We spoke to Arden students about how returning to study has impacted their relationships and families, and how they balance and maintain their busy personal and professional lives.
Search the internet for terms like, “how will going back to school affect my relationship”, and you’ll find horror stories about divorce, long-distance dilemmas and one article called, ‘Don’t even think about starting university in a relationship’.
If you’re a professional person with a family or partner, like many of Arden’s students, we understand that coming across this kind of content when you’re considering your study options could be concerning, for you and your loved ones.
So, we spoke to some of our students about how a return to studying really impacts their relationship, how they manage family life, and why they decided to go for it:
Victoria Stakelum - Arden student and Deputy CEO
Course: MSc Psychology (BPS)
Study Mode: Distance Learning
“I’m a ‘life’s for living’ kind of person, so fitting study in around all the other things I do can sometimes be a point of contention in my household.
You really have to have the support of your other half, or the person you live with, or the people you’re spending your life with.
We (my husband and I) never go to bed at the same time, because if I’m going to sit down and study, I want to finish the lesson. A lesson is maybe 2 to 3 hours’ worth of study time, so, if I start as the kids go to bed, it’s going to be half 10/11 when I go to bed and sometimes, if I’m running up to an assignment, it’s going to be midnight or 1am.
That often means I’m tired, so, you have to find ways to compensate and find the right balance of self-care.
The key is support. When I’m running up to an assignment, probably for every module, there has been a day or two when I’ve needed to put in extra weekend daytime work - whereas normally I only study in the evenings.
My husband has occupied the kids, kept them out of my hair so I can concentrate, and put them to bed several nights in a row so that I can get started earlier - and that’s been a real lifesaver.
And when I’m getting stressed, (which is sort of inevitable), he’s talked me down and reminded me that it’s OK, that I don’t have to get the highest mark and that the goal is to get through and all the rest of it, so both in practical and emotional terms, he’s been fantastic.
My advice for anyone considering study, would be to set expectations with your family and be open with them about what you’re dealing with.
Even with my kids, particularly the older one – they’re 10, 7 and 4 – I draw the parallel of my studies when she’s struggling with homework and I use myself as the example. Sometimes she goes to pieces when it’s difficult maths homework, and I’ve told her that I failed an assignment, and that it’s about picking yourself up and figuring out what you can learn, so you can move forward.
So, actually it’s quite useful when you’ve got kids to use that open dialogue about struggle and failure, about persistence and resilience; and that’s been nice as a mother to have that very real, live example that I can use.”
Course: BA (Hons) Business with Foundation Year
Study mode: Blended Learning, Manchester study centre
"Studying with Arden is perfect for me, in regard to having a family and a relationship.
As I'm not at university full-time - although it is a full-time course - it gives me the chance to spend quality time with my wife and children, and to fit my studying in around them and their needs.
I was a little bit nervous as a mature student going back into education, as it had been a while since I last studied. However, it was worth taking the plunge, as I know it will improve mine and my family’s lives for the better.
To any mature student who is thinking of studying a course with Arden University, I would advise setting aside a couple of hours every day for your studies. If you do this, it makes studying a lot more manageable. Putting the hard work in will pay off!"
Course: Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Study Mode: Distance Learning
“During the MBA course, I fell pregnant with twins. Life has been hectic since then and completing my MBA has been a great challenge – so the ability to study flexibly is incredibly valuable.
Distance Learning is the way forward when your life does not allow for regular attendance at a daytime university!”
Could study work with your life?
Hopefully, our students have shed some light on what balancing study, work and family life can be like – essentially a juggling act with the opportunity for fantastic reward!
If you're interested in finding out more about the Arden experience - whether it's blended or distance - and discovering whether it could work for you, feel free to get in touch and one of our enquiries team would be able to discuss your options.