There is a lot of stress that comes with being a student once one has children, is employed or married – it goes without saying that it’s not as easy to juggle the various commitments and duties as compared to being a student with little or no responsibilities. The journey certainly presents many obstacles, whether married or single the support system and various levels of intensity of the programme being studied will vary, but here are a few tips that can help make the process a smoother one.
Routine – it won’t be easy to stick to this religiously at first but it adds a level of security when you have young kids. Having a weekly to-do list will ensure that you cover as many of your tasks as you possibly can, share responsibilities and chores with those around you, and don’t try to do everything on your own.
Plan and prepare – cook meals in advance, freeze some of your meals if needs be, and keep weekday meals simple, this includes lunches for work and school as well as clothes that will be worn throughout the week. Talk to your family and friends – do your best to prepare those closest to you about your availability. Let them know when you’re stressed, but make time to listen to them too and keep the lines of communication open. It is equally important that you communicate with your employer and team at work as well.
Be where you are – focus on one thing at a time and dedicate your body and mind to one task at a time, if it’s date night with your significant other, focus solely on that.
Have some fun – go out; be it for a walk, to the beach, play a board game, build a puzzle, paint. Rest – do nothing that involves school or work on some days and just spend time with yourself – it’s all about balancing things out.
Prioritize your time – learn to say “no”, work ahead, don’t procrastinate, limit your distractions and things that waste your time, but also break huge tasks into smaller more manageable ones. This will help you maintain focus and avoid panic.
Reward yourself – set goals and milestones and celebrate them, give yourself a bit of a treat, it could be a massage or a slice of cake or anything you like, maybe a new pair of shoes.
Get creative – find ways to sneak in a few minutes of studying here and there e.g. if you’re sitting in a queue or on a bus it may be a good time to sneak in a few pages of reading. Get your kids involved, do homework, and study together if you can, quiz each other on work already covered. You’re not a robot, and even if you were, they’re not perfect and do burn out, watch out for signs of stress like anxiety and short temperedness and learn to ask for help.
Find a balance between the various roles you play as an individual is critical to your all-round success. Give it your all, maintain your self-discipline, self-motivation, persevere, and follow your dream. Remember that it will all be over soon and it will be worth it. Chat to your lecturers and tutors and make use of platforms such as student portals offered by institutions such as IQ Academy.