Congratulations! You’ve decided to go back to school. This important step is an investment in your future. Here are a few things to think about as you begin your studies:
Time management will matter. If you’re balancing a lot – work, family, school, life – you’re going to need some sort of system to ensure you meet all the demands you have in your life. To help with this, get yourself a calendar - preferably one that breaks down your days into time increments. Whether that calendar is paper or digital, you’ll want to make sure it is portable. To really make sure you’re on top of your game, check out a few more time management tips provided by Herzing staff found here.
Our brains are amazing things. However, when we’re stressed or have too many things going on, our brains tend to be forgetful. To help minimize the stress and not forget the little things, get yourself a notepad or start using apps on your Smartphone to make notes. That way, you’ll be able to keep track of all the minutiae: grocery lists, paper deadlines, etc. Writing down those thoughts when they pop into your head will go a long way to minimizing the stress associated with forgetfulness.
Speaking of stress…trying to balance everything can be difficult because there will be days when it will feel like you aren’t experiencing success as fast as you’d hoped. To help, identify your support network. Family? Friends? Co-workers? Supervisors? Instructors? College advisers? Identify the folks who will support and encourage you through this process, so you can tap into them when you need them. But exercise caution. The last thing you want is to have your support network believe you only reach out when you need something from them. Be sure to maintain healthy relationships by staying in touch during other times as well.
To successfully obtain your degree, you’ll need to have technical skills. Regardless if you’re on campus or online, you’ll need to be able to successfully write a paper, utilize a spreadsheet, use email and conduct research. Before you attend your first day of class, learn about the technology needed to be successful in completing specific tasks. For example, if you’re going for an accounting degree, make sure you have a strong background in spreadsheets. By familiarizing yourself ahead of time, you’ll save yourself time and frustration when completing assignments.
And finally, identify your resources. Does your school offer tutoring services? What’s available at the library? What resources can your academic adviser or the financial aid office provide? Learning about your resources early on will provide a foundation for when you need that little bit of extra help, instead of struggling to figure out what to do on your own. It’s the difference between panicking and taking immediate action – saving you a lot of time, energy and, potentially, money.
You’ve taken that important step to obtain a college degree, which will require balance, dedication and resources. Through time management, stress management and resource identification, you’ll be able to meet the additional demands of pursuing a college degree and be far more effective in your pursuit.
Jack McCallum has been with the online business department at Herzing University since 2011. When not teaching, she serves as the President/Principal Consultant for HR Balance LLC—a consulting company specializing in human resources management, organizational development, leadership coaching, and training/development. She started HR Balance LLC in 2003 after years of serving in a leadership capacity for a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations. A keynote speaker and presenter, Jack has served as an industry expert for radio and print media.