Juggling isn’t an easy task — whether it is keeping three balls in the air or it is balancing parenthood, your career, and getting an education. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible right? Parenting is a challenge. And so is earning a college degree. Now to even think about doing both together, at the same time is terrifying. It is daunting particularly if you are the family’s sole breadwinner. But it is important to advance your career and to increase your potential.
The good news is that thousands of parents graduate each year from college, accomplishing their vision of a better, life for themselves and their children. Not only parents excel in college but they also add some significant advantages to the history of the college. Parents tend to be more concentrated, committed, and mature as a result of their life experiences, than other students.
While there is no question that parents can be successful at college, there is also no question that it requires an extra degree of planning and self-discipline, as well as a healthy sense of perspective. Just like students, parents have learned the art of juggling work, schooling, and raising a family. To be honest, adding anything else to your plate can be a major and frightening move, like going back to school. Learning how to navigate education, work and family comes with practice, but take a little advice from those who have been in your shoes. Here are 7 tips pinned by College Schedule Maker for parents on their way to a college graduation degree.
At this stage, time is your scarcest resource so making the most of it is very crucial. Just like it’s always a good idea to know where your money is going, knowing where your time is going is also important. If you’re not planning regular study time and other important things in your life, you’ll quickly find yourself behind others and overwhelmed. Consider conducting an audit on time. Take a few days to be deliberate about how you spend your time tracking. You may be surprised at how much you spend on things that are little more than distractions from life’s important things. It all comes down to priorities.
Don’t try to do it on your own. You will need all the help you can get; be it emotional or material. Develop relationships in school with other parents, that will allow you to share your experiences and find encouragement. Numerous schools have parent support groups. So yes, seek out help when necessary, and remember, communication is the key. Communicate with your family members and friends, make them feel like they are part of your hectic schedule and you will get through anything. In the end, get to know your teachers. Let them know what you are struggling with. Many professors are willing to arrange special arrangements for parents, grant extra time for completing assignments, etc.
Busy people are often tempted to miss meals and/or consume loads of unhealthy snacks and garbage. While these items are good in moderation, a person’s diet impacts their immune system, energy level, and mental alertness greatly. Generally speaking, it is easier to devote the extra time required to cook a nutritious meal. The time you spend in class and learning is going to be much more efficient, and you are going to get sick less frequently and have the ability to work longer. You will set a good example for your children too.
Regular exercise like yoga, meditation, or quick workouts improve alertness, energy, productivity, and reduces anxiety. Make it easy and short. Keep on a stroll. Motorcycle. 10-15 minutes a day is enough to make a difference or even any other day. And again, in addition to all the benefits just mentioned, you’ll set a great example for your children.
To college students and friends, sleep is usually one of the first things to go to. And yet the benefits of getting enough sleep, like eating healthy and exercising, generally far outweigh the costs involved (like having less time to study). Sleep assists in memory consolidation, problem-solving, and the ability to retain focus, among other issues. If you have trouble focusing, feel stressed out, or lose more patience with your kid(s) than normal, try to take a quick nap or go to bed earlier. That will probably require sacrificing other activities, but in the long run, it will pay off. Quick reminder: It’s all about goals.
Bearing in mind the conventional, non-working, childless student, most colleges and professors design their curriculums. Such students clearly have much more time to devote to their academic studies than the average working parent. The trick is not to stand by the same unreasonable standards. That is a quick path to burn out, and eventually to drop out. A B or a C is the equivalent of an A or an A+ given your situation. Sure, this will not be reflected in your transcript, but unless you intend to go to graduate school in the near future, your grades are not all that important (and even then they are not as important as you would think) as long as you know ways to optimize your productivity and time.
Prospective employers will ask to see your degree, not your credentials. So, study hard and know what you can, but if you can’t get all the reading finished because you’ve been up with a sick kid all night, or you can’t finish all the homework problems because after study you’re just too tired, don’t sweat it. Make sure your teacher is aware of your situation and cut yourself a break. The instructor could just do the same.
You can prioritize and schedule, but that doesn’t automatically mean that it will always go smoothly. Expecting curveballs along the way will help you take them in step when they arrive, realizing that everyone swings and misses every now and then.
Murphy’s Law essentially states that whatever can go wrong, will. Just before heading out the door, you drop your cup of coffee; leave your resume in the car and realize it during the interview; a ten-car pile-up makes you late to pick up your kids at school. All kinds of things will happen and are out of your control absolutely. Whether you treat these is what’s beyond your hands.
Allow time to focus on what all this is about when things get tough (which they will). Imagine walking across the bridge or having a degree in the mail. Imagine the life you can provide for yourself and your children. Imagine the precedent that you gave to them. Perhaps most importantly, imagine what this will mean for your own sense of self. You’re going to be a college graduate!
You need to accept what you cannot change. When you step in college, you need to be prepared for the awkwardness you are going to face for a few days. Students there would be different and there would certainly be an age gap. At times they might not relate to you and so won’t you on days. So, the constant tussle of adjusting yourself in the aura might take a little time and even if you don’t fit in, remember the purpose you are in for. Don’t take away yourself in the flow of being liked by others to point that you start disliking yourself. Take a leap of faith and tap your back for taking such a courageous decision amid the odds. Good luck!