Going Back to School as a Single Parent

Single Parent

Being a single parent comes with so many challenges. The weight of your responsibilities can be overwhelming, and it’s often difficult to find time to meet your own needs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you are only human and that taking time for yourself can actually renew your spirit, providing you a more positive mindset to care for your children. Among the most stressful aspects of single parenting today is financial worry. You know that getting a degree or certificate can go far to improving your income, but you may not think you can fit one more thing on your already overflowing plate. You may be surprised to know that adult students are actually some of the most prepared due to the life experience they already hold. In addition, pursuing an education is something you can do for yourself, as well as your family. You’re likely to gain a great deal of self-fulfillment in learning new information, engaging online with fellow students and working toward a goal. Read on to learn how you can successfully balance going back to school as a single parent with your current responsibilities.

Gather a Support Network

While taking classes is a very fulfilling activity, there’s no denying that it can be stressful to find time for studying and meeting course requirements. That’s why it’s crucial that you identify and communicate with the people in your life who can most support you. It may be family, friends or even your children. Yes, your kids will need to know that they are expected to help you to do well in school, just like you help them. Kids can help by sitting down with you to do homework together, being patient while you are busy with classwork and pitching in around the house. They will feel a sense of pride in being able to assist you, in addition to receiving the message that education is important. Members of your adult support network can provide childcare during the most hectic times of the semester, give a listening ear and be understanding when you aren’t as available as you may have been in the past.

Get Serious About Time Management

Even with online classes that are flexible, you’ll need to block out some additional time in your schedule. A good practice is to actually write in your agenda or make a note in your online calendar the times you set aside for studying and class obligations. Doing this will make it a routine and help you, along with your family members, to know when it’s time to get to work on academics. This routine will become a habit that soon just becomes a normal, expected part of your everyday life.

Back To School

Hone Your Communication Skills

Going back to school as a single parent will require you to communicate with the people in your life more than ever before. As mentioned, your kids and support network will need to understand why your education is so important to you and what you need from them in order to be successful. If you are working, you’ll also need to communicate regularly with your employer. Let them know that you are taking college classes, but that you have made arrangements to ensure your work performance doesn’t suffer. Once you demonstrate that this is true, your supervisor will likely be understanding should a situation arise in which you may need to adjust your schedule to meet academic needs. You’ll also want to always stay in communication with your instructors. They know their students have children and responsibilities. They will likely be open to extending an assignment deadline or accommodating you in some other way if a family issue comes up. However, you have to be sure to let them know as soon as possible.

Take Care of Yourself

While it’s so easy to neglect your needs when you’re a single parent, please don’t. You’ll need to be healthy, well-rested and emotionally strong in order to maintain your incredibly busy schedule. It definitely can be done, but not attending to your own needs will actually make a difficult job even more so. Get regular, adequate sleep. Eat healthy foods that nourish your body. Make time for fun. Being intentional in your efforts to care for yourself will pay off tremendously with a more positive outlook, clearer mind and renewed energy.

These are just a few ideas to help you see that going back to school as a single parent is possible when you have a plan. Contact us at Brighton College to learn ways our representatives, advisers and support staff can help to make your college experience happen.

How to Go Back to School While Working Full-Time

Back to School While Working

The choice to go back to college as a full-time working adult can be a challenging one. Your life is probably already incredibly busy with career, family and personal obligations. You may think that attending college is an impossibility. However, there is likely a reason for considering higher education, and that reason may be strong enough to propel you to give it a try. Obtaining your degree is possible. Follow these tips for advice on going back to school while working full-time.

Build Time Into Your Schedule

Fitting education into your jam-packed life requires creativity, dedication and willpower. You will need to be more mindful of how you spend your time in order to make it work, but one of the best ways to do that is to build school time strategically into your current schedule. Look for ways to carve out time for study and class time. Some people listen to audio textbooks while commuting to work. It’s also a good idea to choose a regular study time and to let your family know that you are not to be disturbed. Another possibility may be to study outside of the home. Make efforts to use your time efficiently and create a routine so that school and study time become part of your daily routine.

Set Goals, but Be Flexible

Setting short-term and long-term goals can help you to stay focused and keep the end desire in mind. Losing track of why you are going back to school while working full-time can lead to giving up. Keeping your goals in clear view pushes you to keep going, while adding short-term goals holds you accountable and makes the process seem less overwhelming. You do have to be flexible, however. Know that a big project or unexpected life event can shake up your routine or take you off-course for a bit. Just remind yourself to get back on track when things even out. Always keep the lines of communication open with your professors. They’re usually willing to work with you during hectic times.

Have a Support System 

Back to School

Enlisting help from the important people in all areas of your life is crucial to your success. You may need your family to take up more of the responsibilities at home, your boss to allow you some flexibility at work and your friends to understand that you won’t be as available to do things with them. School personnel such as your academic adviser can be a tremendous support, as well. Communicating with everyone and letting them know how they can help is crucial when it comes to obtaining their support. It may take time to get everyone on the same page, and there may also be some resentment about your new pursuits. When everyone is aware of your needs, they will be more willing to help you in any way possible.

To learn more about ways to go back to school while working full-time, contact Brighton College to find out about flexible distance learning options that may work for you.