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life + work + parenthood + COMMUNITY

  • Writer's pictureNana Barratt

Thinking About Going Back to School?

Updated: Feb 8

Photo Courtesy of Wix

You may be thinking about going back to school. Whether it's taking your GED, night courses at your local college, or going back full-time, that dream of wearing a cap and gown at your graduation can come true! Here are 4 things to think about before going back to school:

1. Evaluate your situation

You've been thinking about studying for a while now and you're sure you want to do it, but are you ready for that extra commitment? Some other questions to consider: Will the course(s) you want to take help build your skills and achieve your goals?, Will it support your career growth?, Where do you want to study?, Does the school have a good reputation?, Is the school far away from home?, Will you have time for self-care, hobbies, and spending time with friends and family? Try to make a realistic schedule for these things before starting your studies.

2. Action plan

We also know there are more pressing issues you could encounter during your studies. By this point, you might already know if you need to work or not, and you might even need to work extra hours. Don't panic! Evaluate your time and financial situation using an app, excel sheet, or another tracking document. For example, what time will you allocate to studying, spending time with family, doing daily tasks, and your hobbies? Filter this into group study and going to classes too.

3. Study plan

You've revaluated your situation and sorted through the fine details, but what about your plan while studying? Some people work best having a planner or notebook with a time graph to organize their activities, work and tasks. However, some prefer a general journal or diary to allocate dates and deadlines rather than time spent. This could be using an app, a calendar or a physical book, but you might also work better remembering things and working on your own time without a plan. Put these thoughts into your studies too.

4. Self-care

While it's important to take care of your family, you need to prioritize yourself first. Many mature students feel anxious about going back to school, but there are many ways to improve your self-care throughout this journey. Does the school have any mentoring programs, such as office hours with a lecturer, or special educational needs support? Do they allow for late submissions for assignments, retakes for exams? (Because we know life sometimes gets in the way!)

Deanna (or "Nana Barratt") is an MA Creative and Media Enterprises graduate from the University of Warwick. She previously studied Popular Music, but decided to take a different career path into writing. She now writes about music, the TV and film industry, and East-Asian culture, and gives student advice and lifestyle tips.

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