Tips to Balancing a Family, Full Time Career and School
Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Marissa Krause
You’ve decided to pursue your dream of earning a bachelor’s or advanced college degree. The research is going well, but the reality of balancing your home life, work and school is quickly becoming a vivid fear. Keeping that many balls in the air is a tricky prospect, even if you only work part-time or are a stay-at-home mom. Stop putting your dreams on hold by exploring the flexible world of online education and learning some tips and tricks to keep the rest of your non-collegiate life in balance.
“Flexibility” is only one of the many benefits online learning has to offer. As times are changing and women in leadership are becoming more familiar, numbers of busy moms, employed professionals and others are seeking a degree online. Here are few more advantages of earning your degree outside the classroom:
Here’s a typical scenario many working parents face when pursuing a degree through a traditional campus-based university. You’ve dropped off the kids, now it’s time to head to your part-time job. Your workday is finished so you jump into the car, rush across town and attend two classes. It’s back to work for a few hours before picking up the kids, fixing dinner, quality time, baths and study time for several hours before getting an inadequate night’s sleep. Attending class online eliminates this scenario by allowing you to study, take exams and write papers where and when you want.
The tuition and fees to attend an online university is generally lower than their campus-based counterparts. Aside from this, you’re also saving money on the commute and unnecessary textbook fees, as many universities allow students to download learning materials at no additional costs.
It’s been mentioned before, but the flexibility that online colleges provide students is worth mentioning again. Imagine being able to take a test on a Tuesday at 9 pm in a quiet house after the kids are asleep or the ability to study while you’re on an airplane or at the hotel during a business trip. All these scenarios, and so many more, are possible when you attend an online university.
Programs and Courses
The majority of traditional, campus-based college doesn’t have the space to offer a wide variety of classes and degrees. Research the hundreds of accredited online universities and you’ll be amazed at the number of single classes, programs and degrees offered. Many students are not only pursuing a bachelor’s degree, they’re also finding it convenient to earn a master’s, MBA or Ph.D. on their own terms and schedule.
Managing Work and School
Whether you’re attending an online or campus-based university, finding a balance between work and school is a challenge. The most effective way to keep from losing your sanity is to incorporate the phrase “part-time” into your vocabulary. It’s up to you to determine if this means becoming a part-time student or part-time worker. If it’s economically feasible and you’re able to keep your current job and benefits, consider dropping down to part-time status at work. It will take longer to earn your degree part-time, but for many it’s an unavoidable choice. Speak to your employer, spouse and academic advisor to determine the best option for you.
Set Realistic Goals
Don’t walk into your first day of college expecting to complete your degree in 2 years. Also, don’t take on extra responsibilities at work to prove to your boss, and yourself, that attending college won’t affect your career. Set realistic goals for yourself at home, on the job and in the classroom. Remember: it’s not the end of the world if your house is a little messy or you can only take one class per semester. Don’t overextend yourself and learn your limitations.
Get Your Kids Involved
It’s possible, and feasible, to create less stress by becoming a part-time student or part-time worker. However, it’s impossible to become a part-time parent, and for many seeking a degree the biggest source of stress and guilt is the impact on their children. The most effective way to keep everyone happy is to get your children involved in your education. Designate a certain time of the day, such as after dinner, as family study time. Encourage your spouse to become involved by helping both you and your children with homework. Set an example for your children by practicing good study habits and in turn receiving amazing grades. It will encourage and inspire them to follow their own academic dreams.
Find Time for Fun
All work and no play make a busy student and parent a stressed-out disaster. Instead of devoting your weekends solely to laundry or catching up on school work, have some fun with your family and friends. Enter a bowling tournament, bake cupcakes or play a few rounds of golf. The key to finding balance between school, work and family is incorporating a little fun into the equation.
Take care of yourself while attempting to balance work, school and family. The stress of achieving your dreams of a college degree can be overwhelming at times. Close your eyes, breathe and remember the destination is well worth the journey and women business leaders are now a successful part of our decade.
This guest post article was written and provided by Marissa Krause who is a stay at home mom, entrepreneur and has received her Masters of Science in leadership degree.