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Nicole Callahan

How I Balance School and Family Time

When I made the decision to return to school, I did so for my kids. Here are a few tips to balance college and family.

Going back to school has been a challenging experience and also a rewarding one. I am a full-time student with Herzing University, currently in my last semester of the medical assisting program. Soon I will be sitting for my exam to earn credentials as a registered medical assistant.

I’m also a mother to two boys, ages 8 and 10. When I made the decision to return to school, I did so for my kids. If they are never proud of me for anything else in this world, they are proud of me for being in school. They understand how important it is that I succeed, and they are often quite the little helpers!

I also want to set an example for them. I want them to know that it is never too late and that they can do anything they set their minds to. I want them to know that anything is possible and that their goals are never too far out of reach! My kids are my inspiration.

Being a full-time student and a mother has proven to be quite the juggling act at times, but I’ve found ways to be successful with both along the way. Here are three ways you can do it, too:

1. Manage Your Time

Time management skills help me balance my schoolwork and my responsibilities at home without letting them interfere with one another. Both of my children are school age, so I do most of my work while they are in school. If I have errands to run that day, I try to do it early enough to avoid crowds and traffic, so I still have plenty of time to focus on schoolwork before my kids get home.

In the evenings, after they get home from school, it becomes family time. Between their homework, chores, playing and fighting (they are boys, after all!), they keep me quite busy. At the end of the day – after dinner, baths, and bedtime – I am able to focus on anything that I may have neglected earlier in the day or have some much needed “me time.”

2. Study Together

Sometimes my kids and I will study together, not because it’s my only time to do so, but because they enjoy helping me as much as I enjoy helping them. For instance, we will study their spelling or vocabulary words, and then they will help me by holding up my flash cards or listening to me go over a certain topic.

My oldest son, in particular, enjoys helping me study for my medical assisting courses. He asks a ton of questions, which is a good study technique for me because I am put in a position where I need to answer questions honestly and to the best of my ability—a skill that will be beneficial in real-world situations!

3. Set Aside “Me” Time

To be successful as a student, as well as a mother, there are times when it is necessary to take a break and relax. We have all heard the saying, “you must first be able to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else.” It’s true! It is perfectly okay to set aside time to just breathe. I do that about once a week when my kids are with their father. On that day, I focus on me. I rest. I relax. Within 24 hours, I am able to recharge. It really helps! By the time Monday rolls back around, I am ready to get back at it.

I am a student. I am a mother. And I am able to balance both successfully! It took patience and time to find the right “groove,” but I’ve found one that works well for us. Balancing both school and family can be difficult, but it IS possible!

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. 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.

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