Tracy Hernandez knows what it means to juggle. She has three kids, works a full-time job, and serves as president of two non-profits. She’s also a full-time student at University of Phoenix!
If anyone knows what it means to try to have it all, it might be Hernandez. But rather than feeling stressed or letting one responsibility fall off in the wake of another, she’s found ways to manage her time and keep the whole show going. We’ll look at her tips for anyone who might be planning to do the same.
Know What You’re Getting Into
Before you even sign up for a class, visit the University’s website, meet a teacher and check out the computer lab. This will give you a better sense of what college is like now. Universities have changed a lot in light of new technology, so you don’t want to make any assumptions. Once you have a better idea of the system, you’ll also know the resources to call upon when you have questions.
Communicate and Schedule
Your boss, family members and friends are all potentially affected by your decision to go back to school, so you can’t leave them out of the equation. If they know what they can and can’t expect from you, it will lessen the blow when you’re inevitably less available than you used to be. As you communicate your needs, give them the chance to do the same. Hernandez recommends working together to come up with a schedule that makes the most sense for everyone.
Apps Can Help
Calendars and project management apps have proven to be exceptionally valuable for Hernandez. You can set them up so other people can see your schedule to reduce the odds of scheduling conflicts. Trello, Google Calendar and Asana are all potential ways to streamline your workflow and stop yourself before you reach the dangerous waters of overscheduling.
Hernandez takes advantage of free time to study, but she never knows exactly when or where that elusive free time is going to pop up. She keeps her computer nearby so she can jump in on a discussion forum or take the time to respond to an email. However, this does not take the place of her regular study sessions, so she still has to leave herself enough bandwidth to tackle it all and enjoy some downtime where possible.
Pulling It Together
These tips are based on Hernandez’s journey, but each student has their own strategies that work best for them. Hernandez certainly stumbled along the way, but this was by no means a cause for concern. The most important factor is that she didn’t let barriers stop her from forging ahead.
At University of Phoenix, we always encourage trial and error for our students. We’ve seen people juggle incredible workloads while managing to thrive, so keep your larger goals in mind if you’re thinking of going back to school.
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