If you work from home full-time and have young children to take care of, you might think going back to school is not an option. But that is not the case. According to WorkingMother.com, more than 60 percent of students earning a degree online are women, most of them over the age of 25. Balancing school, kids and a full-time job can be difficult, but with motivation and the right strategy, you can do it.
This should probably go without saying, but the only way this is going to work is if you manage your time properly. If you have young children, you won’t be able to devote hours at a time to your studies. There are too many distractions and kids have too many needs, and you will only wind up frustrated and unable to focus.
A great piece of advice from The Bump: Break up the work in sections. Instead of watching an hour-long lecture while the kids are nagging, watch 20 minutes and then hang with the kids for 10 minutes. Get them a snack, change a diaper and put on a new show. That can buy you another 20-30 minutes straight to watch or work. Moms can complete an hour lecture in an hour and twenty minutes by doing this, rather than it taking two hours with constant stopping and no focus at all.
Another important aspect of time management is focus. If you’re not understanding the material because you’re distracted, it does not matter how much time you set aside. One of the most difficult parts of online learning is how easy it is to shop, chat and surf instead. Use a tool like RescueTime that tracks what you are doing and enables you to block online distractions.
Seek and spend time with other student/working moms who are going through the same things. Consider sharing babysitting expenses a few nights a week so you can get work done. Having an in-person support group can really help, especially when your classmates are all online. Visit a site like CollegeOnline LLC for more tips and resources about being a successful online college student in nursing.
Don’t take on too much at once. Set realistic goals about how many classes you can juggle with the rest of your schedule. Plan your daily routine; figure out how many hours are left after work and taking care of the kids, then determine how many hours you will need to devote to each class. And do not forget budgeting time for yourself and sleeping.
No one is saying this is going to be a cake walk, but you can do it. Maintain the right attitude and put a good strategy in place, and you can get that degree for your nursing profession.