Going back to school after a while can be a daunting task by itself. When you top that onto the fact that you have children who are also entering school, things can get extremely stressful.
While the situation at hand may seem too difficult to overcome, keep in mind that a little stress can be productive and can improve your efforts. That is if you keep things in check and don't get overwhelmed.
Here are 10 tips that will help adults going back to school.
Tips for Adults Going Back to School
When everything in your life gets lumped into one huge pile of stress, it can continue growing and roll out of control. It's only when you separate everything, name the individual parts, and make a plan that you can begin to break down what's ahead of you.
Use these ten tips as ways to break down that giant ball of trouble you see rolling your way, turning it into an exceptional opportunity.
1. Make a List of What Needs to Be Done
Make sure that you have everything on your mind down on paper. You've got a laundry list of things for your child to do, as well as the same size list for your own tasks. If you don't write everything down, you're going to forget something.
It's wise to do this well in advance so you have time to make space in your schedule to run errands and cross items off. You can list these things however you want, but there's a way you can make things a lot easier.
Try making two lists--one for you and one for your kids. Rank these lists by importance, then compile them both into a master list that has all of your tasks, ranked by importance.
2. Keep Your Reasons in Mind
There's no chance that you're going to take your child out of school. There is, however, a chance that you decide to drop yourself out. While there are times when dropping out is a reasonable option, this should be the last thing you decide to do.
Make a list of your reasons for staying in school and keep them in the back of your mind. School can get boring, dry, and tedious. It can also be exciting, fulfilling, and meaningful. You're going to get both if you decide to go back.
In those dull times, it may seem like you are spending tuition money for nothing, and your life would be a lot easier if you didn't have to go to class, complete homework, and balance a million things all at once. Keep the end goal in mind, you'll be a lot more likely to stick it out.
3. Plan Out Your Daily Schedule
Slacking a little bit and hitting the snooze button is fine when you don't have a million things on your plate. Now, however, you have a little more responsibility than you did before. Those morning hours are going to be essential to keeping up with your schoolwork.
It'll be essential that you have a daily plan to stick to, carving out time to do homework, help your kids, and get sleep to do it all over the next day.
4. Know Your Resources
You aren't going to be the only person in your situation. The university knows this too and has systems in place that will help you navigate your situation. Student services will help you immensely in your journey, and they tend to help you understand that you're being too hard on yourself.
5. Make it Easy on Yourself
There are often a bunch of prerequisites that you need to check off before you enter school. These things typically take an hour or two and can be easily taken care of.
That being said, it's easy to use that as an excuse to leave those tasks until later. Get everything done as soon as possible to avoid having a stressful week or two before classes start. Contact a counselor to help you tick all those boxes before they tick you.
6. Get Federal Aid
You may think that you're on your own as an adult, but there are options that you can use to significantly help you financially. Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, has no age limit and is relatively easy to sign up for.
7. Know What You Can Get Away With
Senioritis has multiple causes, but one is certainly the fact that as you progress through college, you realize that the fervor you had as a freshman was unnecessary.
It's important to get good grades and stay on top of your homework. The thing is, you can still succeed if you miss an assignment or two. Your child's schoolwork will have to take priority at times, and you don't want to sacrifice their success for your own.
Read the syllabi, know what your assignments are worth, and remember that sometimes you might get a B or C and that’s OK too.
8. Get Involved
You don't have to feel isolated in your classes. Look into one of the many campus activities and make some connections. Networking skills are half the value of a college degree.
If you're worried about the workload, try taking part-time classes at first. You don't have to jump into college and alter rest of your life. Try taking one or two classes the first semester to see how much you can handle. You can take some of your prerequisite courses online and at your own pace. This will allow you to get back in the swing of college and save money.
10. Prepare Your Mind
You're going to be doing a lot of reading when you start school. Not all of it is fun reading, so you may be in for a bit of a shock at first. Try reading a few books before you start school, taking notes just as you would if you were reading a textbook.
This will get you into the practice of reading to learn, not necessarily to enjoy.
It's understandable to be worried before you get started in school. Adults going back to school typically feel that way.
If you're still concerned about managing everything, we have more information for you.