Higher Education

Juggling the Responsibilities of School, Work, and Family

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Most information on the web about finding a work-life balance teaches you great strategies on how to balance your career and your home life. Yet, just as it gets more challenging to balance when a professional juggler adds more balls to the mix, the same is true for an adult who decides to incorporate a new element of their lives – like going back to school.

In order to elevate professionally, financially, and sometimes emotionally, it is necessary to go back to school. You can build on existing skills or learn a whole new set of skills that can be used to find a new job or even start a business. The only problem is, just like working and raising a family takes a great deal of sacrifice and responsibilities, so does going to school.

If you don’t create an effective plan to balance the three you could find yourself feeling overwhelmed physically and emotionally. You’re either spending so much time in work and with your family that you fail in school or you’re too focused on your studies that your work performance and family life suffer. It is at this point that some people give up on their dreams, experience tension and strain in their relationships, feel bad about missing quality time with their children, and start turning to drugs or alcohol to cope, which turns into an addiction that can only be treated by getting drug treatment.

Mastering Home, Work, and School

Don’t let the above information discourage you from going back to school to accomplish your dreams. As long as you make an effective plan you can successfully master it all. Below are some tips on how to do this.

Do Some Research on Schooling Options

The great thing about going back to school these days is that there are so many options available to you. You can choose to go full or part-time and there are certain degrees that can be earned online which might be best if you have a busy home life and a full-time job. Do some serious research to determine which school would best suit your professional and personal needs.

Don’t Overload Yourself

Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t be so quick to finish school that you take on more coursework than you can handle. This only reduces your time and adds a lot of pressure to your plate. It would be better to take two classes each semester and finish in four years without the stress than taking four to six classes and failing the first year.

Talk to Your Family

After you’ve decided on the best path to take, call a family meeting. Talk with your spouse and children about what you’re about to do and why. Explain that this will mean that you’ll be around a bit less, but that it is for the best. Then, allow them to express their feelings and concerns so that everyone is on the same page.

Adjust Your Schedule

If you have a family routine or schedule, make adjustments to accommodate for your schooling and study time. This way things run smoothly and there are no scheduling conflicts.

Enlist Help

Now is the time to call on your friends and family members to help you out. They can take some of the load off your shoulders, especially when it comes to caring for the kids. Perhaps your parents volunteer to watch them on the weekends so you can study, catch up on household chores, or spend time with your significant other. Your friend might not mind picking them up from karate classes or cheerleading practice while you’re in school.

You can also look for help outside of your friends and family. For instance, it may be ideal to hire a professional cleaning service. They can keep the house up to par for you coming once or twice a week to take care of major chores.

Lots of adults reach a point in their lives where they realize that going back to school is the key to getting them to the lives they want to have. However, they hesitate to pursue their dreams because they have more important responsibilities like families and jobs. Don’t let this discourage you in the least. It won’t be without bumps in the road but there are ways to obtain a degree while working and raising a family. Simply use the above-mentioned advice to make the juggling act easier to manage.

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Danuta Smoluk is a teacher with over three decades of experience teaching both children and adults. She specializes in teaching the Polish language to English-speakers. She has a master's degree in primary and early childhood education from WSP Słupsk (currently Pomeranian University in Słupsk) and had her degree validated by University of Toronto. Aside from education, she also has an interest in real estate and home improvement. She has planned and supervised many house renovations. She loves interior design, cooking, and gardening.

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