Getting A Master’s Degree as an Adult: My Personal Experience

Going back to school with a family is a huge adjustment. There are many things to consider before you take the plunge. Here are some of the dilemmas you may face, and how I addressed them in my own personal life.

Who will watch the children? Do you have local relatives who can help with babysitting, or a family friend you can count on? What does your husband's work schedule look like? In our situation, my husband often works until about 6 in the evening. Most of my classes start at 5pm. Class times will vary by program, and location. I have wonderful in-laws who watch our son for about an hour on the nights I have school. I also have backup, and alternate plans since most professors are very unforgiving about missed class time.

What night(s) can you attend classes? When you are going back to school after you have a family you have more schedules to balance than just your own. You will also need to consider your husband's schedule, and your children's schedule. My son plays baseball in the spring, and football in the fall. We have to coordinate schedules as a family to work it all out.

When will you fit your homework in? I try not to do homework on weekends, since that is family time. I usually sit down at the kitchen table, with my son. He does his homework, and I do mine. I am there to help him with any problems he has. I am also setting a good example, by working right next to him. Helping him build good study habits I hope will last a lifetime. I also work on my homework after he is in bed for the night.

How do you work on group projects? This can be a difficult one. I try to save my weekends for family time. With a group project, weekends are often the only time the group can get together. With all of the online capabilities available today, group projects can sometimes get completed without ever meeting in person. I completed a group project last quarter, and the group never met in person to work on the project. We e-mailed, and sent instant messages back and forth. The report was e-mailed from person to person, with everyone adding the portion they were responsible for. Then we sent the report around again, for proof reading. The last person added the finishing touches. Done!

Going back to school when you have a family can be done. It just takes a little extra effort. Full support from your family is a big bonus. Without their cooperation the experience would be a challenge.

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