Worth the juggle: Lilia Draganov had to be organised in order to combine postgraduate study with work and caring commitments.
If you’re looking to advance (or even change) your career, one of the best ways to do it is with further study. But for many, the idea of adding more commitments to an already full plate tips postgraduate study into the ‘too hard’ basket.
Lilia Draganov, Senior Manager Student Life, recently completed her Master of Commerce, despite the intense challenges of the COVID-19 and remote learning. We spoke to her to see how she managed it – and how it’s changed her career outlook.
While Lilia Draganov’s bachelor degree in education has served her well, she felt it wasn’t sufficient to advance her career. She saw further education as both the logical next step, and an exciting challenge.
“I like adventure, so I decided to give it a go and enrolled in just one unit,” says Lilia. “I chose to start with accounting because I thought ‘If I survive accounting, I can survive the rest of it!’”
Finding the right balance between her new study commitments and her other responsibilities took some trial and error.
“I had a lot of doubt in my mind about whether I’d be able to juggle family, work and study,” she recalls. “I had to be super organised. When I did one unit a semester, it was manageable. With two or three units, things got a bit intense.”
Lilia says that home-schooling her children, combined with recent workplace change at Macquarie did make things more challenging for her. But found she was able to use her studies as a mechanism to cope with everything else going on around her. She also had a great deal of support from the academics delivering the course.
“The teaching staff are approachable and always happy to give guidance,” says Lilia. “Their passion and dedication were inspiring.”
For staff who are nervous about taking on further study, Lilia’s advice it to start slow. “I started with just one unit a semester, then increased the load to two and finished the last session with three units,” she says.
“My advice is to just give it a go – there is a lot of flexibility and although it’s not always easy, it is possible,” says Lilia.
Now with achievement complete, Lilia feels that her postgraduate degree has provided her with tools to advance her career, be confident and have a greater understanding of her passions and interests.
“Education is such a great gift, and study is a worthwhile investment in your future,” says Lilia.
Macquarie’s online postgraduate expo is on until Thursday and features live career spotlight sessions, over 30 on-demand sessions and bookable personal consultations.
Round 2 of the Macquarie University postgraduate scholarship scheme for staff opens on 27 September. The scheme provides high performing professional staff financial assistance for part-time post-graduate level study at Macquarie.