Students learning how to balance school and work as an adult

Going back to school as an adult tends to be a bit tricky. While a traditional college student (one straight out of high school) just has to focus on school and campus life, an adult student has a lot more on their plate. Many choose to work full-time and attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings. They may also have family obligations that they need to balance as well. With so much going on, adult students need to ensure that they can take on all of their tasks without feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help find that delicate balance between school, work and life that will be critical to your success.

Practice Good Time Management Skills

Adult students need to have some good time management skills. While they shouldn't be scheduled for every minute of the day (this leads to burnout), they should have a good estimate of how much time they have to get things done and what they'll realistically be able to accomplish in that time period. From there, tasks can be broken down into steps so that something gets done every single day.

Keep Track of Your Deadlines

Organization is another key to success as an adult student. When you receive your syllabi at the beginning of the semester or quarter, go through and write it all down in a planner or on a calendar. You can even use digital tools to note when certain projects are due and when specific readings and lectures are scheduled. By staying as organized as possible, nothing will sneak up on you, and you'll have plenty of time get it all done.

Stay as Focused as Possible

Sometimes it's hard to stay focused on the task at hand. Whether things are too noisy at home or you don't have a dedicated workspace, like a home office to keep all of your books and projects in order, it might be time to find a space where you can simply focus on your work. Try the school library, where study areas can be reserved for a certain period of time, or even see if you can get some schoolwork done while on lunch during the workday. Whatever you need to do, it's time to do it.

Don't Forget About Self-Care

Self-care is important for everyone, but especially for adults who are balancing work, school and family life. Make sure to take some time out of the day for 15 minutes of silent contemplation or meditation, or to do something for yourself, such as reading for fun, crafting or any hobby you enjoy. Trying to do everything at once can lead to burnout, which then makes things worse. You can prevent this from happening with a little self-care.

Adulting isn’t easy. Adult students need family support, plenty of time management and organizational skills and more to stay on track. While it may be challenging to balance your educational goals with work and family life, it is possible. Luckily, attending a program designed for adult students, like the School of Continuing Studies at Dean College, can help you accomplish your goals.