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Balancing School with Life

Enrolling in a college or university for undergraduate or graduate studies is a major lifestyle change. Most of us have obligations to work and family and taking on post-secondary education may seem overwhelming. The best solution to a chaotic life is to have a plan.

Setting realistic goals is essential. If you position the bar too high, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you can devote your entire time to completing your program, it is easier to determine your goals by merely adhering to the program schedule.

If, however, you are upgrading your education while you continue to work or look after a family, practical considerations have to be taken into account, such as the number of hours you have free each week to attend school, complete assignments and study.

Purchase a large calendar or agenda and mark down your commitments for each week. Consult your calendar or agenda daily to make sure you are on track. Sometimes, you may have to be flexible and make changes to accommodate unexpected events, but do not let this throw you off your schedule. Simply adjust whichever commitments you are able to and continue with your new agenda without undue worrying.

Block off times during the week that can be committed purely to school. These blocks of time do not have to consist of several hours at once, but can be broken down into a couple of sessions per day. In fact, studies have proven that studying frequently in bricks of 45 minutes each is more beneficial than cramming for hours. You will retain more of the materials and be less fatigued.

Stress management is vital; otherwise, you will be unable to keep up with your schedule. Exercise is a great way to release stress and gain energy for your next study period. Rewarding yourself once a week for your hard efforts is a good idea. Rewards do not have to be huge; make a coffee date with friends, rent a movie or watch your favorite television show.