I'm Anna, a 24-year-old Russian Kiwi with an undergraduate degree in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh. I am currently in my second year of pursuing my DREAM - studying Equine Science with the Edinburgh University Equine Science MSc (online learning) programme. I love it!
I'm actually currently all the way on the other side of the world - in beautiful New Zealand. I moved back home a few months ago after five and a half incredible years in Edinburgh. It seems I have two homes now as Scotland will always sit firmly in my heart...
I think it's absolutely incredible that the UoE Equine Science MSc gives its students the opportunity to study from anywhere, LITERALLY anywhere in the world! And I can't wait to share with you guys some exciting things from the course as well as a little bit about my life on the farm in Auckland.
Let's talk about work/life balance!
I am a postgrad student in part-time education and part-time (previously full-time) employment. Everyone is different, and how they approach finding that optimal work/life balance varies from person to person. My life recently changed quite a lot (moved countries, started two part-time jobs, moved down to one), so it's been a few months of gradually figuring out my strengths and limits. So, here's a day in the life of...me!
- Sunrise: I feed myself and the cats, and take out my mare, Bettie, and wee colt, Nano. Muck out, check waters, pop out hay nets, groundwork sessions, then go across the creek to say hello to the stallion boys, Storm and Sunny (out 24/7), check them over, hay, poo pick, etc.
- Morning to early afternoon: My part-time job with Stylefit. Usually from home, but sometimes requires me being out meeting with clients. I love the variety and flexibility. I've always wanted to make a difference to the way we are taught writing skills at school, and now I can finally do that! I work every day but a few hours at a time.
- Lunch: First a good walk or a game of badminton! I sometimes eat out with a friend if our breaks align and we both want to get out and about for a bit. Sometimes I also use this break to check in on our house renovations or arrange for a vet/farrier/doctor/etc appointment.
- Afternoon: Equine Science coursework and dissertation planning. The past two years have been so eye-opening that deciding on a particular area - or narrowing it down! - was a truly tough feat!
- Evening: Some life admin, another ~hour of work or study and... dinner! I'm someone who doesn't function on an empty stomach, so keeping on top of a healthy (ish!) diet is super important to me.
How do you maintain a good work/life balance? For me, it's an ever-evolving process.
Something I’ve been wondering about today... What do you guys love most about online tertiary education? My Friday Five:
- The freedom to live in my country of choice!
- The ability to create my own schedule and therefore make quality time to see friends and family, and spend time with my partner Craig.
- Studying from the comfort of my home. I love this, as it means I can use those early mornings, midday breaks and evenings to spend time with my beloved animals!
- The opportunity to connect with incredible people around the world! I’ve met so many interesting souls, equine enthusiasts, activists, behaviourists, academics...the list can go on and on. Through the Equine Science MSc I’ve been able to make lifelong friends and connections, discover upcoming seminars and conferences (including many out-with the University), and attend these online!
- The discipline and technological skills we develop along the way! It’s a journey during which many skills are tested, learned, honed and eventually prided over. It can be a challenge sometimes to stay motivated, to stick with your self-appointed study sessions and really truly stay disciplined, especially with the tough, restrictive 2020/2021 we’ve had...but it’s so worth it when you get there, when you make it to that next step and reach your desired goal!
Thank you for having me on this week’s takeover! It has been exciting sharing a bit of my story with you and posting the behind scenes of part-time online postgraduate learning. It has been a busy, insightful and rewarding week. I’m working on narrowing down my ideas for a dissertation topic and preparing an important (and slightly scary!) pitch before six school board members for work. I’m excited to see what this new week will bring!
If you want to follow more of my journey, travels and horse training (but also just some adorable Friesian horse content, really), feel free to follow me on @ziggielemonbag! I’m also always happy to answer any more questions you may have about the Equine Science MSc - what it entails, the workload, balancing this with full- or part-time work... anything you want to ask.
Wherever you are in the world, have a good night, brilliant morning and glorious day. Look to the week ahead with optimism and positivity, be kind to others and good to yourself, no matter how challenging things might get! And ask for help if you need it. I love being part of this UoE community for its supportive staff, incredibly friendly and encouraging classmates, and everyone’s absolute willingness to share in their academic research. Important and inspiring is also their unfaltering determination to help improve our horses’ welfare.
If I was to give a piece of advice... I always try to find beauty and happiness in the smallest of things and am constantly working on improving that work/study/life balance. Also...do not be afraid to ask questions and follow your heart. Bye for now!
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