When you find yourself in a situation where you need to continue to work while earning your degree, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Perhaps you need to continue working full-time in order to fund your degree in the first place. Maybe the career you have chosen is one wherein it is common for professionals to maintain their full-time jobs while earning an advanced degree. Whatever the reason may be, you should know that you are not alone and that finding the right balance between work and school is entirely possible.
The most important tip to know is that preparing properly will be your biggest help when you are about to re-enter the classroom while seeking to maintain your day job at the same time. Here are three tips that mostly pertain to preparing properly that can help you to find the best balance between work and school.
1. Choose the Right Type of Program
For most working professionals, the decision to go back to school and earn an advanced degree stems from the desire to enjoy career advancement and greater opportunities going forward. There are a variety of jobs that one can only get so far in on the merits of a bachelor’s degree alone. Advanced education equates to advanced skills and knowledge, making one an excellent candidate for promotions and professional development.
That being said, even if you know the particular degree that you need to earn for your career path, you will need to select a degree program that you enroll in wisely. Many working professionals opt to earn their advanced degrees online when such a scenario is applicable. This is because online degree programs tend to provide for a greater amount of flexibility when compared to degrees that are completed on campus.
Thankfully, working professionals in most industries have this option to consider these days. Whether you are in the business world and hoping to earn your Master of Business Administration (MBA) or if you are a registered nurse who wants to enroll in one of many types of online nursing certificate programs, earning your degree online can be a great way to balance your education with your career.
2. Find the Right Space
There are going to be times throughout your degree program that you are going to find it difficult to complete your necessary work in your job as well as your coursework. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to find the right space ahead of time that can be dedicated to your schoolwork.
You almost certainly have a place that is dedicated to your job, whether that be an office or other professional setting, and finding a place that can be dedicated to your schoolwork is just as important. Such a designated workspace can easily be created for yourself and should be done ahead of time.
Find a space at your home that can be made free of distractions like television and your housemates. This should be a place that can be made quite enough for you to focus. Invest in a quality desk and chair that you can comfortably sit at for long hours at a time. Make sure that your workspace is also equipped with proper lighting so as to avoid unnecessary strain on your eyes when you are trying to focus.
3. Find a Support Group
The challenges that you are going to face during the time that you are going to be earning your degree while working at the same time are going to be overwhelming and make you feel stretched pretty thin. It is important that at such times you have a strong support group that you can turn to when you need reassurance, assistance, or even just someone to listen.
Your close friends and family should be made aware of what you are going to be doing for the next few months or even years. By informing them about your plans, you can help them to understand that you won’t be as available for things like socializing and other pastimes for a while. Moreover, they will be able to help pick up the slack, so to speak, in other areas of your life the more aware they are of your new, hectic schedule.
Having a support group that you can turn to is also important for your mental health during this time. Stress is certainly going to come into play but having support that you can rely on will only serve to make the balancing of work and school a bit easier.