Going back to school as an adult is tough. You’ve got your family to take care of, you have to make sure you get those hours in at work so you have enough money to pay the bills, and concentrating on school and homework is the very last thing you’re worried about. But you also know that you need to finish your studies to reach whatever goal you’re aiming for. So what do you do? Do you give one thing a little more time than the others? Should you miss family outings and overtime hours at work to study for an exam or write a paper? Should you even go back to school at all or forget about your dreams? None of the above! With a little bit of work, it’s possible to balance school, life, your job…everything! Here are a few tips to balance your responsibilities to help you succeed at reaching your goals!
- Make a plan. Don’t just “wing it” and see what happens after you go back to school. To make sure you can dedicate as much time as you can to each essential aspect of your life, it’s important that you know what you’re getting into. Consider everything you have to do each day and have at least a loose plan of how you’re going to tackle each project. For example, you’re going back to school but you work full time and take care of your kids. Before you enroll in a program, think about how much time you’re going to spend working on it. Start small! You could plan to have one day where you work on your program each week until things feel a little more comfortable.
- Ask your family to get involved. They don’t necessarily have to sit down and help you study, but if your family knows how important going back to school is to you, they’ll be more willing to help you have some free time for studying. Or, if you have kids in school, after you get home from work and they get home from school, you can do your homework together!
- Ask for help. If you’re struggling to keep up with everything you need to attend to, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family, your friends, your school, and your instructors. Most of the time, if you’re frustrated or stuck, getting perspective from someone else can help you get back on track. Also, getting the important people in your life involved in your goals will make them feel like they’ve also accomplished something when you graduate!
- Take a deep breath.Unfortunately, nothing is ever a piece of a cake so you’re going to get overwhelmed and scared and bored and exhausted and… a million other emotions while you’re trying to balancing every little thing you need to do. It happens and it’s okay! Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and take a step back. This could be a weekend stay-cation where you don’t look at your notes at all, or treating yourself to a lunch out by yourself. Whatever you usually do to gain perspective, do it. Your studies, your work, and your family will still be there when you get back!
It may be a lot of hard work and you may find yourself completely frustrated on a regular basis. That’s normal, especially if you haven’t been in the school routine for awhile. There’s a reason you’re doing this, so keep your goal in mind when you’re slogging through the work and exams and, before you know it, you’ll be at graduation!