Going back to school after several years of being out of school is very challenging. There is a lot to deal with, especially if you work full- or part-time and are trying to raise a family.
One of the most important things that you will have to do is set aside time to study in a quiet place where you will have few distractions. You will want to work arrangements out with the other family members in the house so they will know that during set times you will be studying in your bedroom or the den. Older children will better understand your need for quiet time to study. Making an agreement with your spouse/partner to take small children into another part of the house or get them down for bed while you study will be very helpful as well. Getting up early in the morning while everyone else is still in bed is another option for a quiet study time. Whatever time you decide to make your study time, it is important to get into a routine of studying on a regular basis.
Your study space should be well organized and well lit. Pencils, pens, paper, computer, printer, and anything else that you might need to complete your assignments should be set up and ready to go when you start your study session.
Ron Fry says in his book How to Study, “Learning to study is a really long process.” Learning proper studying techniques and setting up study plans takes a lot of work. Fry goes on to say, “Consider learning how to study a lifelong process, and be ready to modify anything you’re doing as you learn other methods.”
When you start making decisions about your study plans, you will want to consider the following things:
How long should each study session be? How much time should you allow between projects? How often should you take breaks? What is your study sequence? Hardest assignments first or easiest first?
It will help if you get a calendar that you can carry around with you. Keep all of your appointments, work schedules, class schedules, kids events, and study times marked clearly. You may even consider color-coding the information in your calendar so you’ll know at first glance what is coming up.
Consistency and sticking to a plan will help you get back into the studying mode more than anything else. Have a flexible plan but not one that is so flexible that it allows too much procrastination time. Find the way to study that works the best for you and you’ll be back into the student frame of mind before you know it.
Fry, Ron. (2005). How to Study. New York: Thompson Delmar Learning.