Going back to school can be a drag, whether you are 13 entering your freshmen year of high school or 30 entering your first year of college. School is hard work, time consuming, and a never ending journey. Good thing your 30 something year old self can handle more right? With numerous life experiences underneath your belt lets add another “to do” on your list. College! Your job, family, and bills can take a back seat! Move back in with mom (that usually solves everything). Congratulations, you can finally live the college experience. YEAH RIGHT. That was a joke.
So how do you survive the transition between real life to student life? Its hard. Ha! You thought I was going to say easy…NOPE. Luckily, the homie is currently in school and learning as I go. What I’ve learned so far may help you to not loose your mind during the process because I’ve already lost it for you. Seriously.
It has been a roller coaster ride of break downs, crying fits, and sleepless nights. Am I 5 or 33 years old? Hmm. Regardless it can be done! This is how you survive college in your 30s.
Do your research
Before anything weigh out your pros and cons about going back to school. Make sure it is close to the right time for you embark on this journey. Your time, energy, and money will be well spent on this. Yes, I know there is no such thing as perfect timing, but there is close enough. Find what schools or programs work best with your hectic schedule. The costs and eligibility of financial aide is also important to figure out. This way you have more of an idea of what you are about to get yourself into.
Your priorities will have to change
This undoubtedly was something I struggled with in my first 2 semesters of school. Like all moms we wear the superwoman cape willingly or because we just plain have to. Everyone comes before you and you are left with the scraps. Well guess what sis, college life will override family time, your day to day responsibilities, and even your job. That light at the end of the tunnel seems pretty dim at the moment, but I promise you it will get brighter and brighter as you bang out each semester getting closer to finishing for good! I’ve learned to stay in constant communication with my kids in the hopes they don’t feel neglected. I give the this is only temporarily speech so they are aware this will end one day. I’ve also given it has to be first in order for me to succeed, go straight to college after high school so your not pulling your hair out like me, and my infamous this sucks speech. My household has been filled with motivational speeches by yours truly since entering college. Thankfully they are old enough to understand that the struggle is real being I almost have a 10 and 13 year old.
Know how to use your time wisely
I never thought in a million years (pure ignorance from my end) how time consuming being a graduate student would be. Go ahead laugh, I’m laughing with you. Time management is key and a lot of times it will feel like there is not enough hours in the day to complete all your tasks for school. Try to find a happy medium by creating a schedule for yourself. I have found doing my home work close to or at the kids bedtime works best for me. Its definitely a joggling act. Learning how to balance your time between family, work, and school is something that I still struggle with. Even something I still cry over. You feel like your being pulled in so many different directions at times I wish I can just multiple into a million different Melissa’s so I have time to do everything. By creating schedules, asking for help, and using your time wisely will help you get a better handle on things.
No matter what stick with it
Sometimes life can through you crazy curve balls to the point where you question if you can really do this. No matter what stick to the plan and don’t give up. Yes its hard, it sucks, and it may feel like the dumbest decision of your life, but you will get through this. I often question why do I want to be extra and get my Masters? My answer is simple, I want more for myself, I am smart enough, and I want my kids to see that hard work does pays off. I’m doing this for me and nobody else. When you are feeling a little down reach out to your support system. Let it out, vent, and keep it moving. You will stay on this emotional rollercoaster until you graduate. So buckle your seat belt, hold tight, and try to enjoy the ride.
You will be surprised by your own will power that you can do anything you set your mind to. You will look back at all of this and perhaps laugh, cringe alittle, and maybe even cry, but with tears of joy because you graduated with your degree. Take pride in your journey. Your education will be something no one can take away from you.