Going Back to School as an Adult

Today’s job market is extremely competitive.  With all of the demands being put on today’s employees, it is of paramount importance to give yourself every competitive edge possible.  With this in mind, many adults are choosing to go back to school either to beef up their qualifications within the job market, to meet the demands of a higher paying position, or meet the expectations of their current employer.

For an adult who has been out of school and in the job market for a long time, going back to school can seem daunting.  The old demands of school are not something a working professional is used to.  On top of this, there might be pressure from other areas of life such as a career, a spouse, children, and bills to pay leading to a stressful attempt at balancing an established adult life and college making the idea of going back to college as an adult seem impossible.

Ultimately, however, going back to college is a path to self-improvement and self-improvement is always an excellent choice even if you have to fight through stress, deadlines, and being stretched thin to get there.  Here are some tips that might help you fight through the stress and get through college as an adult.

Get Organized

Being organized is important in every area of your life, and school should be no different.  Make sure you have all of your school material: text books, work books, notes, etc, in one place.  By keeping all of your school things together you can be guaranteed that you will not spend any of your valuable time scrounging around for your things, and nothing will slip through the cracks or get lost causing impediments when it comes to getting work done.

Make sure to keep a very detailed calendar and make sure you look at it.  By having all of your deadlines written down you will see what is coming up on your schedule and are aware of all projects at school, work, and home.

Share Your Calendar

It is imperative to make sure everyone in your life is aware of the demands on your time.  Make sure your employer, family, friends, etc. know that you have scheduling restrictions and other things on your plate which have deadlines that need to be met.  By making everyone in your life aware of your regular schedule, it can help prevent scheduling conflicts.  Letting those close to you know what demands you have on your time and what deadlines need to be met is also a means of garnering social support.  If you have a class every Tuesday at 4, your spouse might be less likely to leave it to you to pick the kids up afterschool so you can be sure to get to your class on time.

Prioritize

When you’re juggling a lot of responsibilities, something usually ends up falling by the wayside.  By getting your priorities straight, you can make sure that the things which end up get neglected are the least important things not the most important things.  Look at your calendar, make a list of all the things that you need to get done, and then organize that list in terms of importance.  Make sure you stick to that order of importance, and don’t accomplish something from the bottom of your list when you’ve got to get a ten page paper in the following day.  Let the people close to you in on  your list of priorities.  Make sure the people in your life know what you have to get done and see if they can help you with some of the things on your list of priorities.

Manage Stress

When you’ve got a lot going on, stress is unavoidable and you’re going to have to be prepared to experience a lot of it when you make the decision to go back to school.  The key to making it through is learning to manage stress.  Everyone has different coping strategies.  Whether yours is finding time to take a break, getting out and being active, or just having a few minutes to yourself, make sure you are giving yourself time and space to do what you need to do to keep your stress at a manageable level.

Regardless of why you might find yourself going back to college as an adult, it can be a rewarding experience and lead to your personal betterment.  Don’t let the immense work load and the pressure of going back to school get to you.  Everyone can do it, and the pay off at the end is far greater than difficulty of going through the process!