Whether you’ve just enrolled in school or are still brainstorming the possibility, you might be a little nervous about juggling classes alongside your current responsibilities. Don’t let those worries stand in the way of your dream of returning to school. It might be challenging, but it’s definitely worth it.
Besides, you’ve already been through a lot in your life. You’ve built up a resilience and determination that can carry you through anything. You’ve got this! And by the time graduation rolls around, it’ll be one of the best feelings of accomplishment you’ve ever had, not to mention the advantages you’ll have in your professional life.
To help make things even easier, let’s take a look at a few self care tips that you can use throughout your time at college.
The real meaning of self-care
Self-care is a term that gets thrown around a lot without much thought for what it actually means. Many people think about self-care as guilty pleasures and temporary rewards that have to be earned through hard work. That’s why images of a nice massage, a beach vacation, or a sweet treat might pop into your mind. This definition of self-care might sound nice, but it doesn’t address anything having to do with improving yourself and your life.
In reality, self-care is much more about discipline than anything else. Adult learners that juggle work and family with their studies have the perfect recipe for a bright future, but it’s going to take discipline and hard work to remain focused and successful. Whether it’s taking a rain-check on a work party, skipping out on dinner with friends to study, or going to bed before 10 pm for an early morning run, self-care isn’t glamorous. It’s all about putting yourself in the best position to accomplish your goals while still fulfilling all of your responsibilities.
How adult learners are different
A lot of the “self-care” information you find online might be geared towards the more traditional student - somebody in their 20s with no job and a lot of free time. Much of this advice can be lost on non-traditional students that are working hard to maintain a professional and family life in addition to their schoolwork. While other students can focus solely on their education, adult learners have the challenge of balancing many hats - parent, colleague, student - all at once. Since coursework isn’t any lighter for these students, returning learners really have to stay on top of their self-care management.
Advantages of self-care
This definition of self-care might not sound like fun, but discipline comes with a host of benefits. If you can stay focused on your goals and put in the work, you’ll see:
- Better grades - Your performance in school will be a direct representation of your discipline outside of school.
- Work-life balance - You’ll feel fulfilled in each area of your life without letting one area consume your attention and time.
- Decreased stress - Successfully managing all of your responsibilities will help fight off feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Physical health - Taking care of yourself through healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and positive thinking will improve your physical health overall.
Self-care strategies for adult learners
Know yourself and your goals - You’re only returning to college if you have a dream of a brighter future. Whether you’re working towards a promotion, looking for a new career path, or just want to finish your degree for a sense of accomplishment, it’s important to have your goals clearly defined. Knowing what you’re aiming for will make it easier to develop a strategy for achieving those goals. Keeping your eyes on the prize can also offer some much-needed inspiration when the going gets tough. Having this clarity can keep you on the right path.
Take your degree one step at a time - College isn’t going anywhere, so there’s no reason to overwhelm yourself from the get-go. Take an honest look at the current responsibilities you have and how much time you can realistically put towards school. C2C Coaches are well versed in setting up balanced workloads for their returning students. They also can carve out the fastest path to your degree. You can always add classes later when it makes more sense.
Build a reliable support system - One of the major advantages of being an adult student is having a larger support system. Children, partners, friends, co-workers, and even employers can all be a great source of help while you return to school. It’s a good idea to get everyone on-board by letting them know your schedule, long-term goals, and how they can expect things to change. These supporters can help you remain disciplined, accountable, and focused.
Manage your time wisely - Whether you’re holding down a full-time job, taking care of a family, or handling both like the superhero that you are, throwing education into the mix requires some top-notch time management skills. This is where some practical habits like scheduling and organization will come in handy. Be deliberate about the way you spend your time. Make sure each minute is being put towards fulfilling your goals or creating an environment that facilitates those goals.
Invest in your personal well-being - It’s important to see yourself as a living, breathing human being with basic needs in addition to a parent, partners, student, coworker, employee, and any other role you assume in daily life. Make time for small practices that boost your physical, mental, and spiritual health. That could be a short exercise a few times each week, brief meditation in the morning, and eating a healthy diet. Caring for yourself puts you in the optimal position to fulfill your responsibilities in all areas of your life.
The C2C Program can help
The C2C Program is specifically designed to support adult learners who want to finish their degrees. Participants are provided with the tools needed to overcome challenges and obstacles unique to their situation. You’ll be paired with a C2C Coach who’s in tune with the unique circumstances that adult learners face. Together, the two of you will develop a game plan to take you from enrollment to college graduate as efficiently as possible. In addition, the C2C Grant will help alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with a college education.
Reach out to C2C today to see if you’re eligible. Graduation might be closer than you think!