Attending college can be very difficult and stressful, especially for he non- traditional student. If you have kids, college can quickly become overwhelming if you are not prepared. I began college over ten years after leaving high school, by which time I already had four children. This was not any easy task, but here are some pointers I picked up along the way that makes life easier.
Make a schedule.
Everything needs to be written down and scheduled around other obligations. A family calendar is a good place to do this. All classes, appointments, work hours, and other events need to be recorded here for every family member. This makes it easier to plan your day, as well as to remind you of important dates. Consult this before scheduling anything so that you do not have two places to be at the same time!
Making a detailed schedule for school days is also a good idea. Plan not only for class times, but also for transportation, meals, study time, and time with your kids. This way you know you will have time to do everything that needs to be done. Most importantly, remember to be flexible. Even the best thought out schedule will occasionally hit a snag; so don’t let that stress you out more. Just adjust your plans accordingly, and do the best you can.
No more procrastination! Leaving assignments until the last minute may have worked in high school, but you cannot count on it to anymore. When you have kids, you should always expect the unexpected, so plan on being interrupted frequently while studying or doing homework. Try to plan to study after the kids are in bed, or when they will not be home. Start all assignments as soon as you receive them, and be sure to note due dates on your calendar. This will ensure that you are not staying up all night completing a paper or studying for a final.
Don’t leave meals until the last minute either. Plan to prepare quick, easy meals on the days that you have class, or any other time that you are going to be rushed. Make sure you have everything you need so that you do not have to add in a trip to the grocery store. Try to do all your shopping on free days, and pick up any extras that might come up on your way home from class.
Take care of yourself.
While sleep may seem to take up a lot of your precious time, be sure that you do get plenty of rest. If you are constantly missing sleep in favor of other obligations, you will quickly become run down. This hurts you more than allowing yourself that little bit of extra sleep in the first place. If you are tired and stressed out, you will not do you best in school or in any other area of your life. Similarly, you need to make sure that you take the time to eat healthy, nutritious meals.
There are many other things that can help you in your college days, but these are the things that I have found through my experience to be most helpful to a parent. Sadly, no one told me these things when I went back to school, so I had to learn them the hard way. I am living proof, however, that it can be done, no matter how daunting the idea may seem. Parents can successfully attend school and still raise a family. It may mean a little more work on your part, but it will all be worth it in the end.