Whether you are going back to college as a full-time or part-time student, having family and children means a whole different mindset. As a non-traditional student with children, being in school means managing your time, holding yourself accountable and setting realistic goals.
I initially attended college as a traditional student. I lived in the dorms, joined a sorority, went to mixers and ate in the cafeteria. After getting married in my junior year, I took a break from college to follow my husband across the country to various jobs. When we finally landed back in our home state and had settled down, I began to think about completing my degree. At the age of 35, I went back to school to complete my bachelor’s degree. I utilized an online degree completion program (15 months). Things were much different than when I was a traditional student. I now had to balance a full-time job, family and homework. Here are some tips to help you succeed as a college student while raising children.
1. Plan ahead. Set realistic goals for your coursework, manage your time carefully and hold yourself accountable. Now more than ever, you must be organized and at the top of your game.
2. Communicate your goals with your family. Be sure your family understands what you are doing and how important it is to you to continue your education. It is only with their support that you will succeed. I am a firm believer that education is knowledge and knowledge is power. One should never stop learning, whether it be through formal education or simply taking continuing education type course through your work.
3. Use your studies to set an example for your children.
I found it helpful to assign everyone in the house a study station. For my family, this was simply a spot at the dining room table with a lazy susan in the middle of the table with supplies such as pencils, pens, markers, calculators, rulers, etc. My children and I sat side-by-side for our studies. Granted, I studied more after they had gone to bed, but I was able to teach them good study habits and I didn’t get the “it’s not fair” response. Eveyone was doing homework. If one of the children had no homework, they had the choice to read, do brainteasers or help a sibling with their studies.
On a side note, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in August 2005. In August 2006, I was admitted to the University of South Dakota Graduate School and am currently pursuing my Masters in Administrative Studies.
Be strong – manage your time, hold yourself accountable and always make sure that your goals are realistic. You can do it!