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Challenges facing postgraduate students (with solutions)

Come to think about it, it has never been easy to be a postgraduate student – pursuing further education while others are moving into the workforce – but it became so much harder in 2020 (and now in 2021) due to the major repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the concurrent times, it has been found that there are some real challenges facing postgraduate students that threaten to make their lives quite difficult. In this article, we are going to take a look at four of these daunting challenges, and explain why they shouldn’t be so frightened — and how they can be overcome them. Let us get started now:

Managing finances

Lacking the time and experience to work lucrative full-time jobs, postgraduate students have always had to carefully manage their finances. They also find it tough to put serious effort into a job when so much of their energy is going towards their studies. Currently, the global recession that inevitably stemmed from widespread lockdown efforts and the effective shutdown of some major industries (such as tourism) is adding to the complexity, making it tougher to rely on family. So, what’s the solution? Here, the suggestion is that such students should try to avail any and all government support schemes that appear, cut back on frivolous spending, and pool their resources with other students to buy staples in bulk (which is cheaper that way) as well as save some money on their accommodation. Furthermore, there is also a lot of value in enterprising students finding ways to make money on the side, something that’s more accessible than ever before through the rise of e-commerce in mainstream awareness!

Building professional credentials

That precisely is the point of bringing up e-commerce – with online retail being largely unaffected by Covid-19, smart and enterprising students can run their own online stores using fulfilment methods such as drop shipping to sell without ever buying anything. Other options could be running pop-up stores using retail POS software or selling digital products such as training materials; but those aren’t outright necessary — they are just useful. The consequences of this activity go beyond just making money. Indeed, a side hustle may become a side venture (hence the name), but it is a business even so, and there is experiential value in running a business — value that can really prove its worth down the line when a postgraduate student concludes their studies and wants to find a career opportunity (or even commit fully to self-employment, something that is growing in popularity these days). It is really hard to stand out in the business world when there is so much competition around, especially given the hiring backlog that has resulted from the main lockdown period. Therefore, starting a business can become a fantastic way to show initiative, creativity and commitment.

Looking after mental health

Be whatever, it is perfectly normal to feel worn down at this point, having been living with a global pandemic for about one and a half a year already — but it is worse for postgraduate students in some other ways. Compared to undergraduate students who are more commonly shielded by their families, budding professionals are expected to have regular incomes (and free time) to calm their fears. Falling somewhere between the two, postgraduate students need to make sure they focus on their wellbeing, keeping their physical health managed through regular exercise, talking about their problems whenever useful (to their family or friends), and refusing to dwell on the negatives. The future can still be bright – and it is vital to remember this!

Working & socializing safely with Covid-19

The way things are, it doesn’t seem that there is going to be a hyper-convenient wrap-up to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. Notwithstanding the arrival of safe and effective vaccines, the virus will likely stick around for a few more years. The truth is that some parts of our lives have changed for the long haul. For instance, the principles behind social distancing will last, as will the move to remote working. And, this is going to be tough for postgraduate students. Not only do they need to work, after all – they also need to socialize to make their workloads bearable, welcome their adulthood and network for future professional opportunities. And all of these things have become tougher now. So, the question is how can they keep their lives going without taking undue risks? The answer partially comes down to following best practices concerning Covid-19 – like, washing hands regularly, wearing masks at appropriate times, avoiding unnecessary contact, spacing out social activity, etc. The rest of it is about making the most of modern technology – viz., using laptops and smartphones as effectively as possible, holding virtual events, working from home when possible and keeping up with the latest advice.

These are then some of those intimidating challenges facing postgraduate students that threaten to make their lives quite difficult. However, in the light of some practical solutions shared in the article above, we hope that postgraduate students will be able to successfully negotiate them and stay motivated and carve out a great future for themselves.

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