Erlene is currently a 3rd year student of Accounts and Marketing (B. COMM) at the University of Malta, and has been working at NM Group on their studentship scheme since 2015.

Working and studying at the same time can take you on a rollercoaster of emotions – throughout the past two years at NM Group I’ve found myself feeling excited, inspired, determined, and stressed – sometimes all at once! When I first started applying for studentships, I really wanted to get a taste of what an actual accounting job would be like, to make sure that I knew what I was getting myself into – not only in my career, but also at university.

Since I started, I’ve been able to apply everything I’ve learnt during my studies to real life situations and I’ve also been able to use my experience here to support my studies. My work experience at NM Group has shown me how much can change from what you learn in theory once you start to put your studies into practice. Two years on, I’m very glad to have chosen NM Group for studentship because throughout the process they’ve been nothing but understanding and flexible whenever my studies have had to take priority over work, which isn’t always something you should take for granted from your employer.

If you’re thinking of applying for studentships or if you are currently studying and working at the same time, here are five tips to help you keep your cool:

1) Keep your priorities straight

Gaining work experience is paramount to moving forward in your career, especially when employers expect new graduates to have a substantial amount of experience under their belt. However, this doesn’t mean that your studies should take a backseat. As exciting as joining the workforce sounds, life does and will get in the way of your immaculately laid plans, so don’t forget that you have hobbies and a social life to keep up with too.

2) Manage your time effectively

Schedule your time sensibly – don’t book a full day of work when you know you have a lecture in the middle of the day, instead try to schedule your work hours around your lectures. It’s important that your employer is aware of your academic timetable and gives you the flexibility you need to keep up with your schedule without having to rush around (too much).

3) Plan ahead

Let’s stop for a minute and think about your academic career – exam season is essentially the moment of truth that will determine how far and quickly you progress in your studies. Make sure to schedule your time appropriately if you know exams are coming up – it’s not just a matter of booking a day off on the day of your exam, you should also take the time needed for studying and revising in the weeks before exams begin.

4) Communicate openly

Your work experience is as valuable as you make it – so, don’t risk burning yourself out trying to juggle everything, and ultimately underperforming across the board. That’s why it’s important to communicate with your manager if you feel like you’re not coping or that the current set up isn’t working for you. One thing you should also take advantage of is communicating with your colleagues and the management to learn as much as you can while you’re on the job.

5) Don’t overload yourself

Finally getting to apply what you’ve been studying for so long in a real life office scenario is very exciting. You might feel like an invincible superhero who can take anything on – and that’s a fantastic feeling! But you will eventually burn out if you pile too much on your plate. Make sure to take time out to spend time doing things you enjoy and spending time with loved ones. Listen to your gut and slow down when you feel like you’re running low on fuel.

If you’re studying accounts or business administration, then we’d love to hear from you! Through our studentship scheme, NM Group offers students flexible working hours that will allow them to study and gain work experience at the same time.