Figuring out how to go back to school while balancing work, family, and other obligations is a daunting task. Many people are hesitant to take the plunge and go back to school because they are afraid they won’t have time to do it all. Luckily, there are ways to balance your life so that you can return to school without neglecting any of your other responsibilities or having to give up activities or forfeit spending time with people you enjoy.
1. Find the right program
Researching different college programs is often the first step when people are deciding how to go back to school. To successfully balance work, school, and family life, finding a program that fits your schedule is essential. For working adults, online programs are often a practical choice. When evaluating a potential program, look to see if each class is completely online, whether the entire program can be finished online, and whether classes require real time participation. Also, determine whether potential programs require any sort of internship, as this may require you to take additional time away from work. Lastly, look for colleges and degree programs that are fully accredited. Attending a non-accredited program may make it harder to get licenses or other credentials necessary to practice after graduation.
2. Get organized
As you’re figuring out how to go back to school, it’s important for you to schedule your time effectively and stay organized. As soon as you get your syllabus on the first day of class, make note of the dates for tests, papers, or other high-stress tasks. If possible, schedule extra days off work before those dates so that you’ll have time to prepare. Also, remember to keep track of your work, family, and school obligations in some type of planner. Before the beginning of each week, review your to-do list for the coming days and write down in your planner exactly when you plan to do each task on your list. If you think it will help, you can even go as far as to schedule each day out in 30 minute increments. Setting reminders on your phone is also a good way to stay on track.
3. Reach out for support
Going back to school while juggling work and family obligations will require the support of those closest to you. If you have children, talk to them about how important it is for you to go back to school and let them know that you may be busier in the future. Parents, spouses, and siblings are all important sources of emotional support and practical help while you’re learning how to go back to school. In addition, talk to your boss or manager to let them know that you’re taking on additional responsibilities outside of the workplace. If your employers are supportive, they may be willing to allow you extra flexibility at work.
4. Prioritize your health
No matter how much responsibility you have on your plate, making time to take care of yourself is essential if you hope to keep up. While you’re working out how to go back to school and stay balanced, be sure to prioritize your health by taking time to sleep, eat well, and get some exercise. Equally as important, make sure you take time to have some fun, too! Go on a day trip with your friends, have dinner with your spouse, or play in the yard with the kids. Doing these things will help reduce stress and keep you in good mental and physical health.
Figuring out how to go back to school while working and taking care of your family is not simple. Choosing the right program, practicing good time management, finding support from others, and taking care of your health are a few things that will make the process much easier and help you to follow through with your academic goals.
From 8 Reasons to Go Back to College as an Adult to How to Choose an Online Degree Program to Tips to Become a Better Public Speaker, Averett University Graduate & Professional Studies is here to help you succeed in both your professional life and your academic life (which, when combined, will help to make your personal life everything you had hoped and dreamed).
Next, we’ll cover “How to Deal With a Bad Boss” (and still keep your job)! Until next time, explore our online degree programs ~ all specifically designed for the busy lifestyles of adults.