Balancing Act: How to Manage School & Career Life
Posted on January 28, 2016, By Midlothian Higher Education Center
Balancing Act: How to Manage School & Career Life
In 2016, it’s hard enough attending college without the added factor of a full-time career. Whether you are returning to school after graduation or a student working part-time, it might seem like there are just not enough hours in the day. In this blog, we walk you through the benefits of going back to school and some methods for managing the load.
Take the challenge
Going back to school or finishing a degree may seem like an afterthought when considering the feat of maintaining an already difficult work-life balance; however, the rewards, fulfillment, and self-achievement will speak for themselves. When considering whether to go back to school, consider the benefits:
- Added qualifications
Going back to college increases your qualified skill set, industry-related knowledge, and ability to move up in a company, which will ultimately help to propel your career. At many companies, this also means a higher salary.
- Visible achievement
Stand out in the workforce and display initiative to take the next step in your career advancement—higher-ups will correlate your drive and motivation as work potential.
Over anything else, going back to college proves an internal motivation that, despite your external surroundings, exhibits the ability to make your dreams become a reality.
If you are still on the fence about enrolling because the work-life-school balance seems too daunting, luckily there are ample resources available to help make the decision easier. Through the Midlothian Higher Education Center, advisors are on hand to guide you through enrolling and sorting out your class schedule. A variety of degrees ranging from dual credit, undergraduate, and graduate are all listed on the MHEC website to help you determine your education path. When learning how to deal with the balancing act here are some tips that are all you need to know in order to succeed and maintain sanity.
Plan out your schedule
Whether you’re a working student already playing the balancing act or considering to go back to school, the first thing to look into is your options. Whether that is taking night courses or shifting your work schedule, there is always a way to manage both a successful career and fulfilling education.
A planner can be a useful tool when it comes to managing your school assignments as well as work priorities. It’s important to plan ahead and prioritize what needs to be handled immediately, compared to what can be pushed to the following week. Even if it’s just planning to take an hour for lunch or squeeze in a quick jog, schedule every little thing for a specific time. Take your travel and commute time into account, set aside ample study time weeks in advance to avoid last-minute stressing, and don’t think about both work and school simultaneously—there’s a right time for everything.
If you need a more tangible reminder to stay on track, Wunderlist is an app available for iPhone and iPad that displays email reminders, drag and drop lists, prioritization, and notifications. Another useful tool is Do it (Tomorrow), the procrastinator’s best friend. This app encourages you to plan things out one day in advance, and if you don’t get it done, push the task off until tomorrow. By micro-managing your schedule you can keep yourself from getting overwhelmed or stressed out once school inevitably piles up.
Establish a support system
Many people find that asking for help isn’t always easy, or they simply are unaware of just how much support is available. Being familiar with academic advisors and support resources can help alleviate tedious coursework and cut homework time in half.
From the beginning of the semester, try to have an open dialogue with your professors. Oftentimes, they are flexible if your schedule becomes hectic and will offer support during stressful times. While your boss might not offer the same flexibility, communicate that you’re taking classes so he or she is aware of your situation. Staying in frequent communication with your professors and boss will help you feel in control of balancing both sides.
In addition, advisors can help you find the best options for class times, along with professors who will be likely to work around your schedule. When looking for the perfect program that fits your schedule, check out the resources available at the Midlothian Higher Education Center. There are also plenty of apps that can keep you on track during the semester. Noteswap and Quizlet are both websites that create ways for students to share notes from classes or review notecards with key questions to their upcoming quizzes and tests.
Without a good foundation, it is nearly impossible to build a solid structure to balance work, school, and life. To say work and school have to constantly be on a 50/50 scale is highly unrealistic, but the best thing you can do is be prepared. Tackling things in advance might just save you from falling behind. Scheduling, establishing support, and prioritizing can prevent you from having to catch up in the race.