The Realization Hits
It was just another Tuesday.
I was sitting at the dining room table looking for jobs when the thought crystallized.
I was 34 years old, with some college credits under my belt. I was looking for jobs, but I was having trouble finding something that would give me the security and upward mobility I was craving.
I was a single mom and recently separated from my partner. I had been sitting in the dining room table, sipping my coffee trying to formulate a plan, wondering how I was going to take care of myself and provide for my daughter. The thought hit me like a lightning bolt, and suddenly it became clear.
I needed to go back to school.
I Decided to go Back to School! Now What?
I had a tough time getting through the obstacles in my mind, but I made it to the other side with that sought-after diploma. If you’re a working mom like I am, and you’re looking to go back to school like I did, I hope you find these tips useful in your back-to-school journey.
Do Your Research
Are you worried about finding the time to go back to school?
There are many programs dedicated to supporting working adults.
I decided to attend an online university. An online school gives you the flexibility to study and complete your work early in the morning, during the baby’s nap, while at soccer practice, or after the kids go to bed at night.
I became an expert at finding small pockets of free time. Instead of surfing the net during lunch, for example, I used that time to finish assignments.
Are you scared you can’t afford that degree?
Don’t be scared. It’s more affordable than you think. Beyond convenience, online study can help you save on tuition, the costs involved with transportation, and even childcare.
Determine your professional goal, what experience is needed to get there, as well as the overall educational costs. Does your company offer tuition reimbursement? What are the requirements?
There are also many institutions offering low-cost monthly payment plans. Aspen University, for example, offers a 0%-interest Monthly Payment Plan of $250/month for an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree, $325/month for a Master’s Degree and $375/month for a Doctorate.
Establish a Support System
This is one of the most important tips I can give you. Life happens, and things go wrong, but when you’re a mom, mishaps are multiplied. Kids get sick, the car won’t start, and you need to get to work on time and finish that 8-10-page paper before the next module begins on Tuesday.
I know we often like to think we can do it all, but It’s important to acknowledge that you will need some help to get it all done and enlist people you trust to support you and your family while you continue your education. Enlist others who can help you on this journey. A spouse, parent, sibling or close friend can be a wonderful ally, helping with the kids and the home so that you can continue to focus on school.
Keep Your Eye on The Prize
Going back to school can be daunting. There is no denying that. But there was a reason you started this journey. Keep that reason close to your heart, because there will come a time when you may find yourself sleep deprived, mad that you ordered pizza for dinner (yet again), feeling guilty for not spending more time with your family. It is moments like this when you will need to take a minute, breathe and look within to find the reason you started this journey in the first place.
Take it from someone who has been there. There is no better feeling than walking across the stage on graduation day and seeing the faces of my mom, sister, and daughter, beaming with pride.
GUEST WRITER: Ivettza Sanchez is a media-maker and communications expert who specializes in bringing stories to life from concept development to distribution. Her career development has not been a straight path, and she is certain she would not be where she is today had she not decided to go back to school at the age of 34.