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Things Nobody Will Tell You about Going Back to College

What you should know if you intend to return to college

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Recent times have seen more and more adults enroll for college programs. While some prefer studying online, others choose to hit the lecture halls, the fact that their classmates are way below their age notwithstanding. There are a number of reasons that could influence an individual’s decision to return to school. Whether it is because you didn’t get the chance when you were younger, or because you want a promotion and a pay rise after you graduate, the truth is that going back to college as an older student is not easy. Nobody prepares you for the burnouts and the impact your studies will have on those close to you. Aside from the lectures, assignments, group discussions, internships and tests, your boss expects you to be productive at work and your family’s emotional and financial needs still have to be met. Despite all this, people continue to forge through and miraculously manage to find a balance between school and other responsibilities. The following are things you should know if you are considering going back to school.

You need your spouse on your side

Going back to college means more responsibilities for your spouse. Though the idea of getting a degree might be exciting for both of you at first, the enthusiasm is likely to wane as you progress. This is when the for-better-for-worse vows are put to the test. Studies will take up most of your time and the role of running your home will be single-handedly shouldered by your partner. They will have to do more house chores and work even harder towards paying the bills. This is bound to overwhelm them and sadly, some marriages do not make it past this point. Support and understanding from your spouse will come in handy in paddling your marriage through these turbulent waters. Always let your partner know that you don’t take their contribution towards achieving your dreams for granted. Tell them that you will be there for them when it’s time to pursue their own dreams – and mean it.

Find a way to recover from the burnouts

Like everything else worth doing, schooling demands a lot of energy. As such, mental, physical and even emotional exhaustion is inevitable. If ignored, burnouts have been seen to take a toll on not only academic performance but also personal wellness. In addition to feeling miserable, aggression, decline in concentration and lack of motivation is likely to be observed by those close to you. All the same, there are ways through which crack-ups can be healed or avoided altogether. Proper time management, for example, goes a long way in regaining control of your life. Procrastination won’t help your cause. If anything, it leaves you with an overwhelming workload and very little time to cover it. Creating a study schedule and sticking to it is a clever way to steer clear of mental breakdown. Devising ways to let off the steam is also essential. Find what works for you. If going to the gym isn’t your thing, perhaps swimming or unwinding with music is. Also, get enough sleep. If it gets too much for you to handle, reach out to trusted friends, family, or seek the help of the school counselor.

Be in control of your personal finance

College brings with it a lot of financial obligations. Money is needed to cater for tuition, accommodation, food and even transport. Luckily, there are several options that can help ease the burden of your tuition fees. Some employers are gracious enough to finance their employees’ education. In addition, scholarships go a long way in slashing expenses. A simple internet search or a follow up with your university will reveal numerous funding opportunities. Student loans can also be a course of action. Though this means getting into debt, it will be of service to the advancement of your studies. If your schedule is flexible enough, you might want to consider finding a part-time job. One in your field of expertise would be particularly advantageous in providing extra cash and equipping you with some experience before you graduate. Budgeting is another trait everyone going back to college should adopt. Keeping your spending habits in check ensures you set aside money for emergencies and disciplines you not to use up more than you make.

Past life experiences will influence your academics

Past experiences serve the purpose of keeping you motivated and giving you a sense of direction. You might never really know the magnitude of determination and resilience that has been building up in you over the years until you are back in college. As an older student, you will find yourself incorporating lessons from previous travel, parenting, and work engagements to school situations. Though fitting in among your younger classmates might be one of your concerns, you will realize that you are in a better position to maneuver through study-related challenges than younger students without prior knowledge of how the world works. Whenever you doubt your abilities, look back and see just how far you’ve come. This will bring back to perspective the reason you decided to enroll for that college program in the first place and put you back on track.

Study hard and show up for your lectures

There is no quick fix, you have to attend classes and create time to study. It’s the reason you’re back in college anyway. The good thing is that there are strategies you can adopt to maximize your academic potential without feeling like you’re straining yourself too much. Shifting your study time to the hours you are most productive is one thing you might consider. If you are a morning person, stick to studying in the morning. You will get better results that way than if you stayed up late. However, make sure not to extend your hours too much. You don’t want to be all dizzy during the day’s lectures. An extra 30 minutes or one hour each day is fine and with time you will notice some improvement. Audio books are also effective. If multitasking is your thing, you can plug in your earphones and listen to audio books while doing other tasks. As for the lectures, sitting close to the lecturer, jotting down short notes, steering clear of distractions and asking questions can help you make the most out of each session. 

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