Working towards a college degree is a trying process, no matter how old you are. But adult learners face significantly more challenges than children and teens because they have several commitments that require their attention, such as a full-time job, community involvement, family, and household chores.
Nevertheless, pursuing a degree is a worthwhile endeavor because it has the potential to change your life and advance your career. With some planning and discipline as an adult learner, you can achieve your academic goals online without sacrificing job performance, family or personal time.
Assess Your Responsibilities as an Adult Learner
Adult learners have unique responsibilities compared to the traditional college-aged student. Prior to signing up for classes, take a good look at your schedule and all of the responsibilities on your plate. Taking all of your work and home responsibilities into consideration, map out your weekly schedule, so you can get a clear idea of which days you’re the busiest and when you have time to devote to your studies.
Take Advantage of Flexible Course Scheduling
Many learning programs that cater to adult learners offer online classes, allowing you to fit schoolwork around your busy lifestyle. Just don’t take more courses than you can handle. Leave some wiggle room in your schedule, so you’ll be capable of addressing any unexpected events that arise. If you work more than 20 to 30 hours a week, enrolling in a full-time degree program isn’t recommended because your schedule could become overwhelming very quickly.
Make a Schedule
Use a planner or calendar, so you can stay organized. Take note of your course schedule, assignments, deadlines, meetings, study time, and other responsibilities, so you can manage your time more efficiently and keep track of everything that you need to get done.
Communicate with Your Loved Ones
Tell your loved ones about the courses you plan to take. Get them used to the idea that school will become a priority in your life, so they can learn to respect your boundaries. Many adult learners find that their friends and family serve as a support network while they are in school. Set up regular meetings with your family members, so you can discuss issues, make changes to your schedule, and share your feelings.
Get a good night’s sleep, exercise on a regular basis, drink plenty of water, and eat well, so you can maintain optimal health and keep stress at bay. If you make an effort to stay healthy throughout your online degree program, you will likely be more focused in class, perform better on tests and exams, and have enough energy to enjoy quality time with your friends and loved ones.
Adult learners don’t have it easy, but a little bit of organization, planning, and communication can go a long way. Take a close look at your schedule and commitments, so you can take on a manageable course load that allows you to achieve your academic goals without overwhelming you or causing you too much extra stress.