If there’s one thing we learn after having children, it’s that we’re capable of anything – so don’t assume that maternity leave means a pregnant pause for your career! It’s actually a great time to rethink where you’re headed – either in your current career, or a whole new path. And the best thing is, as a mum you already have many of the skills to make the transition even easier.
Mums are masters of adaptation – our whole lives change trajectory once we have children, and the same can be said for our careers. But instead of being overwhelmed by the return to work or study, get excited! Think of maternity leave as the ultimate career break, where you can reassess, study and find a new path – all from the comfort of home, if that’s what will work for your family. Here are our top tips to make study after kids a little easier.
1. Choose online study
This one is a no-brainer. For mums, studying online is the ideal way to hit the books. It’s convenient and flexible – allowing study to fit into your life, instead of the other way around. Working with an educator like Charles Sturt University means being able to study at your own pace, anywhere in Australia. Of course, you also have the option of studying at one of their 12 locations in New South Wales and Victoria.
2. Study something you’re passionate about
It’s no secret that if we’re engaged, we shine. And this is incredibly important when deciding how to move forward with our careers. Maybe while you’ve been on maternity leave from a job you love, you’ve realised that expanding your skills will give you an even brighter future in your current career. Or, if you’re not particularly passionate about your job, having time to think may have given you clarity on a career that will inspire you.
CSU offers more than 300 flexible courses, so there’s bound to be something that will pique your interest. Here’s a taste of what’s available:
- Bachelor of Accounting
- Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) – graduate entry
- Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) – graduate entry
- Graduate Certificate in Commerce
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Human Resource Management (with specialisations)
- Master of Marketing
- Master of Teaching (Primary)
- Master of Teaching (Secondary)
3. Research the industry you’re interested in, and possible job opportunities
Do some research in your local area, to ensure your job prospects are high once you’ve completed your study. Or, if you’re upgrading your skills, speak to your current employer about your plans, and the possibility of promotion once you’ve completed your studies.
4. Set aside a designated study space
Create a study corner somewhere in your home, where you can keep everything you need in one place. If you don’t have the space for a designated study, even just a corner of a room, with a desk and a computer will suffice – just make sure you set some boundaries with the kids so they understand it’s not a play area!
5. Be organised
Once you’ve chosen a path, you need to commit. Studying from home, while flexible, does require a degree of discipline and organisation – but as mums, that’s second nature! You need to divide your time between family and study, without feeling overcommitted.
CSU helps you get started by providing a free online subject called Introduction to Learning. It gives you access to learning advisors – to help you build on your existing skills.
6. Call on your support network
There’s no shame in calling on your village to help you juggle the demands of family and study. CSU actually provides a host of support services – for those studying on campus and online – that will help you and your family gear up for study.
Also, when you study with CSU online, you’ll have access to a huge community of fellow online students, who can advise and support you – in your studies and in your career goals.
7. Find an education provider that suits your situation
Not all education providers are created equal – particularly when it comes to returning to the workforce after children. CSU has more than 14,000 women currently studying online – so that’s a good indicator that it’s doing something right! CSU works to ensure study for parents is flexible and flows at a pace you can adapt to your family situation. That might mean anything from doing one subject per session, to studying full-time. It’s completely up to you, and CSU will work with you to create your perfect study options.
8. Use your time wisely
As parents, our time is precious. We’re dividing it between home, family, school and everything in between. So it’s imperative when you decide to study from home that the time you do have set aside is used efficiently. Break up your study sessions into manageable time periods – much like you would have if you were studying on campus. The only difference is, this may be blocks of time at night, early in the morning or on the weekends – whatever suits your family.
9. Be realistic about your goals
While we’d all love to spend our maternity leave improving our career prospects, as with anything that comes along with parenthood, the unexpected can crop up. Be realistic about what you hope to achieve, and about how much you can do. And don’t feel like a failure if you’re not coping – it may mean you need to tweak your study arrangements, and CSU can help you do that – because it’s a provider that is focused on helping students achieve their goals.
10. Make time for yourself
Finally, don’t forget to make time for you! No doubt study will count as some of your ‘me time’, but like any student, you’re entitled to time off! And you’ll be more refreshed and invigorated if you allow yourself to enjoy some time away from study and work.
Heading back to study can be smooth and relatively painless, and it may set you on a whole new path, post-baby. For more information on courses and fees, contact Charles Sturt University.
(This is a sponsored post for Charles Sturt University)