Working and Going Back to School—Managing It All
A growing number of working adults are enrolling in college to advance their careers. With degrees in hand, their incomes will increase, and they can expect greater job security with more opportunities for promotions.
In our previous post, RN Nursing Prep shared ideas to help working adults research, plan and choose the right college to earn their degree.
In this post, we will share some practical advice you can use while working, studying and managing your family life.
Meet with an advisor as soon as you enroll in school. Be sure to check in regularly, at least every semester, to review your progress, and get advice they may have.
Be sure to meet your instructors. Tell them you are balancing work, family and school. Get their office hours and find out alternatives to talking with them if you can’t meet them during those times. They want you to succeed and should be happy to help you.
Meet your classmates. See if there are others like yourself who work and go to school. You can help each other even if it’s just a few minutes of chatting before class.
You’ve enrolled in school and know when classes begin. Your calendar will be full, and it might be your best friend until you graduate.
As soon as you get information about your class schedule, put it all in your calendar. Consider using an electronic calendar that links to important family members so they can check your schedule, too. Exams, mid-terms, due dates for important assignments and finals should all be in there.
Are you taking online courses that you access on your own schedule? Put that on your calendar too. The flexibility of taking online courses is a big plus, but you’ll have to work out a schedule to complete your studies if it’s all up to you. You should follow the schedule advised by the instructor of the course and block out times to study just as if you were headed to a classroom.
Create Your Space
Have a designated study space. Keep supplies handy. You’ll save a lot of time if you don’t have to gather items every time you want to study.
Have a good light source in your study space. Keep earplugs/earphones handy to block out family noise. You’ll want a place that is quiet and puts you in an alert learning mindset. Studying in bed, for example, may not be the best option if you find yourself slipping into sleep mode!
Set boundaries with your family when you study at home. During your study time, they can help by not interrupting you and turning down the noise level of their activities. How you and your family reach agreement on this issue can build respect and deepen your bonds with each other.
Learn How to Study
It may have been years since you ‘hit the books’, so you’ll want to brush up on your study techniques. If your school has a learning resource or student success center, you can get valuable information about how to study.
You can also search online with the ‘How to Study’ and pick up both new and tried-and-true tips.
Tuck In Time to Study
Craft some flashcards or notes that you can carry with you. Download videos or podcasts about what you’re studying. When a few minutes of time opens during your day, use your notes/flashcards or listen to the recordings to capture a few minutes of learning time.
If possible, pad time around every class. Get there early and stay a few minutes late to prepare and review.
At work, give your school schedule to your manager. Let them know when your midterms and final exams are scheduled. It will give your manager plenty of time to accommodate those days. If you must, find someone to swap work shifts with you. Do this as soon as possible and be sure to tell your manager of your plans. Regularly check to be sure that you are all on the same page.
Keep communication open with your family. There are going to be stressful days for everyone but talking about things can keep relationships strong.
Remember, you won’t be in school forever and getting your diploma is going to be worth it!
Keep Track of All Education Expenses
It’s a good idea to keep receipts of all your education related expenses.
You never know when an opportunity for some reimbursement may become available to you. If your job requires you to earn a degree or additional licenses, there is probably a tuition reimbursement policy in place.
Keep a folder in your study space; you can label and put the receipts in as you get them. If ever you need them, you’ll be glad you set them aside and kept them in one place!
Celebrate and Evaluate
At the end of every semester, do something to celebrate. You’re a step closer to your degree and should be proud of yourself.
Also, review how the semester went. See what worked for you and plan on that again. For things that didn’t work so well, think about how to do them differently next time. As you grow and learn, your approach to reaching your goals can improve and adapt.
Please join RN NursingPrep’s next post which will address maintaining your personal life while going to school and working.
An RN NursingPrep Perks membership provides access to many education benefits, including degree planning, guaranteed nursing and CLEP exam preparation courses and money-saving discounts on your everyday life expenses. Join