How to Balance your online School with Other Obligations
You really did it. You researched online schools, considered different financial aid options and enrolled in an online college to better yourself. Good for you! But now there are questions and concerns about getting your studies completed around other commitments. How will you schedule time for your daughter’s dance recital? Is there room in the schedule to make it to the soccer practice for your son? Will people at work begin to wonder why you seem to leave work always on time? While it is true that attending classes online will definitely eat up some of your time, it is possible to juggle work, family and your studies. It just takes some preparation and good planning.
If you currently have a full time, along with a family, online college is one of the best ways to improve your skills and help you get a better paying job. The courses taught at online schools usually mirror the classes from a campus school. Even better, the professors of online colleges are usually holding down jobs in the field for which they are teaching. This gives you some serious insight into the industry and can help better prepare you for the new work.
The ability to attend class literally night or day does not remove the necessary preparation and studying for each class. You should take some time before the semester begins to get your hands on some study guides and go over them. Having a solid plan for taking notes, keeping materials organized, and getting ready for tests can literally save you hours of wasted time.
Laying Out Your Study Area
You should designate a spot at your home that is used just for a study area. If you have a spare room this could be an ideal place to do your studying. Many people are not fortunate enough to have an extra bedroom or an office and must make other arrangements.
One simple idea is to have a corner of a room devoted to your studies. You can have your desk, along with your computer, printer and any necessary lights. It is a good idea to keep your study area away from radios, MP3 players and televisions. The fewer distractions the better. A comfortable chair that allows you to sit at the proper height for viewing your computer screen is also very important.
It is really important to keep your materials organized. Wasting time looking for a worksheet, some notes or a pen can create lots of frustration and lead to loss time. Here are a few things that you will want to keep handy when you are studying:
- Course text books
- notebook with plenty of paper
- planner or calendar
- dictionary as well as a thesaurus
Managing your time Between School and Other Obligations
There will be days when you will feel completely overwhelmed. Taking care of your duties at work, along with home, and trying to complete assignments on time can seem tough. However, as mentioned earlier, it is completely doable with a good system and plenty of organization.
Many people find that keeping a planner that has a separate page for each day is a good way to label and list out all of your obligations in one neat place.
Most people do not realize how important each minute of the day really is until all of their free time seems to be booked up. When you find that you have an extra 15 or 20 minutes you should really consider using that time to review some notes, add a comment to one of your class discussions, or read over a chapter in your text book.
For people that have children at home currently enrolled in school it is wise to study on your materials at the same time your children are studying their own work. This gives you a chance to complete your assignments and sets a strong example for the kids.
Above all else, do not neglect you. People burn out quickly when all of their time and effort is spent at the bidding of others. You need to include some time for friends, hobbies and exercise. This keeps you balanced and prevents you from quitting school.