Monday, December 8, 2008

How To Survive Going Back To School

Amazingly I have done pretty well in life. I have a good career with a good company working in a field I enjoy - Information Technology. I did go to college but I never graduated. My father passed away while I was in college and with him leaving us so did my ability to afford to go. I quickly quit school and got a full time job to try and help make ends meet. I dabbled here and there going to community college while working but I always had a good job so there was no real drive for me to take it seriously.

I have reached a point in my career where my immediate Manager basically told me if you want to go any higher within the company the degree bigots will require you have at least a Bachelors.

Hell I don't even have an Associates! She is looking out for me and HIGHLY recommended I go back to school. The company I work for pays for everything except books...UP FRONT (I pay no money at all except for books, if I fail the class I need to reimburse my company) So I am basically a moron if I don't take advantage of this right? You bet!

Well I haven't been in school for quite a few years...I have to admit I was a little afraid I would do badly or just look like a dope because I MUST have forgotten a lot of the basics. Here is what I did to try and ease my way back into things...

1.) Be extremely organized, you may be making up for lost time and knowledge but good organizational skills can help you get back into the swing of things.

For example I have the course calendar and syllabus printed out for each course I am in and clearly visible in my office. I have all the work expected of me for the entire semester right there in front of me.

2.) Budget your time wisely would be my second piece of advice. Making sure you have time set aside in order to get all the course work completed without that feeling of being rushed. DO NOT procrastinate because it will bite you in the ass I promise, either in the form of shoddy work or having to choose between priorities and school losing completely.

I have time set aside every night to study, write papers or "clean things up" as I like to say. I may not have to use that time every night but it is set aside in case I do. I always budget MORE time than I think I will need to complete a normal assignment.

3.) You may be in class with high school graduates who have very little in the way of life experience. Your experiences will be valuable to them and you should share them. DO NOT push your own beliefs on anyone, if debates in class head in a direction you don't like by all means try to argue your point effectively. Many younger folks (NOT ALL, so no hate mail) have a fresh perspective on things although sometimes it is a bit naive. We "old timers" have lived through more and can definitely be more jaded and cynical when it comes to just about anything.

Share your experiences in a respectful way and you could help mold the way the next generation views our world.

4.) Hang in there when the going gets tough. I had to take some math classes and they about beat me down. I was not ashamed to go to the tutoring center and ask for help or buy that book on remedial math. Let's face it; if you don't use lose it. Don't fret as it will come back and is easier to comprehend something the second time around.

5.) Pat yourself on the back as you are bettering yourself and possibly your families' situation by getting a higher education. If nothing else you will certainly grow personally and broaden horizons you may not have known you have!

If you don't have the money or the time to go back to school, READ, READ, READ, READ and one last time, READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...that is all.

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  1. I just want it to be over. I am a non-traditional student myself.

  2. I've had to take a 'sabbatical' to homeschool a son who was having school problems. I'd add do not be intimidated - a willingness to work & not make excuses will go far with the teachers. As a biology major it was a shock to see & hear how little the kids thought they should have to do to get that A. The teachers seemed relieved to help someone who was trying to learn, not just get some extra credit.

  3. Stephanie I know what you mean, some people hand in work that makes me shake my head...good advice on willingness to work...that will never fail you in school or in life

    Jennerson...I hear ya man...sometimes I feel the same way but I have enjoyed it belive it or not...just mot the times where I am dead tired and just want to veg out.

  4. I love learning. With your healthy attitude I am certain you will not only learn but excel. "use it or lose it" is one of my fav expressions related to learning, particularly as we get older lol

  5. I earned my A.A. while serving in the military. I earned my B.S. at the ripe old age of 36. I learned that you're capable of doing amazing things when paying for it yourself. I finished with a 3.8 GPA. The other thing I learned is that most people out there are outright morons. Put in the time, study and you'll do well. You'll be proud that you did it.