people will still need to buy gifts, travel to be together with family or go on holiday. And, the choices that customers have today are many, and all compete for the same portion of the pie. So, why not position your company to take advantage of the opportunity Christmas offers.

The following are just five points to consider when planning your Christmas campaign!

1. The holiday emotion

This is the time of year when most people are happy and relaxed. There are lights and decorations everywhere, and everything looks beautiful; it just makes one feel so buoyant. I am sure it will come as no surprise, but happy customers tend to spend more. Companies and brands should take advantage of this and position themselves to be more associated with these emotions of happiness and sharing. Receiving presents makes everyone happy, but Christmas is not just about receiving gifts; it is also about giving gifts. This is a message that must be driven to the customer.

2.   Social Media

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash.

It is that time of the year when everyone is enthusiastically active on social media. From food to pictures of them in holiday attire. From holiday pictures to images of snowmen to umbrella drinks on the beach. Or, even just wishing each other a merry and prosperous time. This time of year is one of the peaks that social media experiences, so make sure your social media strategy is in place to take advantage of this period.

3.   Make it all about the holidays

Build-up anticipation for the Christmas season. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.

The good thing about the Christmas and New Year’s holidays is that they come towards the end of the month. So, there is a whole month to build up excitement and anticipation, to make us desire that cherry on top of the cake. This build-up adds to the positive energy of Christmas, encouraging customers to spend more and tempting them with sales and new product launches. If a marketing campaign can build up positive holiday energy around its brand, customers will begin to associate the brand with the season, and when it comes time to spend, that is where the money will go.  

4.   It’s all about the presentation

Everyone likes getting gifts. Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash.

Christmas is a season of giving and receiving. In short, it is a season of gifts; whether it is for someone else or for yourself, it is always lovely to receive a gift. So, present your product like a gift, even change your packaging to make it look more gift-like. If your product can be personalised, encourage your customer to personalise it, let them build an emotional connection with the product.

5.   Set deadlines

All good things must come to an end, and the Christmas season must also end. Similarly, the Christmas marketing campaign must indicate a clear end to the promotion and sale period and build anticipation around it. A customer must get the impression and be convinced that they will miss out on something if they miss this promotion and might have to wait an entire year to get something similar.


Explore several specialised master’s degree programmes in Marketing, Social Media and International Business that Robert Kennedy College offers through exclusive partnerships with top British universities. You could also get in touch with our team of admission advisers on WhatsApp, who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice.

If you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

6 reasons to do a second Master’s degree

How much does one person have to study to get ahead in life?! You studied hard and completed your bachelor’s degree(unless either learning came easy to you or you spent your college days in a haze :)). Then, you realised that a bachelor’s degree just isn’t enough and did a master’s degree. And now I am here giving you reasons to do a second master’s degree!

When does the learning end?!

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash.

The answer to this question is – NEVER. You may not need to do a second master’s degree, but you always need to keep learning or you will be left behind. One of my professors used to say – “learning is growing”. Thinking back, everything this professor said was for our benefit, and most of us were too naive to recognise it. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and today, I look back and appreciate all the staff who put in the effort to impart knowledge to us.   

I apologise for going off on a tangent, but I wanted all of us to think back and appreciate the teachers who gave a damn!

Back to the blog topic – When I first did my degrees, I barely knew what my interests were, let alone where life would take me. There are, of course, some of us here who have everything worked out, mapped and dated; that is surely not me, and I am guessing, not most people.

So, here are SIX reasons why you should consider getting a second master’s degree:

Get yourself that 2nd Master’s degree. Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash.

Aligning your qualifications with life

Let’s say you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s in accounting but somehow ended up with a career in marketing. No idea how it happened, but it happened to you. So, now you have a successful career in marketing but don’t have a formal qualification to back you up. What impact will it have on your career, maybe nothing, or perhaps you will miss out on your next promotion? Besides, it is nice to understand the theories behind what you do every day. It might lead you to enlightenment and make you a marketing guru.

Adding value to what you are doing

So, you have been a nurse for more than 20 years. You did your BSc in general nursing, and then a master’s in critical care. You have worked hard and now you are a nursing manager. While you are still a nurse, your job description has changed. Now you are less a nurse and more a manager. Getting a master’s degree that aligns with your current job profile adds knowledge to what you are doing and adds value to your organisation and yourself.

Change is the only constant

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Business is so dynamic. The way we do things can change overnight and multiple times a year. Technology is constantly evolving. Marketing strategies are constantly changing. You need to stay current, or you will become obsolete. While it is beneficial and even required to do short courses to keep your knowledge updated, a master’s degree from a reputed college is still a MASTER’S DEGREE! Not only will a degree add knowledge, but it will also keep your qualifications updated.  

Staying competitive

Every year hundreds of thousands of students graduate with a master’s degree. I am sure many of these bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youngsters have also joined your organisations. In addition, there is an increasing number of experienced and highly qualified professionals, constantly on the lookout for greener pastures. They are your competition, the people looking to cut the line in front of you. A new master’s degree will keep your knowledge up to date and your qualification current and relevant. And when it’s time for that new job or promotion, it will make all the difference.

Career change

What you are doing is not what you wanted to do, and you are not happy at all. No job satisfaction! A second master’s degree will make you a more desirable prospect to hire. Not only will it add a more current qualification to your resume, thereby adding value to your work experience, but it will also showcase your work ethos. It shows that you are dedicated to your career and are willing to work on developing it.

Networking

Networking Online. Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash.

It is said that your college friends are friends for life – Not relevant here, but the point I am making is the opportunity to network at university can seldom be matched anywhere else. You will have access to not only your coursemates but also to the alumni network of the college and the university. There is a loyalty that exists between the college/university alumni that are seldom found in professional circles.


So, which master’s programme is right for you? Not a question I can answer via a blog post, I’m afraid, but if you want to find out, you can get in touch with our team of admission advisers who can have a look at your profile and give you some advice.

Explore the number of specialised master’s degree programmes Robert Kennedy College offers through exclusive partnerships with top British universities. Or, if you have already made up your mind, click here to apply.

The impact of multinational companies on you! 4 positives and 4 negatives.

Multinational companies have made the world a small place. Global trade! Photo by NASA on Unsplash.

I had a pretty comfortable standard of living growing up. I never lacked for anything, but as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side – I felt the choice of products and services available to me was very limited compared to the options available in other countries.

Now that I am all grown-up, I know that my choices as a kid were limited because my country had a closed economy; we did not have foreign direct investment (or at least very limited) in the county until the early ’90s. We had loads of mom-and-pop stores that you could walk into and bargain for what you wanted.

Investing in a country. Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash.

But once the country opened up, we went from having limited choices to having endless (at least that is what it felt like) choices, from being a vastly farming centric workforce to being a corporate-driven workforce. And while I believe that the positive aspects of an open economy outweigh the negatives, it is just my opinion, and it cannot be denied that there are both positive and negative aspects.

Multinational companies (MNC) that set up shop in my country took a risk on the unknown, deciding to invest in a country with a limited FDI track record. They were not only entering a new market with no idea how customers would receive their product/service, but they would also have to work closely with a government they were unfamiliar with.

The advantage that MNC’s have today is that there are very few unknowns. Technology and the internet have made the world smaller, and these days companies, more often than not, know what they are getting into and can work out a very profitable deal with countries/governments. On the flip side, even governments know a lot about the companies and what they can bring to the table that can benefit the country’s citizens (voting population).

So, what are some of the benefits MNC’s bring?

Positives of MNC’s. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash.
  • The cost-benefit for the MNC’s – This is probably the most significant factor around which business decisions are made. The cost savings is where multinational companies benefit the most, from the cost of labour to raw materials. A company might choose to set up a factory in the same country from where raw materials are sourced. In all likelihood, the cost of labour in these countries will be much lower and add to this, if the companies can finagle a tax concession from the government, then the profit margins they would get from the sale of the products can be exponentially increased. 
  • Benefits to the consumer – The obvious benefit of reducing the manufacturing costs should be a reduction of the selling cost while at the same time maintaining a high standard of product quality. Not to be cynical here, I don’t think the cost reduction will ever happen, but at least the quality of the product will not be compromised to bring down the manufacturing costs. The other benefit is choice. Suppose a company can manufacture a product cheaply. In that case, they can reinvest the money in other endeavours such as expanding their product line, research and development, exploring new markets and market segments, etc. 
  • Employment benefits – MNC’s create new jobs in countries they expand to and create new higher-paying, higher-value jobs in countries they already operate out of and create auxiliary support businesses. For the most part, they bring in industry best practices and help increase the quality of life of their employees by providing them with higher salaries and training.
  • Benefits to the government – This point has roots in the earlier three points. MNC’s create employment for their citizenry and give them more spending power. They increase annual tax collections for the government. MNC’s can help in regulating and keeping the cost of products competitive. The more products and services in the market, the more choice the citizenry have and the more they will spend.   

But, at the same time, with MNC’s, everything is not peaches and cream. So, what are some of the negatives MNC’s bring?

  • Dominating the market – While MNC’s bring in big money, it is the same monetary power that it brings to bear to crush the competition and small local businesses. To pressure local suppliers to align with how much they are willing to pay for a product/service. MNC’s have the power to dictate the supply timelines and the penalties of failure to deliver while at the same time avoiding penalties if payments are not made on time.
  • Social influence – MNC’s are the bringers of change. They introduce the local population to new products and services and a new way of thinking. Some of these new ways may counter the traditions of the land and might topple generations of traditions. Now, some of this might be a good thing, and some of it might be bad, it is all about your point of view and only history can judge.
  • Influence on government – The more powerful MNC’s have the power to lobby for change in government policy to suit their requirements which may be detrimental to the local businesses or the population. Most of the time, the populace doesn’t even realise that things like these happen, and even if they do realise, everything can be spun to smell like a bed of roses when it is actually a pile of dung.
  • Dumping ground – All of us want the latest and best product in the market. It has become so bad that a more-than-a-year-old mobile phone is considered outdated, and more importantly, “so last season”. Where do all these products go? I remember one of the best-selling cars in my country for about a decade was a car that was outdated in most parts of the world about a decade before it was launched for us. Launching outdated products can compromise safety and can harm the local environment.

In my opinion, the days of the local businesses are generally over (there will always be local businesses, I am just saying “in general”). Because of the internet, everyone knows what is out there, and we all want it. We are moving towards one world, one race, and that is mainly because of global trade, which is powered by MNC’s.

If you want to learn to be a better manager on a global then check out one of our 100% online master’s degree programmes. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors today.

What is globalisation?

I don’t know if you have noticed, but many of the online master’s degree programmes we at Robert Kennedy College offer either have the word Global or International in them. Why do you think that is? Is it because of “globalisation”?

Business globalisation. Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash.

I know the word is self-explanatory, but we have to start somewhere, so let us begin with the meaning of globalisation. According to the BBC, Globalisation is the process by which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected due to massively increased trade and cultural exchange.

How has this come about?

The first thing that happened was transport became cheaper and faster. We invented the wheel, then the steam engine, then the combustion engine, and so on. People and goods were able to be moved around the world almost overnight and in large quantities.

Then the communication boom. From snail mail to the telephone, it took a bit of time. Then came the era of mobile phones and the internet, and everything changed. The changes seen just in the last 25 years have been miraculous. The world has been brought closer together (Only in business. In every other way, the world is still pretty divided). Companies have become truly multinational and cross border trade – a mundane reality. At this rate, Gene Roddenberry’s vision in Star Trek of an Earth utopia could become a reality (fingers crossed here).

Advances in communication technology changed how we do business. Photo by Stellan Johansson on Unsplash.

Now, if you combine the two (travel and communication), what you get is globalisation.

To understand this better, let us take Apple Inc. as an example – Designed in California, Made in China. The iPhone may be designed in California, but everything that goes into the iPhone is global. The phone itself is manufactured in China with semiconductors sourced from Italy and Germany, memory chips and processors from South Korea, wi-fi and Bluetooth from Japan, and minerals from Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

While this looks impressive, what is really impressive is the Supply Chain Management that must go on behind the scenes. Apple sells upwards of about two hundred million iPhones a year globally, and they bring out new models of the phone every year. This means the material has to be sourced, the components manufactured, the phone assembled/manufactured and then shipped to ensure they reach the customers’ hands-on time. All this has to be carried out like clockworks across multiple countries. Let’s face it, none of us has any patients anymore, and if there is a delay, I am going to Samsung (Oops, I already have, but for a different reason).

How does Apple Inc. sell 200 million iPhones a year? Supply Chain Management! Photo by Kyle Ryan on Unsplash.

For all this to happen, the communication behind the scene has to be real-time, continuous and spot-on. The shipment planning has to be on-time and seamless. Because remember, you are operating across countries here.

There are a lot of positives to globalisation, such as creating jobs and new income in poorer communities, thereby giving them food and a roof over their heads, making a cheaper yet high-quality product for the customer, and keeping manufacturing costs low, thereby enabling the company to invest the money into some other aspect of the business (hopefully no into the pockets of the executives), just to name a few.

While it is hoped that working with companies from developed nations, the local business partner will be able to adapt the best business practices from the developed countries and raise the standard of living of its employees, the reality is companies still need to secure future contracts with the “big fish”, and the way to do that is by giving a lowball quote on future services. They get this done by cutting corners, cutting wages, and cutting the workforce by increasing the workload.

While this is more likely with companies operating in blue colure job segments, it comes down to the laws of the nation they are operating within at the end of the day. If the countries have strong labour laws and enforce them, then this is less likely to happen.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.

Then there is the question of what happens to the people whose jobs just got outsourced? Are they being retrained and upskilled, or are they just let go? Do companies pass on the cost-benefit of outsourcing to the end-user?

So, while outsourcing and globalisation can be great to the bottom-line of any organisation, companies must ensure ethical business practices of their partners because no one else will. Companies must also provide training and upskilling of their employees before outsourcing because a strong and happy workforce is the backbone of any organisation.

If you are ready to be an efficient and knowledgeable global/international business manager, consider joining one of our 100% online master’s degree programmes. Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors today.

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Friedrich Karl

Continuing with our series of blogs that answer some of the questions we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked frequently by students looking to join one of our online programmes. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.

Let’s learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student!

An Introduction

Photo by Adam Solomon on Unsplash

Who are you, really?

Friedrich Karl, born in 1963 German citizen and my whole life on an exciting journey through this amazing world

Which Uni are you studying with?

York St John University

Which programme did you choose and why?

MBA in Innovation Leadership and Consulting. This programme seems to fit best with my tasks in future.

The Study Plan

Plan your study. Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?

Plan: See at the beginning what the module leader was recommending. The next step was to find out what had to be done exactly in order to pass the module. After this, I tried to get an overview of all units right at the beginning. This enabled me to structure the assignment at an early stage. Finally working together with my classmates and the module leader through the regular tasks given and parallelly working on the completion of the assignment. Reality: Pretty much that way, but depending on the workload of my business. Depending on my business: Roughly ten hours per week, sometimes on one day, sometimes split over the week.

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Evening/nights

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

It is part of the evaluation. Most of the time, as I mentioned above because as you see I focused my studies on the assignment right from the beginning.  

Travelling and Communication  

The challenges of learning while travelling. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

Good question for a commercial pilot 😀 Actually, it does not affect me at all because I am used to getting my work done in hotel rooms somewhere else. 

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

Most of the time, the conversation is not a dialogue. So, write/get an email and answer it/wait for the answer. 

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

Stressful. I do have a demanding and time-consuming job, and it became tougher from module to module to self-motivate. You always have some pressure in mind. You do your job and think: Oh, I have to do something for my studies. You reach the hotel after a long flight and annoying ground handling, and you cannot go to some spa, because you have to work on your papers. You go to dinner and have a guilty conscience that you are not dealing with unit tasks. So, your whole life is circling around YSJU.  

Any advice?  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

Be aware of what is coming up. I think my planning was alright. But it is important that you keep your life as free as possible from any usual desires. Be ready to postpone bigger parts of your normal life during this period to a later date.  


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for similar blogs. So, if you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree and now understand how to study better for an online programme, look at our programmes and see if anything interests you.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and answers to any questions you may have.

Mature Students – 2 of the biggest challenges of getting back to school

I recently celebrated a birthday, and, in my melancholy, I got a little philosophical and started to think about growing old, achieving, or failing to achieve milestones, etc. You get the picture. Then I started thinking about our students, and I can honestly say they inspired me to write this blog. A majority of our students are mature students, and they choose to challenge themselves by doing a master’s degree.

A master’s degree is a challenge by itself, and added to this are the additional challenges that most mature students face, and I just have one world for our students – RESPECT!

RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn

I want to start this blog with the preface that I know there are a lot of challenges mature students face when they get back to studying. And I am not saying that any of the other challenges mature students face are not worthy of being considered a “big” challenge; one person’s Everest might be another person’s molehill, by which I mean for each of the challenges we face are the biggest and the only ones that matter.

This blog is about the two most significant, most common challenges faced by mature students, in my opinion, based on what I have seen, heard, and researched. They are –

  1. Job
  2. Family

I consider two other challenges equally important; I find that they are deeply integrated into the above two “big” challenges, so I am putting them in a subcategory. They are – time and finances.

Job

Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

There are several reasons what one might decide to a master’s degree late in life.  One of the worries most people would naturally have when they choose to get back to studies after a break is how they will manage work and study at the same time? The fact of the matter is it is not going to be easy! Most of us are set in our ways and have a routine that we are used to, and as human beings, we do not like change.

But you decided to do a master’s degree for a reason. Either you are not happy with the job that you are doing and want to change to a career that gives you fulfilment, or you are among the lucky few that have found a career that gives you job satisfaction and are looking for a leg up either in terms of academic knowledge or padding your resume to provide you with an edge in your next appraisal cycle.

So, keep this in mind the next time you feel down and stressed. Yes, it will be hard, and you will have to make changes to your schedule to work in a daily study time. You will have the challenges of completing assignments on time and doing research. But you will learn from everything you do, and things will improve.

Family

Family time. Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

Family is another aspect of your life that will be impacted by your decision of going back to school. And for those of you who are single, with minimum family responsibilities, family for you here means your social life (friends). You will have to make sacrifices; you are working towards earning your master’s degree! Keep in mind, a little hardship and sacrifice can result in great rewards in the future.

Work with your family, explain why you have decided to get back to studying and how you plan to change your schedule. Don’t sugarcoat it, tell them it will be hard, and your time will not be your own, but it will be only for a short time and will be worth it in the long run. It might surprise you how supportive your family can be, and you will require their strength and support when you get stressed.

The other challenges

Finance

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Time to tighten your belt and cut down on frivolous expenses. Doing a master’s degree can be an expensive prospect, especially if it is from an accredited, globally recognised university. Noting is free, and anything worth getting will cost. You get what you paid for! Budgeting for the additional expense of a master’s degree will have an impact on your lifestyle and family. It also brings into focus the importance of having and keeping your job. But if you plan and start budgeting early, it can be done comfortably. 

Check with the college about the payment terms. You might find the down payment to start the programme reasonable with multiple easy monthly instalment plans options. Check and see what works best within your budget. And don’t forget, a little hardship now can lead to greater rewards in the future.

Time

Time management is the key. Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Time is the one thing that waits for no one. There are multiple challenges when it comes to managing time. Can time be managed? First, you must decide if this is the right time to go back to school. Can you wait any further? Are you losing out if you delay? How are you going to manage your work, family, and study at the same time?

The answer is to plan and schedule everything. People who use a calendar know how useful it can be to increase efficiency. The organiser/calendar is a tool that can be far more useful than to remind you of your next meeting. Create a calendar that contains every minutia of your daily activities for the week/month/quarter (however long you can go), from household chores to study/work deadlines. Then populate the calendar with your family’s schedule; this will give you a good idea of your schedule, inform you when to expect distractions from your family, and help you plan for it.

Time management is the key! IT. CAN. BE. DONE.


Now, if you don’t want to delay anymore and are ready to start a master’s degree programme, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors today.

Want to study for long hours? Here are 7 tips to get you started!

University, for me at least, was a blast. I had loads of friends and every day was a party. I wish I were a better student than I was, but at the same time, I don’t think I would change any of my experiences. The friends I made then are pretty much the same friends I have today. Someone wiser than me once said that a good friend is the one who comes to bails you out of prison, but your best friend/brother is the one sitting next to you in jail saying, “dang! we are now in trouble”. These are the kind of friends I have today.

But in having this amazing experience in university I pushed studies to the background and would try and cram as much learning as I could a week (or a day) before the exams. But that never worked; I would get easily distracted, and what I did learn would slip right out of my mind the second I closed the book. Last-minute cramming sessions hardly ever work. Studying long hours, like everything else, is a skill that needs to be developed and fostered.

Learning to study long hours is especially important for mature students doing an online programme. Apart from the usual work pressures, there are also many other things around that demand our attention and can be an unavoidable distraction from studies. So, putting in the time when the opportunity arises, even if it is a marathon study session, can be very important, and learning to learn and retain during this time is critical.

But how does one go about studying for long periods? Here are 7 tips to get you started.

1. Break it down

Don’t feel intimidated by the amount you have to study. Break it down! Photo by Teslariu Mihai on Unsplash

Some of the study material you have to go through can get quite intimidating; there is just so much. This intimidation could lead to anxiety, which in turn could lead to your getting distracted, and finally, you will just end up procrastinating. Take a pen and paper and write down what you intend to achieve by the end of your study session, and then break it down to smaller targets that can be achieved. This list of achievable targets will be your guiding star; this will help you focus your efforts and concentrate on the micro picture, reducing overall stress.

2. Changing your frame of mind

Let’s face it; you will not come back from the office or a football game and get right into studying. Your mind is still at the office or at the game or whatever you were doing before getting to your studies. Give yourself some time to get into the right frame of mind, say 30 minutes. First, get rid of all distractions – tv, phone, tablets, etc., then use these 30 minutes to transition into a learning frame of mind – get your study set up, ensure all stationery required is on hand, eat something and keep drinking water close. Once everything is set up, just relax your mind – do some breathing exercises, listen to some calming music, or take a hot bath. And once the 30 minutes are done, get to studying!

3. Think positive

Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash

I know there are a thousand different things you’d rather be doing than studying. But this is what you must do to get ahead in your career, improve your knowledge, and earn that degree you always dreamt of having. So, keep thinking positive as you work towards your dreams, and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories. 

4. Unscheduled breaks

Schedule and time all your breaks. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

AVOID unscheduled breaks! I get it; you have to take breaks but ensure that they are timed and scheduled. Don’t be tempted to check your phone or watch that match on tv in the middle of your study session. Once you get that ball rolling, it will just pick up speed, and the next thing you will be doing is studying during commercial breaks. Take the break when you schedule it and only for the duration it was planned for!

5. Study actively

Be engaged with what you are studying. Start reading the study material actively, making notes, asking questions about what you are reading, and answering them to better understand the subject. Don’t just read for the sake of reading; understand and learn by getting engaged with what you read.

6. Mix it up

Get a few extra hours of learning done by changing your location. Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

While it is essential for you to have your own study space devoid of distractions, during an extended study session where studying can get physically tiring, you might get a few extra hours of learning done by changing your location. Try to keep distractions to a minimum, so maybe go out to a park or sit in your backyard, but if you end up in a café, make sure you take your noise-cancelling headphones with you.  

7. End it

Once you are done with your marathon study session, end it. Close your books and maybe go right to bed, don’t think about studying anymore, this way you will be fresh and rested for your study session the next day.


These study habits, like everything else, must be cultivated and developed; it is not something that will work right off the bat. You get into a habit of long study sessions by repeating regularly. Start with one full day of studying every alternate week. If you have the time, do it weekly, and before you know it, this one day a week study session will help you get ahead of your class. But please do not neglect your regular study sessions; this is just a boost to give you an edge in class and help you cement what you learnt. 

We would love to hear from you about what helped you with your long study sessions. Is an all-day-long study session something you would do?

If you are ready to start your online studies, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the 100% online master’s degree programmes we offer and the application process.

Coronavirus Vaccine – To take or not to take?

I realise this is a departure from my usual blog. I recently got the second shot of the Coronavirus vaccine, and I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. But I soon realised that nothing had changed. A couple of days after getting my shot, I learned that one of my neighbours, who coincidentally is a doctor and fully vaccinated, was tested positive.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

At the end of the day, we still have to wear masks and practice social distancing. And I urge you to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, try self-isolation (at least as much as you can before going bonkers), and hand sanitise, at least until COVID-19 is well and truly behind us. Just because you have been vaccinated doesn’t mean you are fully protected against the coronavirus infection; it merely reduces the chances of developing complications by helping your body develop antibodies. Keep in mind, most vaccines have only about 90% efficacy.

But why isn’t COVID-19 just going away? Why does it keep evolving and mutating?  

The simple answer is because we are giving it time to evolve and mutate. Even today, a vast majority of the world’s population remains unvaccinated; only about 30% of the world’s population is fully vaccinated (status on Sep 14, 2021, see the chart below). There are several reasons for this – from the lack of availability of the vaccine in certain areas to false information being spread and an inherent mistrust for vaccines. 

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

So, why is it so hard for us to believe highly educated and qualified scientists and doctors, who have worked endless hours to get us COVID-19 vaccines in record time, but are swayed by celebrities and politicians who tweet for publicity and whose only research is a cousin in Trinidad who won’t get the vaccine because his friend got it and became impotent (a reference to a recent Tweet by a popular rap star).

The answer is FEAR. All we need is a kernel of doubt to be planted in our minds, and our imagination will do the rest.

People are afraid of the unknown

There are many reasons people come up with for not taking the vaccine or for looking at alternatives. I can understand the fear, but more than a billion people worldwide have already taken the vaccine, and it has worked out well for the overwhelming majority of them. It is no longer the unknown.

People are afraid of the government – because they “rushed” the vaccine to look good in the eyes of the voters or to blame the inaction of the opposition

Protest in Liestal, Switzerland against the corona pandemic measures. Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash.

As for the government rushing the vaccine (which they did), this is a legitimate concern. Do you want to put something in your body that was rushed or not tested enough? The fact of the matter is that researchers were already researching vaccines for other coronaviruses for years, so when COVID-19 hit, they were already ahead of the game. In the US, “Operation Warp Speed” wasn’t about rushing the science but about cutting down the bureaucracy. Researchers were able to compress the timeline for the development of the vaccine; things that were done in sequence were done in parallel to save time. 

People are afraid of the side effects of the vaccine

Most medications will have side effects; you can usually find the warning on the label. For a vast majority of people, the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine will just be minor – headaches, cold or flu symptoms, fever, and body pain are some of the most common. Serious side effects like anaphylaxis are very rare (example: 4.7 cases/million for Pfizer-BioNTech and 2.5 cases/million for Moderna, for vaccine doses administered) and usually only occur for cases with a history of allergy.

People are afraid of big corporations – they have the right to be because most big corporations are out to get your money 

The greed of man can be astounding, and it won’t surprise me to find out that some might have cut corners or taken other underhanded steps to increase their profits. But this is the COVID-19 pandemic, and the eye of the world is riveted on this. And it will be a brave (and in this case, by brave I mean psychopathic) company or executive that will play around with results that can impact millions of lives. But I still wouldn’t put anything past man’s greed, but that would not be more than the usual (cynical, I know).

The point is, we have to flatten the curve. We must develop herd immunity. And for this to happen, more people must be vaccinated. Because if you do not take the vaccine, you might not be affected by COVID-19, but you can still spread it to other people, becoming a carrier and helping the virus mutate. Encourage your friends, neighbours, and family to get vaccinated.

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-cases

Managing healthcare is never easy, but don’t worry, we got you covered. For more information on our 100% online Master’s degree programmeschat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for personalised guidance through the application process.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Get vaccinated.