People well into their twenties, thirties, forties, and beyond have different motivations for going back to school. Some need to learn a new skill for work; others merely want to explore new environments. Whatever the reason, going back to school as an adult is one of the most fulfilling –– yet challenging things –– anyone can aspire to do. One of the biggest struggles non-traditional students face, however, is balancing an already packed schedule with schoolwork. Fortunately, we’re here to offer a few helpful hints to alleviate the crunch many experience from juggling work, school, and a social life.
Select Classes Wisely
Many graduate programs and community colleges offer online courses and night classes to help adult students more effectively manage their workload. Take advantage of these options, obviously, but also make sure that your school schedule doesn’t interfere with potential work dates. The last thing you want to do is force yourself to be in two places at the same time!
Set Definite Goals
For people who go back to school for a concrete purpose –– whether to learn modern SEO techniques or how a BEE International Homogenizer operates –– setting goals and deadlines is relatively easy. However, for others with more ambiguous intentions, you need to work to establish a game plan and stick to it. Otherwise you could wind up wasting time (and money) on courses that won’t actually help you in “the real world.”
You might be surprised to hear this, but most professors are willing to accomodate students with special scheduling needs. The key here is to be open, honest, and upfront about your concerns. Better to explain your situation to a professor before it causes a problem than to ask for another chance afterward. (The same logic applies to speaking with your employer as well!) This is especially apt for online courses; just because you don’t actually interact with your professor in person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to cultivate a good working relationship. Instead, the opposite is true; you need to strive more to ensure you and your instructors are on the same page.
Grind When You Have To
Sometimes there’s no way to avoid pulling an all-nighter, or else working through your weekends to finish a project. If you’re serious about heading back to school, prepare yourself for a challenge –– and don’t expect to succeed without going the extra mile in your studies. Plain and simple, you’ll need to work really hard. That’s why it’s so important to be passionate about your job and the subjects you study. Otherwise your “second” college experience could turn into a nightmare in a flash.