As many adults who decide to go back to school often realize, it is not always an easy transition. Along with the demands of life, including work, family responsibilities, bills, and more, finding balance is critical for long-term success. Luckily, there are several ways to earn a degree while working full-time and managing your responsibilities without burning yourself out.
Here are 7 tips for working full time while earning your degree.
Tip #1 Set Realistic Goals
The first step is to set realistic goals for yourself. It’s easy to want to take on too much when you feel like you need to “catch up” with your peers or move on to the next step in your career. By setting expectations too high, however, you may experience unnecessary stress, overwhelm, and anxiety, which can lead to falling behind or worse.
Set smaller, achievable goals that will help keep you motivated without burning yourself out. Build a class schedule that flows with your other responsibilities and plan ahead to block out time for studies. These small but important details can make all the difference in achieving success.
Tip #2 Stay Organized
Organization is key when it comes to balancing work and school. While many people underestimate the power of organization as it relates to academic success, the reality is that organizing your time, materials, and assignments can increase productivity, which in turn can lead to better time management and improved grades.
Whether it’s using a planner, creating to-do lists, or breaking down assignments into smaller tasks, finding a system that works for you can prove beneficial to keep you on track.
Tip #3 Prioritize Your Time
Once you’ve set your goals and a system for staying organized, the next step is to prioritize your time wisely. Prioritizing your time can help ensure that you complete your coursework successfully and build a stronger foundation for your career advancement.
Many people find great success through various tools and strategies, including time blocking. Before the start of each week, it is a good idea to look ahead and begin planning by mapping out specific times for studying, work, and other life responsibilities. Be generous with your allotted time, and remember to carve out time to rest and recharge.
Tip # 4 Practice Self Care
As you embark on your educational journey, it’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is just as essential as your academic pursuits. Without tending to your needs, you may find yourself in a state of burnout and ineffectiveness.
Self-care involves taking a deliberate approach to your overall mental and physical well-being. It can include activities like exercise, meditation, reading, or simply taking a break to relax. With the demands of graduate school, it’s easy to forget to prioritize self-care, however, it is one of the most important things you can do to achieve success.
Tip #5 Establish Relationships With Classmates and Professors
One area that is often overlooked is the significance of building relationships with peers and professors while earning your degree. These professional connections can be pivotal in shaping your career trajectory and could potentially lead to opportunities.
Collaborating with peers from diverse backgrounds can offer new perspectives and foster a sense of community while establishing a rapport with professors could facilitate mentorship, research opportunities, and networking.
Tip #6 Utilize Resources
No matter where you are earning your degree, your school has resources available to help you be successful in your studies. Both in-person and online programs offer an abundance of support services that you can utilize as needed.
Whether you are enrolled in e-learning for a nursing degree or in person for a Masters in Social Work, you can access unique resources, such as database information, internship opportunities, field experts, and more to maximize your learning experience.
Tip #7 Enlist Accountability
Accountability is important when working toward any goal, and it is no different when you are earning a degree. Whether you enlist the support of a mentor, peer, or coach, having someone to check in with as you complete your studies can prove to be invaluable.
If it is a challenge to find someone to work with, you can find creative ways to challenge and reward yourself. Although self-accountability should be a second choice, it is possible to achieve success when properly managed.
Managing a full-time job while earning your degree may present a challenge at times, however, by implementing some or all of the above tips, you can achieve great success. In a matter of months, you will have your degree in hand and be on your way to reaching your career goals.