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Balancing School and Life — Mission Possible?

When considering school, it's easy to talk yourself into "I'm already too busy" or "It will take too much time." Don't miss the opportunity to get involved in the field you desire by making excuses. It is possible to balance school and life! Follow the tips below and begin your journey to a bright future.
Create a Schedule

In order to maintain balance between school and life, you need to set a game plan. Block out time for the non-flexible parts of your day, such as work, school, and commuting. Plan the flexible blocks of time into family, homework, and "open." Once a schedule is in place, look for ways to multitask within the schedule or to delegate when possible. Don't forget to build time for the things you enjoy such as exercising or simply hanging out with friends. These things will help you feel less stressed, and you will be able to enjoy them guilt-free. By managing your time, you will not have to worry about schedule overload or trying to do everything at once.

Establish a support system

Whether you are a non-traditional student or going to school right out of high school, higher education is a commitment. Even the best of students find new challenges present themselves when it comes to attending school and keeping up with daily routines. If you have a support system in place by way of parents, friends, your spouse, and even your employer, you will find most of the challenges you encounter can be overcome. When you decide to go to school, sit down with the people in your support system and share your goals, uncertainties, and doubts. Prepare them for helping you in a bind and to help to keep you motivated along the way.

Tell your boss

Many students go to school and have full-time jobs. Let your employer know your plan for your education and that it may require a bit of flexibility. You may be surprised to find that your boss has ideas to help, especially if part or all of your studies are applicable to your current job. Working and going to school is not impossible. Having support from your workplace can make a huge difference in your success in both arenas.

Set goals

When you are signing up for classes, realize that it is going to take time. Most schools can help you to map out your academic plan. Be reasonable when determining how much you can take on at a time. It's easier to take smaller, defined steps toward something than to work toward one overwhelming goal. It is important to not take on too much in the beginning and find yourself burnt out half way to your final goal. Know the requirements of your program, and set the course for a realistic completion date. Put specifics (and specific dates) on paper. Celebrating small steps along the way will help you stay motivated and focused on your final goal.

If help is available — take it

If you are undertaking a new educational path plus juggling work, home, and other activities, try not to fall into the trap of attempting to do it all. Every student faces unique challenges that deserve unique attention. Explore your campus for support services — you'll be surprised how many centers, offices, staff, and resources are dedicated to helping students overcome challenges. With proper support, you'll make the most of your time and efforts and will avoid wasting valuable time and energy.

Focus and trust in your plan

If you have taken the time to create a schedule, stick to it. When you're studying, keep your mind on studying. When you're with your kids, try not to be distracted by your long to-do list. And if you take an evening off, enjoy it. Naturally, things will happen that you need to adjust your time accordingly, but avoid the urge to change things haphazardly, which will leave you feeling distracted and off balance. If you've allotted time for something, give it the attention it deserves, and do not feel guilty about setting aside other things.

Everyone faces struggles in balancing school and life. Try to keep things in perspective, and realize that what may be a struggle now will have a great impact and benefit on your future.

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