Quick Guide to Transition Back to School

Transition back to School

Many adult learners return to college after years of being away from school. To become a student again can be a challenge. It has been a while since you’ve done homework. You may feel like you’ve forgotten what you used to know. And you will need to rediscover your study habits. Shifting to a student lifestyle may be hard, but it can be done. Here are a few ways that you can make yours a smooth transition.

Keep Track of Time

Returning to school can have a significant impact on your schedule. Finding time to study, complete schoolwork, and enjoy your personal life can be difficult. By planning ahead and organizing your time, you can avoid falling behind. Use a calendar to keep track of your assignments. Google Calendar is free online, and there are several free apps you can download to your smartphone.

One of the most important ways for adult learners to create a schedule is to stay realistic. Setting aside half an hour to study might not be enough. On the other hand, not giving your family enough time can also impact your life. Some people can eat lunch in ten minutes or less, but only give themselves even more stress. The point is to prioritize what you need to do each week, give yourself enough time, and keep it real.

Most importantly, don’t forget to schedule time for yourself! While studying, relationships, and work are all important, taking the time to care for you is critical in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s watching your favorite movie, taking a walk, going to a yoga class, or curling up with a good book, be sure to take the time to unplug, reduce your stress, and enjoy your life.

Maintain Your Relationships

Consider the ways your choice to return to school may impact your relationships. When choosing to go back to school, adult learners who are parents often struggle with feeling selfish. For family members who’ve dedicated their lives to raising and caring for others, they may find it hard to take time for themselves to finish their homework.

Talk to your friends and family before enrolling. Tell them why education is so important to you, and that you’re investing in the future. By acknowledging that change is coming, instead of ignoring it, you prepare the people you care about to deal with changes that affect their lives, too.

When you maintain healthy relationships throughout your transition to college, you create a strong support network that will empower you. These loved ones can be your greatest source of motivation.

Use Your Experience

Some adult learners assume they’re too old, or they’ve been away from school for too long to go back. If you worry that the years you’ve spent at work, in the military, or as a stay-at-home parent might hinder your studies, don’t overlook an important fact. Even if you weren’t in school, you developed real-world skills. Your life experience – whether in the military, in the workforce, or in the home – is extremely valuable. And that gives you an advantage over younger students who move directly from high school to college. You have a wealth of practical and applied knowledge that you can share and contribute to your fellow students. Take advantage of your experience, and apply it to your courses.

Depending on which university you attend, you may also have your work and military experience evaluated for college credit. When you translate your training and work history into transfer credits, you shorten the time it takes to graduate and save on tuition.

No matter how long it has been since you last attended school, you can be a student again. Manage your time and your relationships. Take advantage of your experience outside the classroom. You may find you’re a better student now than ever before.

Written by: Michael Mussman
Michael Mussman is Editor of Forward Thinking, the Ashford University blog.

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