One viewer kindly asked me for advice as regard to going back to college while working full-time. He described to me his current situation so I could answer better. Please find below my six really helpful tips for you if you can relate, and for him.
- Plan each day because each minute counts: you say you work 38 hours per week from 830am to 430pm, then you have classes from 7pm to 9pm, and on Saturdays they are from 10 am to 2pm. Thus, make a list of all the tasks you are going to do each day on top of studying: calling the insurance, doing grocery shopping, cleaning the flat, calling this friend and so on. It will save time and the next day you will not even have to thing about what to do next.
- Keep your final goal in mind but focus on the intermediate steps: the important thing is not to get overwhelmed by the length of your training; personally, it took me 4 years to get my lawyer diploma and you tell me that your training will last 5 years. Life is short and sweet and deserves to be celebrated. Cherish each intermediate steps along the way, like getting a good grade. Remember to be happy and enjoy life, even if you are studying at the moment, because it is ever so precious.
- Be flexible yet strong as regard to the other people within your class as they may not be the same age: I was 33 years old when I went back to college and was surrounded by 23-year-olds. This was so enjoyable and fun as I made the choice to adjust and adapt to it. However, for some reason I spent one year in a very competitive and stern environment, during my second year of masters. I felt very lonely this whole year. Be prepared for this possibility while keeping in mind that each year can bring new students and therefore be different.
- You tell me that you are not very well surrounded as regard to link-minded people who go back to college or have the will to overcome a personal change in their life. This point is critical as you need to be surrounded by inspiring and positive people. It can entail letting go of people who do not serve you and you may experience a period of loneliness as a result. Do not let it put you down. You will eventually attract the right people if you stay focused on changing your life one class/course at a time. It is very brave to go back to college. You deserve people who lift you up, who you admire and who inspire you to keep going. Personally, I chose to distance myself from people who chose to always behave as victims of circumstances. In doing so, I made room for new people to enter my life. Hence, I attracted two fellow students, both mothers as well. We shared tips, advice and laughter along the way. One of them is now a lawyer and the other one has become a judge. It is very well-known that together we are stronger.
- Exercise, exercise and exercise. Even if it is 10 minutes a day, let’s not skip that one because it makes our brain more oxygenated and better functioning. Make the most of the Internet by watching (and doing) exercise videos. I personally exercise daily at home, thanks to yoga videos, because I want to save valuable time.
- You say: “The most difficult thing is loneliness“. As regard to friends and socializing, I totally get it that you cannot enjoy your friends more than two hours a week. My friend, this is good. When I went back to college, I only saw my best friends every six months. Let’s keep in mind that studying is temporary. It is alright to have seasons within our life. Sometimes we can socialize more and other times we prioritize our career by going after a new diploma. Moreover, you may find helpful contacts by using the intranet set up by your university. Generally, the Internet can provide platforms to share between like-minded people. Even if this is not “real life”, it can still be motivating friendship during these special studying years.
I wish you the best. You can be so proud of yourself for having taken the decision to go back to college while working full-time. I honor you and acknowledge how amazing you are.