Assignment deadlines are looming closer and exams are less than a month away – time is flying and term is almost over. For all the effort I put into my studies early on, my priorities seem to have shifted considerably. Professional obligations have kept me busy for the better part of the past 3 weeks and little to no real consideration has been put into the weekly lectures, seminars and general academic activities altogether. In fact, I missed the whole of last week’s seminars pre-occupied with varying matters that bare absolutely no relation to my studies.
This lack of engagement is easily traceable to my discourse in ‘Short of Sport’ – particularly in working in the sports industry the contrast to attending lectures unrelated to the sports industry is stark. That isn’t to say the topics being taught aren’t all very relevant – they are in fact extremely relevant – yet they are undeniably less interesting. As one of my peers very pertinently phrased it earlier this week – ‘If I wanted to learn about social science I would have taken a Sociology degree, not a Sports degree.’ Fact.
Yet I’d be lying if I said that was the whole story. I get asked many times how I handle my studies while in full-time employment. The standard answer is ‘fine’. Obviously you don’t get to dedicate as much time to each module as you would like to, but it’s all very doable. Except when you start working really long hours – and it so happens that in the business of sport, you quite often have to carry on outside working hours. In those terms, this entire term, but most prominently the month of February, has been a bit of a struggle.
Partly because I don’t feel particularly attached to the modules this term, partly because the assignment that has been keeping me awake for the past couple of days is worth less than a third of the final mark, partly because professional commitments have kept me extremely busy throughout the month. And in putting it all together and trying to ascertain the bona fide value, somehow the entire term is falling short of the mark.
In terms of expertise, or better even priorities, social science is not high on the list (and there is no pretending otherwise). There’s trying to make the most of your educational experience and being too into it. While that wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, when you are missing opportunities for professional development from diverging sources, I would argue it borders on becoming a fool’s errand. For instance, (nearly) everyone in my degree seems up to speed with the latest transfer talk, sponsorship deals and highest paid player in the Premier League, but throw a few names around such as Chime Sports Marketing, Infront, Lagardère or PERFORM and I will get a few blank stares.
While I understand the necessity of sitting the exams – you will not be awarded a degree otherwise – and placing value on what you are learning, there is a line each and every student should define – and that is how much is your time worth. It may seem an alien concept for students in full-time education or those simply not currently in employment, but one that nonetheless should not be taken for granted. There are a multitude of opportunities out there – events, conferences, seminars, webinars, volunteering – that a Postgrad student may find is more fitting of their time and that will ultimately get them closer to their career objectives.