Sep 24, 2011
How to go Back to School
Going back to school as an adult is often a lesson in time management and prioritizing. Sacrifice is another common word you’ll hear among those brave enough to hit the books again — whether they’re giving up time with friends or missing their child’s Little League games.
While evening and online courses can help students sandwich in the extra work, mastering the art of juggling multiple responsibilities often doesn’t come right away.
Even getting reacquainted with the art of studying can take some time. You’re relearning how to learn. Once you’re in the rhythm of it, then it’s fine.”
Those who are preparing to hit the books this school year, fear not — with focus and planning, experts say that students can minimize the stress of fitting study time into their daily juggle of responsibilities. Below are some tips for those getting ready to head back to school, the second time around.
Set a Goal
Balancing a job, a family and school can be touch but career experts suggest that students keep at the front of their minds exactly why they’re putting themselves — and family — through this extra stress.
It’s important for students to have distinct reasons why they are pursuing a degree, whether it’s for a career change, to earn more money or another reason. In fact, write down that goal and post it so that it can be regularly revisited.
Take baby steps
Moving back into the rigors of academia isn’t always the simplest of transitions. So don’t load up with more than one or two classes at first, “dip your toe into the water” by taking a light load at the beginning. Prepare for the shift and realize it might take some time to get used to the new circumstances.
Prepare to plan
The best thing a student can do is look at each day, start to finish, and plan for things as much as they can in advance. That means blocking out regular time to study, while still remaining flexible and ready to take advantage of any extra free time that might arise.
It’s also not a bad idea to consider what activities — including committee or volunteer work — could be pared back temporarily during the time it takes to complete the schoolwork, just to “cut down on the frenzy.
Get support from family and friends
It isn’t only the adult student who is learning to sacrifice while keeping up in school. Less attention might cause young children to act up in school or be clingy during family time, while others can also become jealous of the time an adult student sets aside to study. It’s important to explain and reiterate to loved ones that “life is going to be different” for a while. Stress the importance of the goal, and that the scheduling is temporary. And keep them in the loop about study plans so visiting time can be planned for.
Stay professional on the job
Finally, it’s important that students don’t allow the demands of school to affect performance at the workplace. Students should keep school materials and books out of sight at work and definitely not on their desk in plain view. Unless school will squarely conflict with a job, it might be an optional discussion with an employer. While some bosses will encourage employees in their studies, others might not.