Tips for balancing life and work as an adult nontraditional student are important for adult learners because they often take years off before going back to school. Getting back into the swing of things can be hard, especially if you have work commitments and a family at home that needs you. Finding the right balance can help you find time for everything you need to do and everyone in your life.
Break Tasks Down
When you get your first syllabus, you might feel shocked at the amount of work expected of you in the coming semester. If you break things down into smaller steps, you’ll find that you can easily accomplish all those tasks. For example, instead of doing research at the library, writing a paper and editing it the night before it’s due, you can stop by the library each day to find one new resource and write smaller sections of that paper each week.
Create a Schedule in Advance
Working full time and going to school full time can seem almost impossible, but when you set a schedule in advance, you’ll find time for all the things you need to do. Get a large calendar that you set up in a central area of your home like next to the front door or in the kitchen. Write down all the assignments and work that you need to do for school as well as any work projects. Your kids can add their own information to help you keep track of games, plays and even doctors’ appointments.
Use Different Materials
One of the top tips for balancing life and work as an adult nontraditional student is to use different materials in your classes. Instead of just taking notes as your professor lectures, try recording that lecture on video or audio tapes. You can then go back over that material later and when you have more time to clarify any problems you might have. Some colleges that cater to adult learners even require that professors put video copies of their lectures online.
Do a Weekly Review
Many adult learners think that they need to do everything at once, which leads to them neglecting their kids and their spouses. While you should take steps to do all your homework every night, you shouldn’t focus so much on school that you forget about your family. Do your homework before the due date and set it aside in a safe place. The night before it’s due, you can sit down and do a quick review that will keep the material fresh in your mind. Doing a weekly review also lets you do work in advance when you have more time and still remember the old information you studied.
Work with Your Family
Finding a work and life balance for adult students is much easier when their families help out. Now is the time to talk to your kids about doing some of the chores and tasks that you usually do around the house. Older kids can take care of cooking on some nights, and younger kids can handle the clean up. Your spouse and teen kids can help out with driving the younger kids to school. Maria Shriver recommends that you talk with your family about the changes that will come and how they can help you before enrolling in college.
Achieving an adult student life and work balance might seem impossible at first, but it’s something that many students can handle well. Using some basic tips for balancing life and work as an adult nontraditional student can help you make the transition.
Additional resource: 50 Best Colleges for Adult Education 2017-2018