Many adults are using this economy to work and train for a new career. There are special considerations for working adults that the traditional student does not face. First, as adults you must be committed to the job that sustains your lifestyle. The job you currently hold supports not only you, but the family that you are raising. Second, as adults you are often faced with responsibilities in addition to a regular job. Those responsibilities revolve around a spouse, children, aging parents, and domestic duties. It can be daunting to navigate a successful path to more education. One of the best things working adults can do to balance full-time work and furthering their education is to recruit the help of their families. Every college graduation addresses the fact that no graduate reaches graduation day alone. Every graduate relies on a system of support from family, friends, co-workers, employers, and fellow students. Adult students utilize support differently than traditional students, but utilize they do!
Establish goals that are realistic. Do not plan to graduate early. Take your time even if it seems like you must rush. Over reaching goals will lead to failure. Set time aside to study after kids are in bed, or get up early if you are a morning person. Make playdates for your kids that will allow you time to read. Reading is the biggest part of a college education. Find time to discuss the topics in class with your spouse. This brings them into your education, and creates time to bond.This may be as simple as reading or reviewing literature for your class over a cup of coffee. Find small time allotments to accomplish tasks. For example, discussion questions typically only need a 2 or 3 paragraph response. Taking a lunch hour to focus on what you want to say and hand writing a response puts you ahead.
Many adults have found that online classes are the best option. While online schools were not typically thought of as credible in the past they have gained in popularity and credibility with more adults pursuing advanced degrees. For most working adults, taking online classes to obtain a degree is the most productive way to study for a new career. Many organizations offer tuition reimbursement that now includes distance learning. The most important aspect of training for a new career is to find something you enjoy that either enhances what you already do, and moves you to a new level, or brings your skills into a new career. The one thing to remember is that it is attainable and necessary in this changing work reality.