How to Adjust to Life as a Non-Traditional Student

non traditional studentIf your back-to-school shopping list included safety scissors for your grade schooler and a new laptop bag for yourself, congrats! Welcome back to school.

People of all ages know the value of an education — including yourself. Sure, the decision to register for classes while being a parent, employee, caretaker or spouse can be a little intimidating; It takes hard work and dedication every single day. But, you’ve already taken the first big step, you just need a refresher on how to get back in that saddle. You’ve got this!

Find Balance

Initially it may be overwhelming to think of juggling your personal life and school. But by taking a close look at each day and using a free online calendar to keep you on task every hour of the day, you’ll have no problem doing it all. As a bonus, use reminder alerts on your cellphone to limit your social media surfing so you can focus on study time.

Schedule Relaxation

When working on your day-to-day schedule, block out time each day for yourself. Even if it’s only a 20 minute walk with the family dog or an hour bible study group in the evening, it’s important to have time to decompress and not think about school work or responsibilities at home. Allowing a little “me time” each day recharges your internal batteries to make you more attentive during the rest of our day.

Make Friends

Guess what? You’re not the only non-traditional student heading back to classes this fall. Look around and connect with other mature students. A simple comment like, “Hello! Can you believe we’re back in a classroom?” after class can spark a friendship. They’re facing the same challenges and assignments as you. Work on building a support system both at school and home to avoid feeling isolated in your efforts.

Study Often

The old scenario of a college student living at the library behind a pile of books is outdated. Going back to school now is so much easier because you can take your studies on the go. While waiting for an oil change on your car, read a chapter on your tablet. Or when your kid’s waiting in the batter’s box for his turn at local ball game, browse notes from class to prepare for tomorrow’s quiz. Small pockets of study time add up quickly to make you feel more prepared for the next day’s tasks.

What challenges are you facing as you head back to class? Tell us in the comments below so fellow students can chime in with their experiences and advice. Remember, we’re all in this together.