Managing Work and School
Choosing to head back to school can be one of the most fulfilling decisions that you will ever make. However, it is often a difficult choice to make, particularly if you are working full-time or raising a family or both. If you haven’t been to school in a while, you may be worried about managing your schoolwork as well as balancing other important work-related commitments. These worries may only compound the stress and anxiety associated with returning to school after a lengthy hiatus. To help you manage your work, here are some great tips that will assist you in making the most of your time and energy.
Why Manage Work and School?
In this day and age, more and more students also work a number of hours a week in order to pay for classes and textbooks, to help support their families, or in order to meet specific life goals. In fact, more than 22% of students are full-time workers and more than 20% hold down part-time jobs while attending classes. If you are also working while attending school, you know how challenging it can be to participate in both student and work life. And without the proper management of both school and office work, you may experience some very negative side effects, including:
- poor performance at school
- poor performance at your job
However, by managing both school and work commitments, you can make the most of your time and energy and perform well in both realms.
Managing School Work
Managing schoolwork can be quite frustrating sometimes, particularly if you are continuing education after a long hiatus. Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you keep your school obligations in check:
Look For Flexibility
When enrolling in a class or degree program, look for a school that offers flexible class hours. Don’t limit yourself to traditional classroom programs that usually take place during daytime hours. Instead, look at a variety of education options, including:
- online schools (such as online colleges and online universities)
- distance learning
- night school
- weekend courses
By attending school from home or during your spare time, you will be able to manage your work much more easily.
Look into Transfer Credits
In order to limit your workload as much as possible, ask your school if it accepts transfer credits. Most schools will accept credits earned at other institutions, and even work that you did as much as ten years ago could help you to earn another credit or two towards your degree. Additionally, work experience can often be translated into course credits, so don’t be shy about asking your school if they will accept your work-related experience.
Create a Time Chart
A time chart is one of the best tools that you can make use of when you begin going back to school. This chart will take into account all of your school-related tasks, including the time you spend studying and preparing assignments. Create a time chart in your weekly planner or on your computer. Your time chart should list all the courses that you are taking and the number of hours that you spend in class.
For every hour that you spend in class, you can expect to spend two to three hours studying outside of class. This means that if you spend three hours in class a week, you will study for six hours, contributing to nine full hours of class work. Check your time chart to see if you can squeeze in these study hours.
Studying doesn’t always have to be about the amount of time you put in. You can study for hours, but if you aren’t doing it effectively, you will not learn as much as you could be. Try to study in intervals, taking frequent breaks. This will help you to absorb information better. Also, study when you learn best. If you are a night owl, study before you go to bed and not first thing in the morning when you don’t learn as well.
Managing Work Commitments
Work commitments will also play an important part in your life, particularly if you are working a full-time job. Here are some ways that you can productively manage your office commitments:
Talk to Your Employer
If you are thinking about heading back to school, be sure to speak with your employer. Most employers are very supportive when it comes to their employees’ learning and developing new skills. Talk to your employer about ways in which you can reduce your workload at the office. Or ask if you can change your work hours slightly in order to accommodate both work and school-related obligations. Perhaps you employer will let you work evenings or weekends, when you can manage office tasks more effectively.
Your work commitments should have equal priority with your school commitments. You should be sure to plan ahead for all work obligations by creating a time chart for work, too. If you think that you will need time off from work in order to attend classes, complete assignments, or write exams, ask your employer ahead of time. You may also want to provide your employer with a schedule of all your school commitments.