Jump to content

Studying at uni while on maternity leave
First baby


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 elco

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:05 PM

Perhaps it would be better suited for the studying area, however I thought I would get more traffic here.

My first baby is due in mid April and I am contemplating starting University study in July. Due to previous study I would have two years worth of full-time study to complete a degree. DH is fully supportive of my study plans. I don't know if I will have a chance to not work and study at the same time later on in the future so I see my planned unpaid maternity leave as a good opportunity to study and care for our child. Kill two birds with one stone if you will as completing a Uni degree has always been a goal of mine.

I am interested to hear others thoughts and experiences on being a stay at mum and studying at the same time. I haven't studied at Uni before so I am not sure if my plans are realistic. As this will be my first child, I also have no experience in knowing how demanding a newborn/toddler is either. I have been working full-time 40-50 hrs per week plus studying part-time at Tafe two nights a week and I have managed that fine, but obviously Uni is different to Tafe.

My preference is to study full-time on-campus as I would finish the degree quicker and the University I am looking at is a literally a 2 min drive from my house. I did consider external study as Open Universities Australia offer the same degree (Bachelor of Business) however I am worried about studying externally - I think I will be more focussed and committed if I study on campus, attending classes etc. The university website advises that the degree I am looking at is 9-12 hours of scheduled classes per week throughout the semester.

Thanks for reading.

#2 Mitis angelam

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

My DD is 13mo and I studied last year.

I've done a mix of things; online units, evening classes and one unit run on Saturdays, as well as a business-hours on campus unit.  This is partly because finding appropriate childcare to cover classes is not easy or cheap!  

I loved getting out of the house and having something to do away from DD, but from the POV of actually managing the workload, online was definitely the easiest, because it was the most flexible.  Perhaps look at whether the degree you're interested in offers subjects in different modes, which might let you mix it up a bit?

I managed two units a semester and would have struggled to do more; I don't know that I recommend full time study in that first year.  Perhaps you could start part time, and if you feel you could do more, ramp up the following semester?



#3 Chief Pancake Make

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

I am planning to study by distance ed part time.  they recommend 10hrs a week per subject, I already completed 1 subject while I was working last year.  My baby was born at the end of Nov and will be 2+ months old when the semester begins.  Right now feeding/settling /changing is pretty all consuming.  I think I will have to hand her over to DH after he gets home from work to do a couple of hours study at night.

#4 elco

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 08/01/2013, 12:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Perhaps you could start part time, and if you feel you could do more, ramp up the following semester?


That's a good idea actually, I hadn't thought of that.

External study does appeal to me because of the flexibility/doing the study in my own time - I am just worried that I will procrastinate and not be as committed as I would if I know I have to attend set classes.

#5 SnazzyFeral

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

What sort of child care do you have? Will you be able to have someone else look after bubs for 40 or so hours a week? Will that person be able to look after bubs if bub is sick?

Have a look at the timetables if you can for the courses you would like to do because while the face to face hours are few the classes maybe spread over the whole week. I am unable to do full time next year because most of the tutes are on days I can't get day-care and even part time I will have to miss one lecture because it is on a day I don't have day-care. I have spoken to the lecturer and he is happy to record it for me so that is one way you can get around it but there is no getting out of tutes.

Try not to put yourself under pressure there is no harm in giving it a go but I would probably start out with one subject and make sure I believed it was ok to pull out at census date if I wasn’t keeping up. I now pull out if i am even a little bit behind in my reading because I find it difficult to catch up and DS always gets sick just when I really have to work. I also don’t like taking away from our family time too much because when we don’t spend time together it puts strain on all our relationships. That said if I didn’t have uni I would go mad.


#6 noi'mnot

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:36 PM

I started a postgraduate diploma before becoming pregnant, started my last two subjects just before my baby was born and finished them over the next few months. I found this very easy. It was all online.

I know you're worried about procrastinating and getting distracted, but for me having this "brain time" or "me time" or just "non-baby time" was so refreshing. I really enjoyed having something outside of "baby" to do, which I could mainly pick up and put down as required. I knew that if my baby was having a bad day, then I would listen to the online lecture tomorrow instead of stressing about her being with somebody else. It was perfect for our situation. It may have been a bit different for me, though, because I was already in the groove of studying (did my last semester with baby), and I've got several degrees under my belt so knew what and how much was expected of me, and how to achieve that, though experience.

Good luck! original.gif

#7 Ally'smum

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:37 PM

During my year of maternity I also had a break from studying and looking back there is no way I would have been able to study in the first 6 months, but perhaps in the second 6 months I could have.

You may have an easy baby, you may not be as tired and it might be doable, but keep in mind that it may also be the opposite!

At the most I would enrol for one subject and see how you go, then as the baby gets older you may be able to do two, to be honest I don't know how anyone with a young baby could do any more than that.

Babies are really time consuming and you may find that you can't find the ten hours a week you will need for reading so be flexible and don't be hard on yourself if you just have to withdraw.

I think I am giving you a worst case scenario but I couldn't do it so thought I would let you know. original.gif

#8 PatG

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:48 PM

Does doing formal study while on maternity leave invalidate any of your rights?  Your work is required to grant you 12 months of leave for the purposes of caring for your child, not to study....  And if you are getting paid parental leave you cannot work during that time, except keeping in touch days, so can you undertake formal study?  Does it make a difference if you were doing it internally or externally?

#9 TillyTake2

Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:48 PM

Do you mean 9-12 CONTACT hours? Because for every contact hour there will be around 3-4 non contact hrs (readings, assignments, online tasks etc). Unless bub will be going into full time child care (& from your post he/she would be around 8-10 weeks!!) then I don't see studying full time as being suitable. I'd perhaps try one subject & see how you go.

#10 elco

Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:01 PM

QUOTE (PatG @ 08/01/2013, 12:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does doing formal study while on maternity leave invalidate any of your rights?  Your work is required to grant you 12 months of leave for the purposes of caring for your child, not to study....  And if you are getting paid parental leave you cannot work during that time, except keeping in touch days, so can you undertake formal study?  Does it make a difference if you were doing it internally or externally?


Very good question - can you undertake formal study while getting paid parental leave - I am not sure, I will have to find out.

#11 Mitis angelam

Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:02 PM

QUOTE (PatG @ 08/01/2013, 01:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does doing formal study while on maternity leave invalidate any of your rights?  Your work is required to grant you 12 months of leave for the purposes of caring for your child, not to study....  And if you are getting paid parental leave you cannot work during that time, except keeping in touch days, so can you undertake formal study?  Does it make a difference if you were doing it internally or externally?


I believe you are allowed to do as you like with your maternity leave, provided you do not take up any employment which is seen as a conflict with the employment from which you are on leave.  (I studied on maternity leave, at a time when my boss was also one of my lecturers - never raised an eyebrow).

Edited by Ange Vert, 08 January 2013 - 01:02 PM.


#12 Maniacal_laugh

Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:52 PM

OP, if you enrol externally, you may be able to optionally attend classes. At my uni, we can do this, (though it's an informal agreement with the tutor who says, "plenty of space, come along if you want", so you can't rely on it).

I would plan for 1 or a maximum of 2 units. It depends on how stressful or intensive the subject is too. My first degree was relatively easy. My current post-grad course is very difficult though, and I can't get away with cutting corners on the reading or study.

Oh, and make sure you know when the final pullout date is, to withdraw from the course without financial or academic penalty. You can usually complete 4-6 weeks of the unit prior to this date, so that gives you a chance to assess how well you are coping before you are fully committed.

#13 mum201

Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:17 PM

Honestly, I think it depends what sort of baby you have. Eg with me I couldn't have studied in the first 2 months as I had no focus from sleep deprivation. Months 3 and 4 I had all the time in the world because he he slept tons in a hug a bub and was doing well overnight. Months 5-8 I could have studied part time during his naps and in the evening. Months 9-10 he went through the most awful sleep regression waking hourly - I was buggered. Now he seems to have settled into moderately sh*tty night sleep and a nice big day nap (he is 13months), so I am commencing study again. But all babies are so different. You might get one of those magical babies that you wrap, put in their cot and they fall asleep, in which case you could full time study no problems.

I think it also depends if you DH is useful or not. Anyhoo as a pp noted, maybe commence externally part time, and then see if you can ramp up later if ok, if not then withdraw. I honestly don't think you will procrastinate on e baby is born. There is no time!!!! I used to procrastinate before I became a mum, but now......nup, my time is way to valuable.

#14 wrena

Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:33 PM

There is no way I could have studied full time with a baby without seriously compromising the quality of care she received.  They are only little for such a short time and the first year is the most important year of their whole lives. It is also pretty full-on for most people to make the transition to being a parent so I'd suggest being kind to yourself and not trying to take on too much. Having said that, one or two subjects might be more doable and a nice opportunity to exercise your brain

#15 Bernard Woolley

Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:44 PM

DD will be 5 months when Semester 1 begins this year. She's a pretty chill little girl (so far) and I'm not aiming to do a great deal more than pass so I can get this degree finished (it's a law degree and I know for sure that I don't want to work in a commercial firm, so nobody is ever going to care what marks I get). I'm also very familiar with the likely workload and have a supportive lawyer DH.

With all of that, I'm still only enrolling in two units. My advice would be to enrol full-time and then withdraw prior to the HECS cut-off date from however many will take you back to a manageable workload - probably only one or two units.

#16 axiomae

Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:07 PM

QUOTE
There is no way I could have studied full time with a baby without seriously compromising the quality of care she received. They are only little for such a short time and the first year is the most important year of their whole lives. It is also pretty full-on for most people to make the transition to being a parent so I'd suggest being kind to yourself and not trying to take on too much. Having said that, one or two subjects might be more doable and a nice opportunity to exercise your brain


This. They're so young for such a short period of time - enjoy it! I have multiple degrees and would not have the energy to study full time with a newborn. Not feasible. Try one subject, see how you go.

#17 Lokum

Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:34 PM

I have a 7 week old, and I can hardly concentrate enough to read a recipe. I was given a novel for Christmas.  I said I wanted a really light hearted, fluffy thing as I knew I didn't have the concentration for a Big Novel.

As it is, I've read 11 pages since Christmas, and I can't tell you too much about what's happened so far. I'm actually getting 6+ hours sleep a night, but a bit broken, and my baby is very needy during the day.

I guess if I didn't have the toddler, and was REALLY motivated I could pull myself together to fling together an essay or two, but it might not be the most rewarding study experience.

I would prefer to do the study when I could get the most out of it, and not just survive it and pass, IYKWIM? I think the idea of enrolling in one unit, and being prepared to withdraw it a good one. Especially since you haven't studied at Uni before, you can use that one unit as practice to learn some research/library/essay writing skills which might not be totally up to scratch yet.



#18 Bel Rowley

Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

I've done my entire degree (currently completing my very last unit which finishes in February) externally while home with my children. I started when my daughter was almost 1, and have not stopped for a single study period even when I had my son. My grades have stayed high and my children have (mostly wink.gif) been well taken care of. Completing a degree was something I just had to do, and I'm not sure that it would've been any easier if I waited until the kids were a bit older and I was back at work! When I was home anyway seemed like the perfect time to do it. It's very managable if you are determined enough and have family/friends to support you when needed.

#19 Holidayromp

Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:44 AM

I would not recommend it because of the fact you have no idea how demanding a young baby is and how tiring and just extremely hard work all of it is.  You do not need the added pressure of study.  The last thing I wanted to do was study when I had kids and as a result I got way behind and it is a constant state of catchup.

Leave the study until later - you want to enjoy your first baby and then revisit it.  Only until your baby is here will you know how much or little time you have to study but arrange it all pre-baby is just asking for failure.

#20 Diana_Barry

Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:59 AM

I don't want to discourage you, because I know people who have managed fine, but here is my experience:

I started a Masters by coursework while working full time. Tiring, but fine. Tried to continue when home with a newborn - disaster. I was truly shocked by how all consuming being at home with a newborn is.

Having said that - I did not really have the support I needed to make it work. DP was working and I didn't have any close family nearby to help me out. Got a friend and an Auntie to babysit a couple of times, but it wasn't enough. If you have someone who can COMPLETELY take over care of bubs for a few hours a couple of times per week (like your partner or mum), you might be ok. I really enjoyed the classes I went to before I had to withdraw - I felt like myself again.

I went back to full time study (+ some paid work) when DS was 12 months old. It was still tough, but SO much easier once you're getting a full night's sleep (most nights!) and not breast feeding every 3 hours.

Good luck!

#21 Diana_Barry

Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:03 AM

Also - just wanted to add:

Check out the flexibility options where you want to study. You could always give it a go (like I did) and withdraw before census if you decide it's not working out.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

5 workplace lessons for new parents

Take heart in these principles that will transfer seamlessly from the workplace into your new life as a parent.

Review: The Volvo 2015 XC90 SUV has all the safety features your family needs

The new Volvo XC90 SUV's focus on keeping you safe does not come at the expense of comfort in the XC90.

Kim Kardashian reveals she may have hysterectomy

Kim Kardashian has revealed complications during pregnancy means she might have to have a hysterectomy after the birth of her second child.

Why late night snacks wreak havoc on weight loss

 Loath as you may be to admit it, chances are that at some point you have found yourself in the kitchen late at night, devouring food.

Toddler twins pretend to be asleep to fool mum

They say twins have a unique connection. If this cute clip is anything to go by, these toddler sisters like to use their special bond to try to fool their mother.

Dads who do their share have more sex: study

For women trying to encourage their partners to take more interest in fatherhood, it could be the ultimate incentive.

Think you might have IBS, coeliac disease or Crohn's? Here's what you need to know

Conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract are common in modern humans, and many are on the rise - including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and coeliac disease.

Couple poses for newborn shoot with adorable puppy

Tired of being asked about their baby-making plans, Australian couple Matt and Abby decided to give a creative answer.

Win a Mountain Buggy Swift

To celebrate Essential Baby reaching half a million Facebook fans, we have a Mountain Buggy Swift to giveaway to a lucky fan.

When your toddler disagrees

There comes a time when your child starts having different views to you. I didn't realise that time would come so soon.

The exercises you know you should be doing (but probably aren't)

I bet your to-do list today is long. But somewhere on that massive list, are you making time for your pelvic floor?

How did we have babies before apps came along?

Three months ago, my wife, Chrysta, and I were driving along Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles when she let out a harrowing cry.

This baby really loves the family cat

Some babies get excited when mum or dad come to get them from their cot after a nap.

Woman gives birth after having her own mother's uterus transplanted

In a world first, a healthy baby has been born from the same womb that nurtured his own mother.

Home brand foods contain less salt than pricier rivals

Supermarket home brand foods, long derided as cheap and inferior, contain far lower levels of salt than pricier, branded rivals, new research shows.

Early exposure to peanuts recommended for allergy prevention

A paediatricians' group is recommending that infants at high risk of peanut allergies be given foods containing peanuts before they turn one.

Nannies for hire, wherever you're flying

Ever dreaded the prospect of a long flight, dreaming about how wonderful it would be for a nanny to entertain the kids?

Is it okay to name your baby with a sense of humour?

My husband was sure that Danger was a good option for a boy. And as the pregnancy progressed, it actually started to sound really good.

So hot right now: double-barrelled baby names on the rise

It's one way to make your baby stand out from the pack – giving them not one, but two first names.

Second time around: is it really better the devil you know?

When I fell pregnant with my second child I was, naturally, very excited. Then it all started to come back to me - and I freaked.

Shopping with kids: breaking the pester-power cycle

You're out shopping with your little one and they're incessantly whining that they want a treat. It's easy to say no ... the first time, at least.

Get your FREE Baby & Toddler Show ticket!

Get your free ticket to the Sydney Essential Baby & Toddler Show for September 25-27 - register online now.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

The worst 20 minutes of my life

Thirty seconds was all it took to turn a shopping trip into my worst nightmare.

Top baby names for England and Wales in 2014

George has overtaken William in the official rankings of most popular British baby names - and Game of Thrones is still having an impact on parents.

Baseball or baby? Dad's tough choice

What's more important, a baby or a baseball? That's a question this dad seems to struggle with.

Childbirth choices: five star or free?

It's not often you hear the words labour and luxury in the same sentence but for some, a 5-star start to parenthood is exactly what they seek. And with a number of private hospitals now offering packages which include a post-birth stay at a sumptuous first class resort, many mums are choosing to recover in style.

'Where did your boobies go, Mummy?' and other soul-destroying comments from kids

Most women carry a smidge of baby weight after giving birth. If you're lucky enough to have an older child in the house, they can keep you on track with your weight loss goals.

Do you read me, baby?

Is it too soon to be reading to my two-month-old son? If not, what should I read?

Minimising sibling rivalry when you've got a baby

Sibling rivalry is an act of competition, but if your children feel involved and special, this type of jealousy will be minimised.

Will studying on maternity leave take you away from your most important job?

I remember when I was trying to decide if I could combine motherhood and furthering my university education.

Win a Pacapod this Father's Day

To celebrate dads and families, we are giving away a Picos Pack from Pacapod Australia filled with a few extra goodies ENTER NOW

Preschooler hit by car shortly after baby brother's death

A mother has had a frantic race to the hospital after her daughter was hit by a car, just four weeks after her infant son died.

Gay couple and Thai surrogate in custody tug-of-war

A six-month-old baby girl is trapped in the Thai capital in a bitter custody wrangle between her Thai surrogate mother and her biological father.

Couple denied IVF over parenting concerns

A mother of six has been denied access to IVF treatment in order to have another child over concerns about her parenting skills.

The book that promises to put your children to sleep

Exhausted parents from around the world are singing the praises of a "miracle" book which promises to put even the most restless child to sleep in just minutes.

5 things every parent who feels guilty needs to know

Parenthood can make you feel bad, but you're not alone.

Royals criticise 'dangerous' attempts to photograph Prince George

The British royal family criticized paparazzi on Friday for what it called their increasingly dangerous attempts to photograph young Prince George.

'No jab, no play' rule to cover Victorian kindergartens and childcare centres

"Anti-vaxxers" face not being able to send their children to childcare centres or kindergarten if they refuse to have them immunised.

15,000 birthing kits on their way to developing countries

Giving birth in a hospital surrounded by medical experts is tough enough, but some women deliver babies without a clean sheet to lie on.

Photo of premmie 'too graphic', fundraising site says

When their son Jacob was born at just 27 weeks, Christina and Jeff Hinks were thrown into an uncertain world.

The latest Bugaboo collections: cool chevron and runner prams

Bugaboo sure likes to keep things fresh, and with the Australian spring/summer season coming up, there are two new Bugaboo pram releases.

Making room for two in the bed

Mum's room or their own room? Cot or bassinets? Deciding where twins will sleep can be tricky.

 

FREE TICKET

See Hi-5 LIVE in Sydney!

Get your free ticket to The Essential Baby & Toddler Show and save $20 - register online now!

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.