Have you decided to go back to school with the hopes of improving your quality of life or career? Being an adult learner and non-traditional student will come with its own set of unique challenges. However, this journey will ultimately make you a more valued and qualified member of your field. Don’t forget to keep that goal in mind when hard times come. Here is some advice from those who have gone before you.
As you prepare to go back to school, literally and figuratively make space in your life. You will need to work on your time management skills and create space in your schedule for class, studying and homework. Try to be as intentional as possible about making real adjustments that will remain stable throughout your career as a student. Also, create literal space in your home, especially if you have small children or a hectic household. Design a decluttered, secluded, quiet place for you to use during study and homework time. You will be more productive and efficient if you are able to concentrate and devote 100 percent of your attention to the task at hand.
Ask for Help
You might be used to doing everything on your own, but that doesn’t mean you should be ashamed of asking for help when you go back to school. There are staff members being paid to assist you with degree planning, finances and academics. You should never hesitate to ask these resources for the information that you need to succeed.
Connect & Network
Because you are a non-traditional student, it may be easier to live in a bubble and disengage from your academic community. You are already being pulled in many directions. But fight against this! Forming relationships with professors, advisors and other students can lead to positive outcomes. Don’t let yourself believe the lie that you are going at this alone. You will be exposed to many new people who can enrich your experience as you prepare to reenter the workforce. Plus, you never know which connections may be beneficial when it comes to networking for your dream job after graduation.
Use Your Experience
As an adult learner with life experience, you have a unique set of skills and perspectives to bring to each aspect of your degree program — use this to your advantage. Let your experience shine as you utilize learned skills to reach goals and complete tasks more efficiently.
Be self-aware of where you are as an adult learner, but do not compare yourself to the other students in your program, traditional or non-traditional. Concentrate on what you bring to the table and avoid feelings of inadequacy by realizing that you are unique as a learner and an individual.
Many college students today have characteristics that would put them into the non-traditional category, and many are adult learners. You should be proud of your decision to improve your opportunities and achieve excellence in your career. Ready to get started? Contact us at South College today!