It’s a challenge enough to parent, and adding on earning a college degree takes it to another level. Luckily, many parents get college degrees, and it’s a step to help you get a more secure life for your kids. Not only can you succeed, but you might already have an edge on your potential classmates since you’re likely more mature and focused. Understanding some best practices can help you do well in your chosen path.
Create a Plan
You’ll want to ensure you have realistic goals for paying for your education. Will you work during school? Do you have enough money set aside to live on and cover the cost of tuition? Taking out loans is a great way to fill in the gaps between what you can afford and the remaining balance. Still, you’ll want to plan when borrowing money so you don’t take on more than you can pay back later. You might consider using a student loan calculator to estimate the monthly cost of repaying loans from a private lender.
Stick to a Schedule
Time is an essential resource when you are a parent in school, so try to be efficient. You’ll want to understand where your hours go to make sure you are using them wisely. If you don’t intentionally carve out time for essential things like study, you might feel overwhelmed and get behind. Instead, try to audit your time by tracking what you are doing with each hour of the day. You might find that you spend time on things that distract from your bigger goals, so consider creating priorities. Still, you’ll want to ensure you have enough hours to relax and unwind to prevent burnout.
Don’t Go at it Alone
You will need all the support you can get during your education, so make friends with other parents at the university. You can encourage each other and share experiences. Your school may have a support group for parents, and sometimes you can find online groups. Let others know about your educational journey since you might get support from friends, a faith community, or extended family. They might help with meals, transportation, or childcare needs.
Take Care of Your Body
When you’re busy, it’s tempting to eat fast food or skip meals altogether. It’s okay to do that now and then, but it’s best to have a healthy diet overall. What you eat has a significant impact on your immune system and mental alertness. You might consider spending more time creating a healthy meal and make extras to have later. Plus, it sets a better example for the kids and gets them used to eating well. Even though it might be hard, try to set aside a bit each week to exercise. Even if it’s just taking a quick walk or going to a park, you can still benefit from a few minutes of activity each day. Plus, getting in more exercise can help you sleep better, another important aspect of taking care of yourself.