5 Tips for Getting Through College and Staying Sane
Going back to school to pursue your academic goals can be both exciting and invigorating. But, while the start of a new semester may provide fresh motivation, finding the time to study and complete your assignments can become stressful if you don’t make school one of your top priorities.
Balancing academics in addition to work and familial obligations is not without its challenges, but luckily there are a few steps that you can take to stay motivated and engaged in your studies all semester long:
- Embrace the change. Adding a full-time course load to your already busy life is going to require you to make some changes, but with some planning you won’t have to introduce any extra stress into your daily routine. Be honest with yourself about what you can realistically handle, and understand that dedicating yourself to your studies may mean putting some things on the backburner while you’re in school. Know that by pursuing your education, you are making an important investment in your future, and while it may require some shuffling of priorities and commitments in the short term, earning your degree is a career move that will pay off in the long run.
- Know your learning style. If it’s been a while since you set foot in the classroom, you may have some anxiety about how well you will adapt to a learning environment. Not everyone learns the same way, and it’s important to investigate which strategies work well for you. For example, if you’re a visual learner, it may be helpful to sit in the front of the classroom so that you have greater opportunities to see the board and participate during class. If you’re more of a hands-on learner, consider reaching out to your instructors for additional exercises that you can complete on your own to solidify your understanding of course material.
- Leverage what you already know. If you’re going back to school to advance your career, then you already have some real-world insights that you can apply to your academic studies. Consider how the material that you’re learning relates to experiences that you’ve had on the job, and how you can use your new knowledge to make changes in the future. Even if you’re pursuing a degree outside of your current industry, you’ve likely gained valuable project management, time management, and communication skills through your past work experiences--all of which will serve you well as a college student.
- Leave time for yourself. No matter how busy you are, find time to unwind and relax with family and friends. Research shows that taking regular breaks actually improves focus, and allows your brain to retain information and make connections. Pursuing your hobbies and interests outside the classroom will not only help you feel more fulfilled, you’ll also be more motivated and productive during the time you dedicate to your studies.
- Remember why you’re there. There will likely be days where you feel overwhelmed or discouraged, but it’s important not to give up. Think about why you are pursuing your education, whether it’s to better your own future or your family’s or both, and visualize the satisfaction and confidence that you will feel when you receive your diploma.
By taking additional steps to plan for changes to your schedule, and by being proactive about managing your stress, you’re well on your way to a productive and successful semester. For more ideas on how to make the most of your semester, check out some more of our college tips!