What to Expect When Returning to School
Ready to return to college to get your degree? Adult Education online will help you graduate!
Having a degree only seems to become more important as the days go on. For many adults already established in their careers, as well as many working a job while dreaming of something more, earning a degree means hitting the books after years – sometimes decades – of non-academic work.
This adjustment can be a bit of a culture-shock for returning students, even if you opt for the much easier, cheaper, and more accessible online courses, you still have to come to grips with the schedule demands, study habits, and test-taking skills that are probably more than a little rusty after years of disuse.
Honest talk about being an adult student:
Obstacles You’ll Face
The adult returning to school shouldn’t feel discouraged, though – everyone faces setbacks and struggles when attending college. As we all know, things are easier said than done. No one thinks going back to school is going to be a breeze, but some of the finer points of the world of academia might still have escaped you.
Once you’ve made the decision to return to school, you’ll have to prepare yourself for the assorted challenges and obstacles that you’ll face. It’s all a matter of being prepared for what’s ahead and knowing how to handle what comes your way.
Organization – The Key to Success
Having things in order will be the one thing that will save you during stressful times. It is important for you to be able to find notes, assignments, project descriptions, and other important information. Set up your system with dividers or folders designated for each class, sub-divided to contain your syllabus, course documents, lecture notes, study notes, assignments, and anything else you might deem necessary.
Prepare all this ahead of time so that, as you get the important documents, you’ll know right away when to get them. If you wait until you already have a stack of paperwork (or a backlog of documents on your computer desktop), it can easily become overwhelming and stressful. As for note-taking, research, and other online college matters, there are some great organizing tools and techniques online to help you complete your degree
Study Time – Making the Commitment
Be prepared to devote good time to your classes; if they’re worth your money, then they’re well worth your attention and time, so be honest with yourself when planning. For online courses, you get the benefit of not having to attend lectures, but it makes your study time infinitely more valuable.
You will most likely have to be creative about your study time. In addition to carving out a few solid hours to study, put some Mozart on your iPod and carry a book or two for studying while out and about. Make flash cards you can flip through when waiting in lines – think outside the box and you’ll find that there are many simple ways for you to study throughout the day and improve your understanding of the material.
Projects and Assignments – Finding the Time
Study time is not necessarily the same as homework, which you will have to complete. Often, there is at least one – but can be several – projects over the course of a class. These projects are bigger and require not only a good deal of time, but some foresight and decent planning. If you need help with project management or any other portion of your projects, there are resources online to make the process much easier and more understandable.
As always, though, simply breaking projects into smaller pieces will alleviate the stress of completing a larger task. As soon as you are notified of the project, set to work dividing it into smaller portions. Reward yourself for small milestones and keep good track of your progress. Each small step brings you closer to your overall goal, so feel proud – you’re well on your way to your degree!
Asking for Help
By far the hardest part of being a returning student is admitting that you’re going to need help. Adult learners are especially guilty of this, as most of them are accustomed to taking care of themselves and might feel reluctant to show any “weakness” by expressing that they really need help. The truth is, it’s okay to ask for help, and odds are you’re going to need it if you’re balancing all your usual responsibilities with your college courses.
Admitting that you need help, even just to yourself, is a step in the right direction and will help you complete your goal. Even if all they can do to help is take up one extra chore or pick up the kids from school a few times a week, the assistance will help significantly. Include children in this; having kids play a larger role in family chores and household matters is a great way to teach responsibility and help them understand the importance of an education. By working together, you make this an achievement of the entire family, which will make it all the more meaningful when you complete your degree; it will become something that your entire family can be proud to have participated in.
Going back to school is a wonderful way to improve your education, career, and lifestyle. It can boost pride as well as income, and will open new possibilities and opportunities to you. It will not be an easy road, but by preparing yourself in advance, you can make it entirely manageable – people are completing their degrees online each and every day, and there’s no reason at all that you can’t be one of them.
Ready to go back to school? Adult Education will fit your busy lifestyle!