How are you going to manage your new college schedule?

Choosing to continue your education as an adult by registering to take undergraduate or graduate level courses at an accredited college or university is a decision that can reward you for years, perhaps decades.  However, to succeed at school, work and home you’re going to have to find ways to juggle your new schedule.

A good first start you can take is to understand that your schedule has changed, become fuller and richer.  However, there are still 24 hours in a day.  This means that you’ll have to sit down and take a good look at your schedule, familiarize yourself with the activities that take up your time and expend your energy.  So, how do you accomplish this?  To start, you can:

  • Create a time budget, similar to how you would create a financial budget
  • Categorize the major areas of your life (e.g. play, work, school, worship, meditation, rest)
  • List the amount or percentage of time you spend performing activities (e.g. swimming, working on projects, studying, sleeping) under each category

Review your list and ask yourself if you can delegate any of the activities to your children, spouse or significant other, a colleague, person at the worship center you attend, etc.  Highlight activities you can perform once a week or once a month while you’re going after your undergraduate or graduate degree.  For example, if you volunteer once a week at a recreation center as a fitness instructor you could change your schedule so you volunteer once a month, allowing you to free up more time.

More Help for Adult Students Managing College Courses

Additionally, as you complete school assignments and study for quizzes and examinations, think about:

  • Contacting your academic advisor and requesting a tutor.  Even if you’re smart a whip, working with a tutor might help you to discover new ways of learning, methods that can save you time and effort.
  • Enrolling your children in an on-campus childcare center if the accredited college or university you attend has one.
  • Creating a study schedule so you’re studying for classes one to two nights a week rather than five days a week.  For example, you could study on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., leaving you time to relax and enjoy yourself before you go to bed.
  • Studying and completing college or university assignments on different days of the week so you don’t start to feel overwhelmed with school work because you’re focusing on school for four or more hours a day.

Building a “to-do” list and sticking to it so you don’t spend days cramming your schedule with activities that find you feeling exhausted or burned out by the end of the week is another step you can take to juggle family, work and college.  For example, for one day you could list that you’re going to meditate for 10 minutes after you wake, exercise for 30 minutes before you eat breakfast, focus on work, spend one uninterrupted hour with your children, work in your garden or do something fun you love and spend two hours completing course assignments.  If you resist the temptations to get a head start on the next day’s activities or to work twice as hard as you’d planned, you’ll settle into a manageable pace.

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