When you’re in college, they say you’ll have to sacrifice a social life, sleep, or getting good grades to survive. What, then, happens when you already have a family, and you’re trying to go back to school without the relative freedoms of traditional undergrads? There’s no easy answer, but there are ways to take the pressure off and help you balance your life with your schooling. Here are a few strategies to help you further your education without burning the candle at both ends.
The truth is, something will have to give. The trick for success, then, is choosing the right things to give up. Even though school and your family may be your chief priority, it’s easy to let your eyes slip off the prize and get distracted by things like, say, the internet. When your brain needs a break, consider changing your typical ways of distracting yourself to more positive, productive activities, like taking walks or playing a game as a family.
Make Dedicated Time for Them, and Respect It
One of the biggest challenges of juggling school and family life is not getting it all done, it’s making sure your family feels like you’re still an active part of their lives. There’s only so much time in the week to get everything done, but dedicating even the smallest amount of time for them regularly lets them know that they haven’t lost you to your new endeavor. Whether you can save a day for them on the weekends, or you can just manage 45 minutes a night to read with your kids, make sure that they have their own slot in your schedule, and that you don’t use that time for anything else that may appear on your plate.
Find a Sweet Spot
One of the easiest and most effective ways to separate school and your home life is to find a place to work that isn’t at home. This way, when you’re done working and are ready to call it a day, you can physically leave your business behind you instead of obsessing about all the things you have to do tomorrow. Separating work space and your home life should also help you to really be present when you’re at home.
Group Your Classes
One of the easiest ways to make your schedule more manageable is to lump your classes together and take them back-to-back throughout the day. Though this sounds stressful, it’s much easier than spending an entire day having to go to classes with giant breaks in the middle. Take them all in a row, and then move on with your day instead of mixing night and morning classes. A consistent schedule will keep you sane and disturb your family’s schedule the least.
If you haven’t been to school for a while, or you’re a bit nervous about starting, taking a few courses at a time instead of jumping all in can take some of the pressure off. Going part time will also help you to decide how much more (or less) you can handle on your plate, and adjust accordingly. Many schools also offer accredited online programs that allow you to complete courses at your own pace. This is a great strategy if you’re looking to ease back into academia.
Guest post contributed by Haley Coffman
Education & Tech