Three Time Management Tips for Adult Students

Posted by Mendy Smith on Dec 10, 2015 8:00:00 AM

time_management_tips.jpg“Full-time grad school? Are you crazy? Why are you doing this to yourself?” my friends would ask. When I decided to enter a Master’s program, it was impulsive: I needed a career change and wanted a new challenge. I jumped right in to it, dragging along my family, my job, and a full calendar of music lessons, PTO events, etc.!I found out that my class schedule was roughly equivalent to adding on a new part-time job. That’s a big commitment and it required me to learn some quick lessons in time management!

Tip 1: You can’t say ‘yes’ to something new, without saying ‘no’ to something old.

I had to figure out my priorities and plan my time accordingly. I knew that my family was #1 and wasn’t willing to sacrifice our most special times together. Because of our financial situation, my job had to come next. But most of my other responsibilities were negotiable. I eagerly ditched the PTO and some other volunteer work I had been guilted into accepting – it was great to have an excuse! I also willingly abbreviated my house-cleaning routines to only the most essential things and enlisted my family’s help with the rest – again, the excuse was terrific! 

Tip 2: Take time to be refreshed.

It is really easy to become burned out when you go back to school as an adult. Everything always seems more important than taking time for yourself. But I found out that the things I called “me time” were empty– mindlessly watching TV, culling through social media sites with no real purpose. They didn’t really bring me any sense of renewal afterward. When I became more aware of how rare and valuable my “me time” was, I learned to mindfully seek out activities that refresh or “hit my reset button” like taking a walk or a bubble bath.

Tip 3: Any time can become study time.

The more often I could multi-task my time, the more time I had for something else. I carried my textbooks, notebooks, and syllabi with me everywhere! I read chapters in the school pick-up line and reviewed my notes during basketball practices. I mentally drafted research strategies during staff meetings. Anytime I had the opportunity to apply my classwork to a problem or situation at my job, I jumped at it so I could justify using part of my work day on schoolwork.

It was tricky making everything in my life fit together, but whenever anyone asked me “why grad school?” I couldn’t help but grin and respond with “Because I love it!” The learning and the growing, proving to myself that I could succeed at that level - it was exciting and stimulating! And so completely worthwhile!

Written by Mendy Smith

Mendy Smith is the Instructional Design Coordinator for AGS and works with ENC’s academic departments to write and revise the curriculum for AGS programs. She believes that providing educational opportunities for working adults is the most exciting and rewarding thing any college could do and is honored to be part of that at ENC.

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