Going back to school as an adult can be a rewarding experience, but it isn’t always easy. You have more responsibilities and less time than when you were a teenager or in your early twenties and so you have to learn to organise your time better. If you can’t manage to balance your work and school schedules you will end up stressed out and the chances are your school work will suffer as will your family life. You may find yourself in a position where you feel that you may as well just abandon your studies.
Start with the finish in mind
To avoid reaching this point it is important to start as you mean to go on. You need to assess how much time actually you have available to study so that you can choose an appropriate course. Clearly, you are going to struggle to find the time to do everything if you opt to study full time when you already work 40 hours a day. If you choose a course that requires you to turn up for lectures and seminars during the day you will miss out on student life and, more importantly, you won’t be getting the information needed to complete essays and coursework.
Choose enjoyable courses
It is also worth picking a course that you think you will enjoy, because you will find it much less of a challenge to motivate yourself to study when you’re actually interested in the course material. It might be tempting to pick a subject that you think will lead to a job that pays well, but if you have no interest in it you will probably find that you don’t achieve what you’re capable of. If you find the subject boring you will be less inclined to pick up a book and read when you could just switch on the television instead.
Anticipate conflicts with work
It can be tough to balance your work and school schedules, especially if you have the kind of job which requires you to bring work home. If you know that there will be weeks when you’re going to be busier at work than usual you may want to start reading ahead and preparing for your essays in advance. It is better to get a little bit ahead than to find yourself falling behind, because once you’re behind with your studies it becomes harder to catch up. If you fall too far behind you may be tempted to give up altogether.
Communicate with the tutor
If you know that you have an assignment due, but no chance of getting it on time it might be a good idea to contact your tutor, so that you can ask for an extension. Obviously, this isn’t ideal, as you may be penalised when it comes to your marks, but it is better than receiving no marks at all. Hopefully you can avoid this situation, though, if you are able to dedicate as many hours as you need to keep up with your studies and don’t get distracted.