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Surviving a degree as an adult student with a family

Updated on July 24, 2016
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Not everyone goes straight to university after finishing school for a variety of reasons, and many choose to return to education later in life. Although this can be advantageous in so much as they are more prepared for studying and have life experience behind them it can also cause extra worries and stresses of how to cope with full time studies, assignments and readings whilst caring for a family and running a home and/or with a job alongside. Here are some hints and tips that may assist any adults thinking of returning to full time education;

Ask for help if needed. Remember you are not Superman/woman, asking for help is not a weakness, in fact others will more than likely admire you for going back into education. So if you need help at home, help with the children, help with jobs/chores then ask. Just as importantly if you are unsure with your studies utilise your tutors and ask for help and guidance so you don't get yourself further behind.

Prepare as much as you can in advance. For example if you are the main cook in the house perhaps prepare meals in advance and freeze them, have the week's clothes ready on a Sunday evening to reduce last minute panics looking for stuff. Have each day's books in piles ready to pick up in the morning to take to classes. Have a folder for each subject (a different colour for each also helps) and place with that subjects books. Small preparations can lessen last minute stress.

Find a study buddy. Study buddies are invaluable when undertaking further/higher education. Someone who is in the same situation and understands is an ally and will more than likely be your saviour more than once. Also having someone studying the same topics to bounce ideas around with will aid in developing and deepening your understanding as well as being each others proof readers.

Be kind to yourself. It will more than likely be a while since you have studied so be kind to yourself if you find it difficult at first and accept you may/will make mistakes from time to time. Sometimes life will get in the way when the children are ill or you are ill or there is a birthday party to arrange and you miss some study time, that is ok, do not beat yourself up over it. Start afresh the next day with a clear head and a positive mind.

Make time for yourself and your loved ones. Your studies are important but so is your personal life and getting the balance can be hard. Try to set time aside for family and time aside for studies. For example meal times = family time, once the children are in bed then the books come out and try to set one day a week aside for yourself and your family with no academic books or studying without guilt. A day to recharge your batteries and appreciate the reasons you are trying to better yourself and your life. You don't want to run yourself into the ground and become ill.

And finally ......

Remember why you are doing it! Keep your final goal in mind at the inevitable times you will feel like quitting. You took the first big step by starting, keep your eye and mind on the reason you began and the pride you will feel when you graduate.


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