4 Tips for Working Parents Going Back to School
If you’ve made the decision to go back to school while also working and being a parent, you’re not alone. It can be frightening and stressful, but you can do it. Here’s a quick look at a few tips that can help you on your way.
You might be going back to school to finish up your electrical engineering degree for yourself or maybe you’re going to get your teaching degree for your children. Whatever the reason or degree, it’s a lofty goal that’s well worth reaching. You’ll also be showing your kids by example that education and making sure to finish what you begin is important. It will also teach them to persevere when the going gets tough. Remember that, whatever your goal is, reaching it will be worth it in more ways than you know.
Accept What Can’t be Changed
Most working parents are already overworked between their jobs and their home life. Going back for your degree will only make things more hectic. There are things you’ll need to accept in all of this, too. One thing that you need to realize is that you’re not like those 18-year olds just entering the adult world… unless they’re also working parents. The good thing is that, more and more these days, colleges are being populated by increasingly older students. Even though it might feel as if you’re alone, you won’t be.
Another issue might be with finances. Even if you’re able to make your tuition payments, unexpected things happen. When it comes to this issue, most institutions have financial advisors on hand who’re able to help struggling parents navigate any obstacles to build a workable plan.
Make the Most of Your Strengths
Being a working parent and a student simultaneously might feel as if it’s the most difficult decision in the universe (or the worst). However, there are a few ways that being a parent can make you stronger as a student. You need to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are. Being older as a student can assist with putting things into perspective. Your experiences in life can contribute to your work academically. Parents also tend to be strong at skills such as staying focused and multitasking. What are some of the other strengths you might have?
Prepare and Plan
One of the keys to surviving as a working student/parent happens to also be a key to being a parent. Planning. This includes knowing how to plan and manage your time. For example, you wouldn’t take your kids to the park right before it closes or without band-aids and snacks packed along, would you? Preparing yourself for achieving your degree is essentially the same. With so much going on, you need to plan for every exigency and every minute of your day. You should also learn quite quickly how to separate the space and time you devote to your family from the space and time you devote to work and school. Make the most of your time. This works for nearly every program and student. If you get an hour for lunch at work or ride the bus to work or school, use that time to decompress and study.
Finally, remember that while this is a daunting task you’re setting for yourself, it’s more than worth it. You want your kids to go to college and if you finish your degree, you’ll be better able to pay for their education. Remember that you’ll also be showing them exactly what can be accomplished along the way.