From Wedding Bells to Books: Going Back to School After the Honeymoon
Next week I’ll be picking up my MBA program after a three-month break from classes. In the grand scheme of things, 90 days is nothing compared to going back to school after 15, 10, or even two years. But no matter how long the lapse is, it takes work to re-train your brain to do schoolwork.
The benefit of online classes, not to mention the monthly start dates at American Military University, is being able to work at your own pace. Maybe it’s your busy season at work or you have a family vacation planned. In my case, I was in the final planning stage of my wedding and wanted to focus on that rather than writing a research paper. (Thank you and yes, it was a wonderful day).
For almost a year, I was enrolled in one eight-week course after another. I was accustomed to my study schedule and knew when I had time for a night out with friends or one in front of the TV. For the past three months, however, I was designing wedding programs and putting together seating charts. I’m just over a month into married life and now that I’m back into a somewhat normal routine, I have the time to recommit to my program. Having the time isn’t the same as being mentally prepared, however, so I’m sharing my plan for easing back into my program:
- Pick a start date that’s right for you. I chose to wait an entire month after my wedding and honeymoon. I didn’t want to jump right into class without giving myself time to enjoy a) being married and b) not have to do anything for a few weeks.
- Select a class you feel passionate about. I’m getting my MBA with a concentration in Marketing, which happens to be the field in which I work. Rather than choosing a finance-heavy course, I registered for a marketing class because it will go over concepts I’m already familiar with.
- Remind your family/friends about your class. Whether you have kids, a spouse, or roommates at home, it’s a good idea to remind people that you can’t be interrupted. Setting the tone for your schedule will not only help them stay out of your hair but also help to keep you on track.
- Clear off the table. I study either on the couch or at my dining room table but right now, and that table is full of wedding gifts and leftover invitations. Cleaning up your study zone in advance will make it easier to dive into your course materials on day one.
- Set your DVR. I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and my favorite shows have been known to come between me and my studying. By setting my DVR (or planning weekend events in advance), you can come up with a realistic schedule and reward yourself with hours of Property Brothers when you submit a paper.
Now I want to hear from other students. What’s the longest hiatus you’ve taken and how did you prepare yourself to start another class?
By Madeline Roberts
Online Learning Tips Contributor