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Mixing Continuing Education With a Full-Time Job

Mixing Continuing Education With a Full-Time Job

Steve Berman | LedgerLink

June 10, 2010

The alarm goes off at 5:30 am, and you could swear you went to sleep five minutes ago. First a quick shower, followed by the finishing touches on that homework assignment due tonight over coffee and breakfast — if there’s time.

Then it’s off to work, a solid eight-plus hours of time where you’re busy with reports, meetings and other assorted tasks. At the end of your workday, your coworkers are heading home to their families or to the local watering hole for a cold one. You, on the other hand, are heading to class.

Going back to school can be one of the most challenging undertakings of your life. Continuing education is different than going to school back in your youth because now you have to fit schooling around a full adult life with responsibilities like a mortgage, bills, and children. But it can be done.

Follow this advice to reach your educational goals while keeping some semblance of your sanity.

Set Your Expectations

You know going to school at the same time you’re working 40 (or more) hours per week is going to be tough. Now it’s time to get real about how tough it’s going to be. If you expect to get eight hours of sleep and three leisurely meals a day, you’re going to be very disappointed. Don’t be surprised if you have to pull some late nights studying. You can’t skip out on your work responsibilities even if you’re completely drained when that alarm clock wakes you up out of a deep slumber.

The best solution is to create a written log of how you expect to spend your time before you start your schooling. Be honest! Listing all the responsibilities in your life that you can’t afford to neglect will alert you to how much spare time you really have. This will help you figure out if combining the two is feasible and you’ll probably be more likely to avoid every student’s worst enemy: procrastination.

Know Your Goals

Don’t go back to school because you’re bored or hope you’ll be inspired to some greater heights than you can imagine right now. If you don’t have a tangible reason to learn new skills or pursue a degree, you’ll be far less likely to succeed.

Remember, school can be costly in terms of money and time. Make sure it’s worth your while. Only learn new skills for your current job if it will make you a markedly better employee, and preferably, put you in line for a promotion or raise. If you are going for a degree, have a clear plan as to how that degree is going to help your career aspirations.

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