Hey there, the first step I took was planning. I had to ask myself what was actually possible compared to what I wanted to accomplish.
Write down everything you want to accomplish in your educational path. Next, create a financial budget. When creating a budget you want to take any left over funds and put them in saving for at least 3 months. This will give you some buffer for unexpected costs. Yes, you will have to sacrifice some fun. If you find that you don't have a surplus of funds you may want to find something to supplement. Scholarship, or grant. After you have done your financial budget start budgeting your time that you already use. Work, family events, entertainment, are you a parent? At this point you have the financial budget and how much time you must spend making money. Now, take your list with your educational path. What classes do you need? How much time is available in your time budget and what days? What classes can you take online? Is your employer flexible for schooling? How many classes can you take at a time without causing poor grades?
Once you have the answer to all of these questions you can start filling in your time budget with classes in a strategic way. If you complete this with detail you will be fine and have a real path to follow.
First of all, understand that you will need to make some sacrifices such as not being able to attend every social gathering that comes your way. Then streamline your time to be efficient. Schedule as many classes on one day if possible and schedule your study period time. I allotted xx amount of time for homework/prep for each class/prep for tests etc and tried my best to stick to that allotted time. Adjust as needed. If you find one class easier than another then allot more time for the classes you need to concentrate more on. In addition to streamlining your school time, streamline your non-school time also. Can you work hours that give you more time for school? Can you get caught up with reading/prep some chapters for school during your lunch break? Does your work commute allow you time to read/prep while traveling? Grocery shopping - can it be done in one weekly trip instead of multiple? Chores - is multi-tasking an option? Can you be studying while doing laundry (clothes in the washer/dryer?) Do you spend time waiting for anything during the week? That's a good time to get caught up on reading. All the best to you!
Buy a physical planner or use an online calendar like Google calendar to keep track of all your assignments, work hours, and map out when you will actually spend the hours to do the homework and study. It’s usually quite eye opening to see all the time you’ll need to accomplish everything and will help you manage “break ins” like requests from people, social gatherings, etc. by seeing how much time everything else will take away from school and work. If you need to do both, decide how good you need to be at them - do you need to be a 4.0 student or 3.5 for your aspirations after college? Find out (based on your degree, requirements from employers at career fairs, counselors) and then work towards those goals instead of trying to be your absolute best. Doing a lot of things means you will not do them all perfectly, which is OK. To give some background, I am working fulltime while doing my MBA right now and know that for my goals, I do not need a 4.0, I just need to be a good teammate in my study groups, and do a majority of my homework while sacrificing some accuracy when my work demands more than I can give to both.
Establish expectations with friends and family. If you’re only working long hours for a short period of time, let people know that they can expect to see you less but it’s not because you don’t care - you’ll bounce back at some point in the future and reach back out to them to reconnect. Stay strong in your decisions to do both work and school at the same time if it’s important for you to accomplish this. It’ll be worth it when you’re done!
Alina recommends the following next steps:
Everyone finds their own rhythm. I found that what worked best for me was scheduling my classes in a way that there was at least a two-class break between them. So, I might have English from 8-9, History from 9-10, And then my next classes would be 1-2 and 2-3. This gave me a 2-3 hr break in the middle of the day, where I was able to knock out a lot of my work. Then my Tues/Thurs schedule would be lighter, with more time for research/studying. The key is to use this time wisely, so you can have evenings and weekends free for work/social life. A lot will depend on your work schedule, as well as when your brain is most alert. It makes no sense to study in the evening if your brain is resistant to that idea! In that case, get up early, and study before classes!
Also, a previous post said you don't have to do your absolute best. That is a concept that might sound strange, but, she is correct! I really overdid it my first semester. Then, looking around at those who were enjoying campus life, I decided to back off a little. My GPA dropped only a little. So, no matter how hard you try, you cannot get more than 24 hours in a day! Take care of yourself - eat, sleep, and exercise. These are important to keeping your brain and body healthy!
When i was in college, I worked at the college bookstore. This was very convenient for me. I would work around my schedule. For example. I would go to work from 8am-9:45am and I would have a class at 10:30am. I would attend class and once class was finished, I would return back to work. I would suggest if you can find a part time job on campus if that's possible. If you can't informed the employer that you are a full-time college student and you would like hours that could work around your school schedule. Hope this helps you out... Keep me posted.