For many adult learners, going back to college means balancing school and a full-time job. These four strategies can help you succeed at both.
With online courses, university collaborations and more flexibility than ever before, there’s no better time to go back to school. But for many adult learners, returning to the books means balancing academics on top of a full-time job and personal life.
With a full schedule of work and school, time management is essential. After all, there are only so many hours in the day.
Maintaining a work-school balance requires some serious self-discipline, and can be mastered with planning and the right mindset.
Check out these tips for balancing work and school.
Keep your employer, professors and family well informed. It may seem impossible to keep everyone happy, but communicating the rigors of your schedule can make a big difference. For example, many employers offer flex time or work-from-home policies that make it easier to keep a work-school-life balance. Likewise, you may be able to work out a hybrid class option or online solution with your professor if your work schedule doesn’t accommodate regular class hours.
Know your limitations. Don’t sell yourself short, but recognize that as a worker and student you’ll have to learn how many obligations you can handle at once. There’s simply not enough time to do everything, and you’re bound to make mistakes if you stretch yourself too thin. Learn your capabilities, prioritize what’s important and then optimize your time so that you can give your all to both work and school.
Give yourself a break. It’s natural to have lots of energy on the first day of class, but be careful not to sprint every day until you run out of gas. Throughout the semester, regularly schedule some time to relax and refuel. Over time, fatigue can negatively affect your job and academic performance. Make sure to schedule and stick to your break time the same as you would with any other obligation.
Plan far ahead. When it comes to your education, you’re in the driver seat. If you know you’re going to be swamped with big projects at work over the coming months, schedule a lighter academic load accordingly. The further out you can plan, the easier it will be to create a suitable schedule.
Kristen Brady, M.S. Guidance and Counseling, is the Associate Director of Student Services for Herzing University – Online. Her favorite part of her job is helping students build a better life for themselves and their families. Other than helping students achieve their own, Kristen’s goals include visiting each national park throughout her lifetime. You can contact Kristen at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (866) 508-0748 ext. 66326.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.