If you’re getting ready to go to school while working full-time, you may be wondering how other working professionals did it. Well, you’re in luck! We interviewed a few recent grads who successfully balanced work and school to find out what helped them the most. Check out their top lessons below.
A common theme that came up among the graduates we spoke with was the importance of not being afraid to reach out for help – and how doing so was one of the biggest things that enabled them to stay the course and succeed.
”First, if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to say you don’t understand something. Ask your professors, a TA (teacher assistant) or another student for help. The second way to reach out is by making connections. The relationships you build during school can become great professional connections in the future.” -Dave
Another graduate recommends speaking with an Enrollment Coach. Enrollment Coaches are an excellent resource and are there to answer your questions and provide guidance throughout your journey.
“You can ask them any questions you have and they will help guide you in the right direction. I was deciding between two programs and talking with an Enrollment Coach helped me land on the best choice for me.” -Theresa
Time management is another big factor in the success of the graduates we spoke with. While there isn’t a one-size fits all solution, after a little practice, you’ll find the schedule and time management practices that work best for you. Here are a few time management tips from recent grads.
“It was challenging at times to manage school on top of family, friends and work, but making sure I was very focused and structured when I was doing schoolwork really seemed to help. So, as much as possible, once I started work, I wouldn’t stop until I completed a task.” -Kevin
Creating an effective study schedule is a great way to manage your time. And don’t think you need huge blocks of time every day to do well.
“Even if it’s just 30 minutes here, or an hour there, it definitely helps and frees up your time a bit on the weekends.” -Theresa
It’s also helpful to not become overwhelmed with the student journey ahead.
“Think in small steps - week to week and term to term. Focusing too much on the big picture can get overwhelming, especially during stressful times with work. It’s important to take baby steps and try to keep the balance with having some time for yourself.” -Theresa
Like with any goal we’re trying to accomplish, it can be easy to start excited but lose steam along the way. To help stay motivated even when things get challenging, it’s important to always remember why you’re doing this.
“Stay patient and remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. All the hours will be worth it and will benefit you as a person at the end of the day.” -Chad
“Not everybody has the chance to go back to school. So that's definitely humbling when you're going through a stressful time, when you're complaining about school work and such things. Remember how really awesome this opportunity is!” -Theresa
Another resounding piece of advice we heard from recent grads was not to put off your dreams of going to school - to just go for it!
“I hear a lot from colleagues that they can’t imagine having to study or go back to school or do homework. I would say to that, you rise to the occasion. It’s just something that, once you jump in and you’re in it, you can do it. I wouldn’t let the fear of having to do the work and sacrificing the time hold you back because, in the end, it goes by so quickly.” -Theresa
“I saw that going back to school was a can’t lose situation, which is what pushed me over the hump to take advantage of it. There’s always going to be an excuse or reason as to why you can’t go, but you need to just go for it and figure it out along the way. Try to push the excuses to the side so you can just knock it out.” -Chad
We hope you found these lessons to be helpful and practical in equipping you to reach your professional and personal goals. If you’re ready to take Chads’ advice and take advantage of the opportunity you have, find out how to get started with your organization’s education program now. Also check out this article for additional tips on how to successfully balance it all.