Back To CourseCollege Success
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Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.
Jim is struggling. He's got a lot on his plate: he works full-time, has a wife and two daughters and is taking online classes for his degree. He's feeling overwhelmed with all his responsibilities.
Jim isn't alone. It's common for students to struggle to find a way to balance their school responsibilities with those they might have at work or at home. Balancing work, family and school isn't an easy thing to do, but there are some things that Jim can do to make it more manageable. To help Jim out, let's look at how Jim can utilize his support system and how he can set up schedules, routines and plans to make balancing all his responsibilities easier.
So, Jim's struggling to balance school, work and family. That's not an uncommon problem, and if you're like Jim, you probably understand that it can sometimes feel like you're out there all alone trying to get everything done.
But that's not true. Everyone has a support system, or a network of people who offer help when you need it. Some people have larger and stronger support systems, and some people have only one or two people, but learning to tap into your support system is a powerful way to manage all your responsibilities.
There are many different types of people in a person's support system. Often, it starts with family, friends and others who are willing to help. For example, when Jim's wife is working and he is in school, his parents babysit their daughters.
Family and friends are the base for a support system since often they are there and willing to help already. But there are other things that Jim and students like him can do to build a support system.
Like other students, Jim needs to do schoolwork when he's at home. This includes studying and logging into his online classroom, as well as other school assignments. But when his daughters are at home, they want to play with their daddy! Jim can explain that he's doing something that will ultimately help everyone in the family and set up 'do not disturb' times when they leave him alone to work on schoolwork. He can even have them make him a 'do not disturb' sign to hang on his bedroom door when he's working, so they know to leave him alone at that time.
Though Jim still has to do his job, he's found that his boss is understanding that he's balancing many things. When Jim lets his boss know that he can't work overtime the week of midterms, for example, his boss says, 'That's okay.' Letting your boss know that you're in school is not only a good idea for building a support system, but it can also lead to your boss thinking about how to move you up in the company once you're finished with your degree.
Colleges offer support to their students, though many students aren't aware of all the resources they have access to. Jim's advisor is a good person to add to his support system, but there are other places he can go for help, too. For example, like many schools, Jim's has a writing center that includes people to help him write his papers, and a career center, to help him find employment if he wants to move beyond his current job.
As we've said, there are many, many students who are struggling to balance school, work and family. Talking to others who are in the same boat can give Jim ideas about how to get everything done, as well as offer him a sympathetic ear. He can find people like him in his classes, in online forums or on campus.
Wow! Jim didn't realize how much of a support system he has. That makes him feel better! But he's still struggling to get everything done. It seems like his to-do list is long, and he can never make headway.
Schedules, routines and plans can help Jim and others like him get organized and find time for everything. By scheduling study time every day, for example, Jim can make sure that he's making headway in his classes. He doesn't need to put aside hours and hours every day. Even just 30 minutes a day can help him stay on track.
In addition, Jim will want to get everyone on a regular routine. This is especially important for children, who thrive under routines. For example, Jim can schedule his 'do not disturb' time for the same time every day, so that his daughters can anticipate that it's coming and not be surprised or anxious when Jim says he needs some time to work on his schoolwork.
Finally, Jim will want to keep work, family and school time separate. When he's at work, for example, he won't want to study, and when he's with his daughters, he'll want to avoid focusing on work. By being present and giving all his attention to what he's doing at that moment, Jim can help himself and everyone around him feel like he's doing a good job of balancing all the different aspects of his life.
Balancing work, family and school can be difficult. Building a support system, or network of people willing to help, is crucial. As part of a support system, busy students should get kids on board, inform their boss that they are in school, tap into college resources and talk to others who are also working to balance different responsibilities. In addition, busy students should schedule study time every day, get everyone on a regular routine and keep work, family and school time separate.
When this lesson is over, students have the knowledge necessary to:
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Back To CourseCollege Success
2 chapters | 6 lessons