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Full-time mum, full-time human resources student

Rebecca recently started her Master’s in Human Resource Management at Bradford after 13 years out of education. In this blog she tells us why she was inspired to study a postgraduate degree, why she chose Bradford, and how she juggles studying with her busy family life. 

Headshot of Rebecca on the left, with an image of her laptop on the right, displaying her university work.

After moving out of the hospitality industry, I began a career within the HR sector and knew that in order to progress, I needed both more education and accreditation in this area. Experience alone would not assist me enough.

The MSc Human Resource Management course at the University of Bradford offered both a generalised overview of HR as well as allowing me to be a Level 7 Accredited CIPD member – it was a no-brainer when choosing which institution to study with! 

Overcoming early nerves 

I was nervous about the start of term, so much had changed in the 13 years since I graduated from my BSc course and I was worried that my lack of academia for such a long time would have a severe impact on my ability to learn. 

Also, I was concerned about how I would fit a Master's programme into my already busy life as a mother of young children. However, there was a lot of support available – video meetings with the course leader, welcome sessions and e-learning programmes to guide you around the various IT systems to name a few. 

It was a strange start to the term with online learning, however after a couple of weeks we were able to have face-to-face lectures again and it was lovely to be able to interact with my peers in real life! 

Settling into life as a student 

I’ll admit, the first few weeks were tough, the textbooks made my brain ache and often I would finish a lecture feeling totally bombarded with information – but things improved. I ensured that I factored enough time into pre-reading and post-reading for lectures, using the recorded Zoom sessions to go over the content. Soon enough, my out-of-practice brain caught up and I started to become more comfortable with the reading material.

And I wasn’t in this alone – my peers had formed a chat on a social media platform enabling us to share concerns, worries and tips for improvement. It was also made clear from the start that I could approach my PAT (Personal Academic Tutor) whenever needed, and the system of student reps also provided a lot of support. I was assigned a student number at the beginning of the course, however I’ve never felt that I was just a number. The tutors and course leader take time to ensure they know you and your circumstances, so they can tailor their advice to suit you. 

Rebecca's baby using her laptop.

The prospect of a better future 

The global COVID-19 pandemic offered me an opportunity to take the leap back into education and ensure that I could build myself resources to forge a long-standing career. I hope that with my course completed and accreditation to the CIPD, I can build a career where I can successfully balance the demands of my family, whilst continuing my professional development, development which was stunted in my previous role due to a lack of accreditation.

I feel that the University of Bradford has offered me the prospect of a better future for me and my family, both with the course content and its supportive staff. Also, have I mentioned the onsite Starbucks?!  

Balancing the workload 

Don’t get me wrong – there’s a lot of work involved. I’ve had to miss out on Sunday afternoon strolls with the family, work in the evenings and read textbooks with a sleeping baby on me. But equally, I haven’t missed a single kids' bedtime and I have been able to ensure the workload fits around my family life. Yes, the workload increases during submission deadlines, however I know this short-term sacrifice will be worth it in the end.  

And as my mother (a teacher) would say “A day without learning is a day without fun!”