How to Balance Your Life When Going Back to School

Mother studying with childrenIt’s important to manage your time since school isn’t your only priority

It may surprise you to hear that one of the most challenging things about going back to school is not the courses or workload—it’s trying to fit your education into your already busy schedule. With work commitments, family and other personal demands on your time, it’s easy to think that you’ll never find the time to add school into the mix. However, with some planning and prioritizing, going back to school is easier than ever thanks to the wide variety of online education options. Schools like Notre Dame College Online combine the value of traditional education with the added benefits that are possible through online education. The convenience, flexibility and affordability of online learning are ideal for the nontraditional student who wants to continue their education and advance their career. We’ve put together a list of tips for how to balance your life while going back to school.

Stay on schedule

The first and most important adjustment you should make when you go back to school is to set up a schedule that works for both you and your family. Set aside a specific time every day to complete coursework or to study. Not only will this ensure that you stay on track with your workload, but it will also make it easy for your family to keep track of when you are studying. Whether it happens in the morning before work or in the evening before bed, set aside time that is specifically for your coursework. You can work at home or head to a coffee shop, for one hour or a few. Making time in your schedule for studying every day ensures that your education becomes a priority.

Keep work and school separate

The second key to successfully going back to school is creating a boundary between work and school. This means that you don’t study or complete coursework when you should be working. Another way to think of it is to treat school as a part-time job. Your school schedule and your work schedule should be kept as separate as possible, just as would be the case if you were working two jobs.

Get a support system

Let your friends and family know that your schedule is about to change. If they know you are going back to school, the people in your life can be a great support system. Whether that means your spouse helps out more around the house or your friends check in with you about how things are going, knowing that you have the encouragement of your friends and family can make all the difference in terms of educational success.

Study something you enjoy

If you are interested in your field of study, you are more likely to genuinely enjoy learning more about it. This not only makes you want to devote more time to your degree program, but it also makes balancing life and school less of a challenge. Choosing to study something that you are invested in and passionate about is key to academic and professional success.

Use your resources

Instructors, academic advisors and your classmates are all good sources of advice if you are looking for additional support. Whether you are struggling with course content or just confused about a particular assignment, do not hesitate to reach out and ask for help. There is no expectation that you need to do everything on your own. The interactive nature of online education guarantees that there are always resources available for you when you need them, from email to live chats.

Remember the goal

While you work to balance your life and education, keep in mind why it’s all worth it. Everyone has their own reasons for going back to school, from career advancement to financial benefits. Whatever your personal reason might be, remember why you chose to continue your education and keep your ultimate goals in sight. If they matter to you, your goals are the best way to keep yourself on track. Additionally, by continuing your education, you are likely becoming a role model for the people in your life. Your children and family members will recognize the value you are placing on education and self-improvement, and this sends a powerful message.

Notre Dame College (NDC) is ready to help you meet your goals as you go back to school. We use online tools that enhance courses to make them more engaging and effective for the nontraditional student. To find out more information about our flexible and affordable online degree programs, visit our Online Programs page.