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The Balancing Act – Juggling Life, Work and School

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balancing-life-schoolCan you handle it all?

School is a priority in your life now, but work and family have always been number one. Even though you are going to school online, you still need to spend a certain amount of time doing class work and every part of your life is still just as important.

With all of the things that you have been involved in, the responsibility of school is beginning to weigh on you. It seems to be impossible for everything to co-exist. Your days are becoming a symbiotic conglomeration of events that never end. When do you get a break? Are you able to become emancipated from any of your obligations without it having a negative effect on another. According to the National Center of Education Statistics (2009), most college students are not only employed but also working a substantial number of hours.  How do you do it all?

Communication can pay off 

Make sure that your employer is aware of your responsibilities. When working and going to school, try to work a job that allows you to work hours that are reasonable. It is imperative that you communicate with your employer that you are taking classes. This can benefit you and them in the long run. Sometimes your company will make accommodations for these changes; such as not requiring overtime or holiday work. In addition, opening up these lines of communication may provide opportunities such as employee benefits and educational compensation.

[see also: Reading for Clarity in Assignments]

Weigh your options

Cut back on things that you do not need to spend as much time on. For example, if you stop at the coffee shop every morning for that quick pick-me-up, try opting for an instant brew before you leave the house. (Single serve coffees come in almost every brand and variety at your local grocery store). Try setting specific days of the week where you go shopping, do chores and even cook. Make sure you include at least the minimum amount of sleep your body needs which is between four and eight hours. If you are struggling with the shorter bursts of rest, try having a day of the week where you can catch up on lost sleep and sleep six to eight hours instead of the usual four to six.

Get help

See if any friends or family members can team up you with to “lesson your load”. You might be surprised how others you trust are willing to take on some of your responsibilities and make arrangements so that you may get in that extra few minutes of undivided time. Ask a trusted family member if they could pick the kids up after school or drop them off at sports practice. Even stay at home mothers can use extra moments of spare time.

Remember the benefits of continuing to work and the ultimate pay-off. Some things such as family gatherings and hanging out on the weekends may have to be put on hold for a while. In fact, the colleagues and staff you connect with along the way in your online classes may allow network opportunities in the future — when you finally interview for that dream job.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics. Condition of Education 2009.

By Trinita Gay
Online Learning Tips, Guest Contributor

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