Being an adult learner is something to be proud of! It is never too late to learn and make a positive change in your life by finishing or furthering your education, but returning to school as an adult comes with some challenges that other students may not have. You work a full time job, take care of your family, and life in general just happens. How do you make time for everything: life, work, family responsibilities, and school?
- Plan ahead. Having an organized schedule can help you stay on top of everything. While there are certain things in life that can’t be scheduled on a calendar, like getting sick or taking care of a family member, having a plan that you can refer to can keep you on track.
- Make a daily to-do list. There are always surprises in life, but, for the most part, you know what you need to get done everyday. Making a to-do list can help keep everything organized and serve as a reminder so nothing is forgotten.
- Set priorities. Some things are just more important than others, especially if you’re a parent! Getting your children to school or making sure they have a healthy dinner is going to be at the top of your list. But also take time to prioritize your school work. After work and family, make taking an hour or two a day to study a big deal.
- Delegate when you can. You can’t delegate your school work to someone else. You need to do the work and learning. Delegating your shift at work to someone else is also something you can’t really do. But the day-to-day chores and tasks that need to be completed around the house can be done by your partner or your children. You don’t have to do everything yourself!
- Make studying a habit. No matter what’s going on in your life, make it a habit to study your notes or read a new section of your study units every day, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. You’ll ensure that you get your coursework done, and fifteen minutes a day can add up over time.
- Be positive! When you have a hectic life and it seems like making room for schoolwork is impossible, take a second or two to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. What dream are you trying to achieve? How will that impact your future and your family’s future? Remind yourself of all the positive aspects of what you’re doing. There will be days of struggle, days when juggling everything is just too much. That’s okay! Just don’t forget the purpose behind your studies.
- Take a break. You don’t have to be “on” 24/7. There will times when you aren’t sure you’re going to get a task done, when your to-do list seems miles long and you maybe complete half of it. Take a break when you feel yourself stressing. Go for a walk. Watch a movie. Do something different and then come back to it later with fresh eyes.
- Ask for help. Your instructors and peers are here to help you! Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling with a lesson or subject. Instructors can be reached during the week by phone, while you can speak with instructors AND fellow students through the Student Community 24/7.
- Know your limits. You’re not a superhero. You absolutely do not have to do every single thing in one day! Know what you can finish in the course of a day and stick to that. Besides having the satisfaction of completing everything, you’ll also save yourself the stress of an unachievable workload.
- Be proud. You’re doing so much and you’re being proactive about your life, making an effort to reach your goals. Even if you have an off day, be proud of the work you’ve accomplished and know that the rest will still be there tomorrow.
It’s never too late to make your dreams happen! You can balance everything in your life with practice and dedication and, in the end, reach your goals and make your family and yourself proud! Enrolling in an online, self-paced program can help you sort out time for studies, work, family, and life. You can make it work.