Even traditional aged students get the jitters when it comes to back to school time. So if it's been awhile since you've been in the classroom, you're certainly entitled to be a bit nervous. While going back to school as a parent with home, work or family obligations can be a bit scary, some pre-planning can help you to feel a bit more ready and confident about your new educational path.
Get Your Finances in Order
Money's tight for many of us these days. Be sure you have your financial aid in order before starting back to school. Though it is possible to find last-minute financial assistance, you'll be more likely to qualify for everything you're entitled to if you begin the process early. Whether you qualify for loans, grants or scholarships, you'll feel much better knowing the builk of your education costs are taken care of. If you could still use a little cash in your pocket, check to see if your campus has any part-time jobs for students or work-study programs, These are often convenient ways to make some money.
Schedule Regular Study Time
Your life is already very full. You may wonder how you'll ever fit time in for studying. You're a mom. You multi-task and time manage all the time. I often recommend that students with kids or other outside obligations build in some study time into their class schedule. Try to avoid scheduling courses back to back. If you leave an hour or more open between classes, you'll have the perfect uninterrupted time to head to the library or your favorite study spot on campus. It's easy to neglect studying when you're tired at the end of the day or frazzled with other obligations. Always have a textbook and notes handy. You never klnow when you may find yourself with a bit of downtime, like while waiting fot the kids to get off the bus or sitting in the doctor's office. Take advantage of small spaces of time. You'll also want to mark down blocks of study time in your daily planner or agenda. This will help you commit to setting aside the time.
Be Prepared to Take Care of Yourself
As the mom, it's your job to take care of the kids and to get everything done. But we all know you're at your best when you take time to recharge your own batteries and do something for yourself. Even if it's just a bubble bath at the end of the day, do something that gives you pleasure and allows you to relax. Especially at the beginning, when you're adjusting to your new life as a student, you'll need to be kind to yourself. Try not to pull all nighters studying or catching up on chores. You'll need your sleep in order to have the energy to tackle your very full life. Eating well and keeping up with regular doctors' appointments are important as well. Don't forget to take care of you, mom!
Recruit Help and Get the Family Ready
Enlist the help of your family and friends when it comes to adding college to your life. You don't have to do it all. Being super mom isn't going to be beneficilal to anyone in the long run. Be sure to explain to your family that you'll need their help with things around the house. Try to give them a bit of a heads up about what to expect. Tell them you will need lots of study time and give them concrete ideas of how they can help. Explain to them why getting your degree is important to you and how it will benefit everyone. Your friends will also need a little schooling on what it takes to be a college mom. They'll have to understand that you may not have as much time for doing things with them. Sometimes our friends aren't as supportive as we'd expect. If that's the case with one of your good friends, don't letit bring you down. Keep your goals in mind and let your friend know that your education is high up on the priority list right now.
These are just some tips to keep in mind when you're just starting out on your back to school journey. Please let me know if you have other questions or would like more information. Each of these topics could be a blog post of their own. I'm happy to expand upon them. Also, check out these sanity saving back to school tips from ELearners for some great advice on other ways to get ready for the school year.