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Balancing work, family time and the Durham DBA

Samar Aad Makhoul, Durham DBA Candidate and Lead Accreditation and Continuous Improvement Coordinator at Lebanese American University, talks us through how her family have adapted to the huge changes the pandemic has brought around:

Technology

COVID-19 hit the whole world by surprise. Without prior notice we all had to be locked down at home and expected to try and resume our normal tasks remotely. Working from home using technology is definitely not an easy task when your two kids and husband decide to all use Zoom at the same time and you will be Zoomed-out! But after two weeks, you adapt and organise yourself.

Positivity

My own experience working remotely is a positive one. All you need to have is the knowhow, the resources and a set of guidelines and rules that need to be respected by your household.

I also believe it is a rewarding experience as you can be there for your kids. I love taking small breaks during the day to play with them, watch a family movie, or even do some cooking and baking.

Studying, working, living

To make my life more challenging during this outbreak, it was also the time to attend my final DBA module, which of course had to be moved to a virtual experience via Teams. Although I missed going to the lovely Durham campus, seeing my professors and colleagues face to face, attending the lovely dinner organised by the school, seeing Anne and Vicky and all the ladies at the office, I had a full and great three days using virtual classrooms! I was impressed by the confidence of Professor Learmonth and Professor Laszlo in using technology and conducting the session fully online. The sessions were very well organised and successful.

Testing your limits

Juggling online studying for the kids, remote work, online doctorate classes, house chores and baking is not an easy task. COVID-19 has tested my limits! I do want to go back to my normal life but I am not sure when this will end so I am trying to make the most out of it.

Pyjamas vs jumpsuit

Here’s a story I’d like to share: I had my first scheduled meeting a week after the lockdown and was explaining to my little one that mommy had an important meeting and could not be interrupted. She gave me a funny look and said: “You must be joking - you have a meeting and you’re wearing pyjamas?” Since then, I decided to at least wear my jumpsuit so I can be taken seriously around the house!

A shift in thinking

There’s no doubt that this pandemic has shifted the way we think and operate. Luckily, I have the proper tools and technical support to be able to work and study remotely and strike a balance between work and family time. At least this is what I hope I am doing!

More information

  • Learn more about the Durham DBA.
  • Read about how we took our Masters and MBA international study tours online in another piece written by one of our students.
  • We have published many articles on COVID-19 which you can read here.