5 Tips for Single Moms Going Back to College
Being a single mom is one of the toughest jobs there is. Given how often it can seem like there's hardly enough time in the day for the basics – shuttling kids to school, daycare and activities, keeping the house in order, keeping everyone fed – it can be easy to conclude that going back to school just isn't possible. But the fact is, a college education can still be well within reach, even for someone juggling all the obligations of flying solo as a mother. Here are some tips for how to achieve your college goals while living life as a single mom.
1. Identify Your Goals
There are lots of reasons why single moms decide to go back to school. Many wish to improve their career prospects so they can climb the ladder and better provide for their family. For others, setting an example for their children is a powerful motivator unto itself.
Whatever your goals are, be clear and decisive in establishing them early on, and use them as an inspiration to keep going. Always keeping your eyes on the prize can help you push through during those times when things get hard.
2. Be a Multitasking Master
Adding school into the mix of everything else a mom has to keep track of may seem like a daunting idea. After all, the rest of the world isn't going to slow down just because you're taking classes now.
Luckily, though, the ability to multitask is already something single moms tend to have a strong handle on – it's really not optional. Lean on those skills when it comes to going back to school. Finding the right way to balance your obligations and keep making progress is one of the keys to success.
3. Stay Disciplined
Discipline isn't just for kids. Adding college on top of other grown-up responsibilities requires a strong, self-commanding approach to getting things done.
Being disciplined includes knowing how to shut down the urge to procrastinate before it takes over, making and sticking to schedules, holding yourself accountable to goals and deadlines, and taking your studies seriously.
4. Don't Overdo It
Even though no one said balancing being a student with being a parent would be easy, that doesn't mean you have to go out of your way to make it impossibly hard. The truth is, it's possible to burn yourself out by pushing yourself too much, and when that happens you can derail all of your progress and goals before they're ever realized.
Try to balance work and school hours so that you can still do both. Also, make sure you're leaving time for simple basics like sleep, meals and, yes, even the occasional bit of relaxation.
5. Look for Flexible Learning Options
There was a time when going to college meant having to show up in a certain place, at certain times, to take classes at your school's convenience. With the expanded education options that exist today, that's no longer the case. Nontraditional avenues like distance learning, evening school and especially technology-based options like online learning make it easier than ever for busy people – even single moms – to get their degree.
Written by Ashford University staff