Holy cow!! What did I get myself into????
I can’t tell you how many times I have thought that or similar things. I often think that there is no possible way to get everything done every day that I need to cram into the day. But, if I am HONEST with myself, it is not as bad as I allow myself to think it is.
About my degree program
I am going to Western Governors University to get my Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources. It is an online self-paced competency based program. Terms are 6 months long and you must complete at least 4 classes per term. In my first term I completed 5 classes by the skin of my teeth! That 5th class kicked my butt!!!
I am now 3 months into my second term and as of this moment I have completed 2 class!!! For a little while I had told myself that it was okay to only complete the 4 required classes, that I did not need to push myself, that being a full-time working mom who works outside the home, taking care of the house, the groceries, the meals, the laundry, the family, and then school that it is okay to do just the bare minimum and tell myself that I was truly trying my hardest.
Well…..that is not the truth!!! The truth is – I AM TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT! I am allowing myself to procrastinate, allowing myself to believe that I am not able to do more than the minimum….and that realization has made me take a serious look at what my goals are in life. What do I truly want for myself, for my family and why are these things important.
Now I have a new determination, a new focus. I am DRIVEN! I have a motivation that I have never felt before. I took my goals and wrote them down. I looked at how much time was left in my current term, how many classes I want to get done and how long, on average, I can devote to each class to meet my goal. This number is scary! If I want to finish my degree by the end of this term I would need to complete a class every 5 days! That would allow me to have two weeks left at the end for my capstone project and two weeks for the portfolio. To be honest, I am not sure if that is a realistic goal – 2 weeks for each – or not but even if that is all I have left in the next term I can finish my degree program sooner than I ever thought it would be possible.
So when do I devote time to school?
- I wake up about an hour before anyone else in my family. This allows me an uninterrupted block of time to focus solely on what I need to do, what I need to accomplish for myself. I have found this time more valuable than any other block of time I could find/create. I am not great at staying up late, so when I spend time at night working on school it is not nearly as productive and honestly, I start to fall asleep sitting at my computer.
- Utilize my commute to and from work – and anywhere else I can squeeze it in. I listen to recorded webinars, ebooks, cohorts, anything I can do while I was doing something else sure adds up! I do have to admit that I have an extremely hard time listening to things while driving and retaining the information. However, I have found it surprising how much material I do pick up and remember.
- Lunch break and 15 minute breaks at work – that adds up to an hour! I have always been the type of person who works through their lunch break, which is not a good thing because it can lead to burning out. So now, I spend that 1 hour throughout the day to refresh myself on key terms, concepts, read the text, watch a video or even work on papers. This time sure adds up quickly when you realize that is 5 hours a week you can be devoting to whatever it is that drives you.
- While I cook dinner (as long as my husband and son aren’t needing my attention) – I re-listen to recording to help identify anything I missed or anything that I think I need to spend a little extra time on.
What do I not do?
- I do not allow myself to ignore my family’s needs. My son still needs me to spend time with him and pay attention to things that are important to him. My husband still needs my attention and my time too.
- I do not allow myself to get burnt out. I do take entire days off, I do listen to music on my commute or while at work instead of school related items.
- I do not allow myself to beat myself up for every small failure – a missed personal deadline, taking a day off that I did not plan to take off, family events that come up without warning.
You can do it too! You can go back to school if you put your mind to it! You just need to be honest with yourself, with your family and have a solid plan!
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