Sometimes to stand a chance at securing a high paying job, we have to go back to school…...yeah, I don’t like the sound of that either. Especially as a parent with commitments and responsibilities both at home and at work. There already aren’t enough hours in the day to split between the spouse, kids and work. But again, nothing good comes easy. We know that we must make that sacrifice in the hopes of having a better tomorrow. So how do we manage the added responsibilities of studying and doing homework without sacrificing quality family time or giving up work (after all, we need to earn an income for sustenance and to pay tuition)?

Here are a few pointers that can help:

Firstly, you must know your goals and stay true to yourself while achieving them. Determine for yourself if you are the type to get through your studies as quickly as possible, or if you are the slow and steady type. Draw up a schedule that is realistic for you and stick to it.

Also, learn to prioritize. You may not be able to make it to every dinner party or partake in every family gathering as you already are swamped with a lot of responsibilities. As much as you would like to be, you are NOT super human!

Learn to make sacrifices. These sacrifices may not always be avoiding social gatherings; you may also need to make some financial sacrifices. Your work hours may need to be reduced during this period which may mean a pay cut, but it will free up your schedule a bit to enable you accommodate these extra work load from school. The idea is that you do not want to be overwhelmed with all these tasks otherwise your health might be negatively affected.

Furthermore, do not procrastinate. Take advantage of every free time you get to study. If you delay studying until the last minute, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Make index cards and take them with you for quick references. Study during your commute, while waiting for classes to start and even during break. Your studying could be in the form of productive interactions with your classmates. Time is precious! Don’t waste it on frivolous things.

Above all, take care of your health. Take regular breaks and get enough rest. Do something fun and relaxing with family and friends or even by yourself. If you start becoming irritable, lose interest in studies or work and need energy drinks or caffeine to stay awake, then you may be burned out. Look out for red flags and act immediately.

The decision to go back to school is never an easy one, but it’s always worth it. Remember, if others can do it, then so can you. Stay focused and positive always.

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