Am I really coping being a university student and working full time?

Am I really coping being a university student and working full time?

Studying for a degree was something I had always been passionate about; however, due to personal reasons I was unable to do so “when I was supposed to”.  Being naturally creative, I successfully completed a Design course at college, managing to bag myself an offer at the University to continue my dream of becoming a Designer. Unfortunately, being left with the perception that pursuing a career in Design was practically impossible, I continued in a part time job. Moving from job to job left me feeling demotivated and I longed for a sense of direction.

Fortunately, managers and colleagues at Coventry University IT Services would often say they had seen great potential within me. The first time I heard about the Degree Apprenticeship was through several colleagues who forwarded an email to me about this great opportunity that had arisen. The excitement I felt, partnered with slight disbelief, led me to think: “This is a little too good to be true!” Would I actually be getting paid while studying for my degree? On top of that I’d actually be debt free at the end of it all? And I’d finally get to wear a graduation cap?! Clearly my priorities were all spot on and I was asking all the relevant questions.

Having calmed down a little, I realised how amazing this opportunity would be for my personal/career progression and that this was the direction I had been longing for. At the discovery session we were informed that the Degree would be coursework based, which reinforced my decision (exams are my kryptonite).

Working on my first assignment as an official Apprentice I have questioned myself numerous times: “What on earth have you got yourself into? What exactly was it that you were excited about?” Or “Does the laundry need doing?” Good old procrastination slips its way in. The struggle of managing my workload led to me feeling stressed and anxious, which in consequence has prevented me from performing to my full potential. However, through seeking advice from other students I am learning different ways of dealing with the stress. For instance, not leaving the assignments till the last minute but instead utilising my “Red Energy” to get the work done. Now, you must be thinking “Red Energy? What does that mean?” You’ll have to join the ‘dark side’ to find out for yourself!

Regardless of how painful it can get, I truly believe I have made the right decision in embarking on this great journey as I have already learned so much about myself and others around me which is relevant in all walks of life. Having such supportive peers has really helped to deal with the stress as I feel I am not alone. I believe we will all get through it together successfully. However as great as this opportunity is I will not sit here and recommend you enrol. Instead, I would say: “Do what you believe is right for you in your journey.”

Shahanara Begum is undertaking the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship offered by Coventry University: The Nationwide Apprenticeship University to its employees. The apprenticeship lasts for four years.  Shahanara  will receive an Honours degree in Leadership and Management, as well as Chartered Manager status awarded by the Chartered Management Institute, when she completes the course.

Find out how Coventry University: The Nationwide Apprenticeship University could help you – call 024 7765 4960 or email