You’ve made the decision to go back to school. You’ve bought the materials, you’ve made sure you have the time off for the classes, and you think you’re all set. There’s one thing you forgot about, though, and that’s making time to study what you have learned. There’s no need to panic, though! With the proper time management, there’s no reason you can’t balance work, school, and family and remain a happy, healthy adult!
We can all remember cramming before a big test in high school. Staying up all until the wee hours, hoping you can retain the knowledge just long enough to get a passing grade. This sort of learning may have worked in the short run, but how much of that knowledge did you retain after the class was over? You’re now working towards a new career, so you want to retain as much as you can. To paraphrase an old saying, the trick is to study smarter, not harder.
Be in the proper state of mind.
Have you tried to study while cooking dinner and watching TV? How well did that work out? If your mind is on other things, you can’t concentrate on your work. It takes a consistent effort to learn something new, so pick a time when you can put all your effort into studying.
Speaking of time …
Study at the same time every day.
The kids have to be dropped off by 7:25. The Tuesday meetings are always at 10:00. You go to lunch at 12:15. Everything else in your life is on a schedule, so put studying on there too! Once studying become a regular part of your routine, you’ll be mentally prepared and have more productive study sessions! Life is unexpected, and one day your schedule may get thrown off, but try to get back on the schedule as soon as possible. Remember why you’re doing this!
Motivation is the key.
There will be some days when the pressures of life can seem overwhelming, and you may question your decision to return to school. When this happens, remember the reason you made this choice in the first place. With your IT certification, you will gain a better career in this high demand field, be better able to provide for your family, and ultimately be happier. The race may seem long, but keep your eyes on the finish line!
Set your goals.
Obviously, the ultimate goal is getting that certification and transforming your income, but setting small daily goals will help studying become easier. Pick at least one task and tell yourself you’re going to get it done that day. Reward yourself when you complete that task. It can be as simple as eating your favorite food or watching your favorite TV show, but you’ll be surprised how well small rewards like that can motivate you.
You’re not in this alone.
The other students in your class are in the same boat as you, they want to get their certification! Study groups can be a very effective way of learning. If you’re struggling with a certain area of the program, a classmate could help you out. Conversely, if there’s an area you understand but a fellow student is having trouble, the act of teaching them can help both of you get a better a grasp. Don’t forget, as a student you always have access to our Career Service Directors for any questions you may have!
Life is a Balancing Act
Inevitably, you may have to miss a family outing or function due to your schoolwork. Don’t let this upset you or a family member. You know why you’re doing this, but perhaps they don’t. Sit down with your family and explain why these goals are important to you. Involve the rest of your family in your education by asking them for help! It could be as simple as asking them to maintain a quiet period during your study time, or helping out with household chores to give you that time. Let them know that you improving your career will help them out as well!
Work is the other main area where some students struggle to find balance. Perhaps you are looking to move to a better career within your current company. Many employers will be very supportive if their employees’ new training can help their business. Take the time to speak with your employer and see what your options are for maintaining both your work and school schedules. Keep in mind, MyComputerCareer offers many of our on-campus classes online as well.
It’s hard work, but it’s worth it!