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How I study with kids: CDU mums share their tips

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Online study, Starting your studies
Joelene and Darcy Hertel

As the saying goes, 'if you need something done, ask a busy mum'. And it's certainly true of CDU students that are parents. They're powerhouses who balance parenting, work and a degree to reach their career goals. Here, four students - who are also mums - share their top tips and insights on making time for study. 

Time the change

alicia burrows getting heart rate checked by coworker

Lawyer, mum and now a midwife-in-the-making, Alicia knew a career change would be challenging.

She started studying after the arrival of her second baby. "I explained to my family how important this change was for me and I’ve done the best to ensure my study has minimal impact on family life," she says. 

She finds pockets of time to work through her online midwifery degree during her lunch breaks at work, when her daughter in napping, or at night when the kids are in bed. 

Read Alicia's story

Give your kids some credit

Joelene and Darcy Hertel

At 27 weeks pregnant, Joelene completed a three-hour exam as part of her environmental science degree at CDU. Between her work at CSIRO, her degree and her toddler, procrastination is just not an option. In fact, she credits her daughter for keeping her on track. 

I deal with tasks by making the time and doing them. I used to really struggle with procrastination but now with my two-year-old I literally don’t have the time to procrastinate. I make a ‘to do list’ and do it.

Read Joelene's story

Share the load

Athira at the end of both her degrees, 2014 and 2020, with her young family

For Athira, getting help was non-negotiable. With two young children (including a newborn), a full-time job, a move interstate and a career as a professional dancer, starting a master's degree in health was no small feat. 

No matter how independent you are, it’s always community that helps you do great things together.

"It's always good to reflect on what’s important to you. What are your current priorities? What are the things that you can make use of in your life? The things that are preventing you from doing what you love?

"Once you’ve figured that out, have a good talk to others - your support network - about it too," she says.

Read Athira's story

Block time

Talea pictured with her family

Talea may be organised by nature, but by spending a little time planning ahead, she managed to finish her online midwifery degree

"I had a strict study plan and would plan out my entire semester. I also got my kids into a really good routine; they were in bed asleep by 6pm every night. On Monday to Thursday, I’d study as soon as they were in bed through to about 11pm.

For difficult subjects, I’d set my alarm and study from 5am to 7am with a fresh brain.

"I made sure everything was done by Thursday night, and then Friday to Sunday was family time and I could focus on that.

"My midwifery degree was hard, but worth it. The first time I delivered a baby by myself was the most incredible feeling."

Read Talea's story

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