Studying part-time MA Creative Direction with the Condé Nast College, student Reyes Triano interviews fellow part-time MA Fashion Communication student, Daria about her experience so far studying a Masters part-time with Condé Nast College.
Studying a part-time Masters degree
After a long work day and with a three hour difference, a video conference from an unexpectedly sunny London reaches below-zero Moscow where MA Fashion Communication part-time student Daria is riding out the last thrashing tails of lockdown. She works remotely in finance for a company based in the UK but is ready to follow the career of her dreams without denying herself the economic independence she has built on her current job.
This very well may be the epitome of why alternative ways of studying, like part-time programs, are essential for young adults. Condé Nast College is one of the higher education institutions offering solutions that adapt to different types of students since studying can -and should- be a very personal experience. We got together for a chat about doing things our way, learning about fashion, and finding ourselves.
CNC part-time student Daria talks about student life
Almost half of all the UK’s workforce would like to change their career path and 22% of workers realised, during the pandemic, that they don’t really like their job. Nevertheless, the economic and social state of the world may not embrace leaving all financial security behind to go back to school. “I work in finance, which is a completely different field, and my dream has always been to do something creative, to be in fashion, and find myself because I don’t feel comfortable in the position I am in right now; it’s a transition period”, Daria explains as she imagines a new chapter of her life in the fashion industry.
A lot of us invested our college years and our first working experiences in a field that was not right for us. Outer pressures or lack of insight can lead just-out-of-high-school teenagers to choose a career path they are not passionate about. For Daria, family expectations were a priority when she started to design her life as an adult: “My initial education was not my decision. You know, when you are too young, your parents may decide for you, what is best for you; and, after a few years, I realised that I am wasting my time, wasting my life, I wanted to try something new”. Good thing is, in current times, it is more than normal to reinvent ourselves, test different passions and find a unique balance for the very different aspects of life.
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A path to inclusivity
One thing to note about our conversation is that our situations were quite different, even when we both decided to join Condé Nast College as part-time students at the same time. I had just graduated from university when I found myself burned out from trying to come up with a new path for myself after having my graduate plans swiped off by the global pandemic. I decided I needed a radical change professionally and personally, even if it means to start from scratch, whilst Daria is trying to step from one industry to another without missing a beat: “I can combine my studies and my work and, at the same time, I can feel that my knowledge in a new field while I do the same things I do everyday”.
On top of our need to indulge in our curiosity, we also shared the relief of finding a study option that gave us room for our priorities: “Part-time gives you more options and more opportunities to have your free time, your work time, your study time, your family time”. There isn’t a single way of doing things anymore; there are many student and working profiles that do not benefit from traditional learning. Studies show that a more rounded lifestyle is healthier and more productive than the usual eight-hour schedule. Coming generations are adapting to independent professional environments and Daria also feels that need to follow what feels natural and inspired: “I want to change something in my life; do what I want and do what I like”. Some people are not interested in becoming full time students, and that’s OK.
The future of studying
Even after seeing the contrasting points in our stories, there is still a long way to go for inclusivity. Statistics by HESA show that “72% of part-time UK students on designated courses were White” and they also observed that the age of part-time students has been decreasing and becoming predominantly female. Alternative studying options are less known and less applied in general high education, but vulnerable citizens -from learning disabilities to care-taking responsibilities- would benefit from a wider range of opportunities that do not imply investing undivided attention, which is a luxury that will hopefully become more accessible and diverse.
If you want to step into the fashion industry on your own terms and are not ready to drop everything else to do so, take the unwalked path through a part-time experience and customise your education to fit your priorities. There are no wrong answers when it comes to investing in yourself and your future.
By Reyes Triano, MA Creative Direction for Fashion Media