We recently caught up with Monika, an Arden University Postgraduate student who is currently making great strides in the field of Human Resource Management. After coming to England aged 17, Monika has gone on to achieve some great things. Hear more from her about her journey below.
Hi Monika, how did you come to find Arden?
I found Arden University when I was looking for higher education which would be flexible, and would allow me to study at my own time. I moved to the United Kingdom from Lithuania when I was 17 and I did not have and family here at all. Therefore, in-person University was not an option for me, as I had to go to work to be able to pay rent and bills. Arden was offering flexibility in studying hours as well as offering the course that I was interested so I decided to start this journey with this University.
What have you studied with us?
I have graduated this year with a BA hons in Psychology and Human Resources management. I was also very lucky because Arden offered tuition free master’s in Human Resources Management which is CIPD accredited.
How has it helped your career?
Arden helped my career by connecting me with some great tutors who really care about students. One of those people is Dr Hayley Lewis. She really cared about me as a student and helped me to believe in myself and changed my ways of thinking in certain areas and boosted my confidence.
After completing my degree, I was looking for jobs in Human resources. I believe that having bachelor’s degree and the knowledge that I gained through dedicated tutors allowed me to be successful in my application for an HR officer role with Marriott Hotels. I started the role In September and have since been promoted to Multi property. I am lucky to work with a great Multi-Property HR Manager Mark who continues to build my knowledge in Human Resources as well as the whole Marriott team, who provide opportunities to grow. I also strongly believe that the master’s degree which I am currently doing with Arden in Human Resources will allow me to grow further with this company.
I am also extremely grateful that Arden’s MA in HRM is CIPD accredited. For an HR professional, CIPD is one of the most important accreditations, and required by most employers. This investment also shows your commitment for continuing professional development. I believe when you are passionate about what you do, you want to learn more, and be best version of yourself in the area that you work. Studying with Arden allows me to gain knowledge and skills in HRM than can be applied in my workplace.
You were also a student rep with us, what did that involve?
It was a great experience and allowed me to see another side. I collected feedback and communicated with students about how they feel, what issues they are facing, and to advocate for them a little bit more. I felt that sharing issues that everyone really cared about was a rewarding experience. Arden took our feedback under consideration which is great. We now have more video sessions, more formative feedback etc. I am happy that Arden created a culture where student voices can be heard. By sharing the issues and challenges we are experiencing we can improve Arden together for current and future students.
Have you found any challenges during your time studying?
Of course, there were challenging times, but I met so many nice people who really cared and helped to overcome them. Once again, my dissertation supervisor Dr Hayley showed compassion and empathy when I was worried that my English language was not good enough to study and that I was not good enough and I felt incapable of completing my dissertation. There were times where I cried because I did not know how to deal with the pressure. But she listened and helped to find tools to overcome stress and how to plan my time and dissertation successfully. The feedback Dr Hayley provided was very useful and allowed to reflect and overcome challenges and develop my skills further. Tutors like Dr Hayley makes a great impact on students and I am happy that Arden can connect these incredible tutors who can share their experience and build us as a humans and professionals by changing our ways of thinking and being better in areas that we are studying.
What would you say to anyone in a similar situation to yourself? What advice would you give?
It will be worth it! Don’t be afraid! You can do it! Don’t let the fear of failing to stop you from your achievements!
Also, if you are struggling, speak with your tutors, explore the wellbeing portal, and communicate with other students so you do not feel isolated. There are usually Whatsapp groups for each programme that you can connect with other students and share struggles and happy moments with each other. My other advice would be reminding yourself why you are studying and what you want to achieve, plan your time effectively, control procrastination, ask for help when needed, make use of software (i.e Zotero; f.lux etc.) apply what you learnt in your job or life, and most importantly enjoy the process.
And how did you balance studying with your pregnancy and then having your child?
It was challenging! Especially in the first year, and when I needed to go back to work. I was feeling mother’s guilt for not spending enough time with my son as well as feeling tired all the time which is normal for mothers. There were moments when I was questioning everything. Should I continue to study, or should I continue to work and things like that. When you are tired it's hard to think clearly, so I decided to change my routine, eat healthier and exercise more and this way improve wellbeing. Also, my partner was incredible supportive and helped to balance it all together.
When I started studying, I was thinking that I can achieve all by myself. However now I learnt and understand how foolish I was by saying that. I cannot achieve anything without God and input from other people. Help others help you whether it would be studying motherhood or anything else. This is the thing that would have helped me if I understood that earlier.
Another way Arden contributed to balancing studies and motherhood is by allowing me to study in any place any time. I probably would not have been able to have this done with an in-person University. By being able to study early in the morning, or when my son was sleeping, it allowed me to balance it all. The flexibility Arden provided allowed me to be a mother and a student at the same time and continue my education in HRM.
To find out how a degree from Arden University could change your life click here.