Going Back To School While Working Full Time

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In some organisations, an employee who gets additional educational qualification stands a great chance of being promoted. 

For many people, going back to school while working is impossible. They quickly explain that the demands of their job and that of their families are stressing them out already, leaving no room for additional responsibility.

Experts admit that it is a tough proposition for an individual to further his or her education while working, but considering that some organisations are quick to reward additional qualification with a pay rise or promotion, it is something that ought to be considered.

According to experts, even people who are not ‘bothered’ about whether they get promoted or not, need to keep ‘further education’ in view because they risk becoming redundant as time goes by. When that happens, there is the likelihood that they will find themselves without a job and without enough qualification to get a new job in a fast-changing world with equally fast-changing employment requirements.

Although experts admit that juggling the demands of a job and that of school can be overwhelming, they say it can be made easy.

Steve Berman of www.monstercollege.com suggests the following:

Set your expectations

You know that going to school while you’re working 40 (or more) hours per week is going to be tough. Now, it is time to get real about how tough it is going to be. If you expect to get eight hours of sleep and three leisurely meals a day, you’re going to be very disappointed. Don’t be surprised if you have to pull some late nights studying. You can’t skip out on your work responsibilities even if you’re completely drained when that alarm clock wakes you up out of a deep slumber.

The best solution is to create a written log of how you expect to spend your time before you start your schooling. Be honest! Listing all the responsibilities in your life that you can’t afford to neglect will alert you to how much spare time you really have. This will help you figure out if combining the two is feasible and you’ll probably be more likely to avoid every student’s worst enemy: procrastination.

Know your goals

Don’t go back to school because you are bored or hope you’ll be inspired to some greater heights than you can imagine right now. If you don’t have a tangible reason to learn new skills or pursue a degree, you’ll be far less likely to succeed.

Remember, school can be costly in terms of moneyand time. Make sure it is worth your while. Only learn new skills for your current job if it will make you a markedly better employee, and preferably, put you in line for a promotion or raise. If you are going for a degree, have a clear plan as to how that degree is going to help your career aspirations.

Treat school like it’s your job

Many people are tempted by online schools because they think the curriculum will be easier than traditional in-the-classroom schooling, like the difference between an open-book or closed-book test. Wrong. As online schools become more mainstream, their reputations are at stake. As a result, the curriculum at online universities and colleges can actually be more intensive than what you’re used to.

If the way you attend class is at home via your computer, treat it like any other kind of school. Give yourself a private area to study where loved ones or the TV can’t distract you. And if you’re attending classes after work in an actual classroom, don’t be tempted to skip out because of an unforeseen distraction. It’s really true that a large part of success is showing up. Miss one class and it’ll be easier to miss another.

Get help

You can’t make your friends go to work for you, and you definitely shouldn’t copy anybody else’s homework. Still, it is almost impossible — and definitely foolhardy — to work a full-time job and go to school at the same time without any help. Let people you trust know that you’re going to need some support.

Whether it’s a relative picking up your daughter from school or your spouse taking over dinner duties, it’s extremely important to accept help when offered, and to ask for it when needed. One person can only handle so much, and your true friends and loved ones should be happy to help as long as they aren’t being taken advantage of. Reward them with small tokens of appreciation and remember to thank them after you’ve reached your educational goals.

And finally, remember that you can do it. You can work hard during the day and still have the ability to focus on your schooling at night. It won’t be easy, but the payoff can be tremendous. Just make sure to understand what exactly it is you’re working toward, focus on time management and build a solid support system you can lean on when times (and classroom assignments) get tough. If you can do those things, continuing education is an investment in yourself that’s sure to pay off.

Learn to cope with stress

According to experts, there is virtually no way an individual can avoid stress when combining work and school. Consequently, they advise people who are juggling the two to learn to accept the stress that comes with it.

“School and work and projects and tests and friends and family will ensure your life will always be slightly crazy. So the sooner you embrace your new, wild schedule, the less it will gnaw at you,” writes health coach, Laura Bloor on her blog, www.tenaciouslee.com. “What helped me the most was to stop thinking about the grades. Again, this was another trick I learned at the end of the semester.”

She says when the results for that semester were released, she discovered that she did better in the final tests, the ones she didn’t care whether she performed well in.

Written by: Simon Ejembi

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