Advance Your Education While Working? You Got This.
You work diligently and keep a close eye on your budget. You are contentious and proactive. Most importantly, you observe with awareness. You see other women achieve professional levels in areas you believe may be right for your future. And you wonder, why not go for it?
While it’s easy at the conceptual level to champion a commitment toward continued self-investment, the reality of furthering your education or training while remaining employed can be tricky.
To this end, we’ve compiled time-juggling, creative funding and deliberate lifestyle tips to help you accomplish professional take-charge goals. After all, with careful planning, dedicated commitment and purposeful financial aid, the only thing left will be to announce with conviction “I got this!”
- Take Stock. Before you brace yourself for the expected possibility of losing restorative sleep and three solid meals a day, create an honest account of how you spend your time presently. In addition to fulfilling work and family responsibilities perhaps you also enjoy social events and a series of a television show or two. Consider temporarily giving up activities which are not crucial to your present doubled-up term. You’ll surprise yourself with how much extra time you find!
- Plan Ahead. As soon as you receive class syllabuses, mark heavy workload times, like Midterm and Final weeks. Put in for vacation days at work, or speak with your employer proactively about scheduling. Do not hesitate to be honest with your boss. Colleagues who voluntarily up the ante in training and development remain highly valuable.
- Combine Both Arenas. Bring work to school and school to work whenever possible. If classwork regards advancement of your current career, try using work examples for assignments. Examine workplace issues that could dictate innovative school projects. And remember that work breaks and lunch hours can double as study sessions!
- Research On-Line Options. With increasing wireless interconnectivity, it’s possible to explore and participate in almost any academic area online, from engineering to online RN to BSN. Internet courses allow for greater flexibility of scheduling and eliminate transportation issues. Employers widely view on-line degrees in a favorable light, especially if the issuing institution is non-profit.
- Search For Scholarships. Often scholarships are available based on specific geographic location and the program of study. For example, the city of New York may offer initiatives to teaching candidates because present educator pools remain low. In such a case, standard conditions of acceptance include a commitment by the recipient to work in New York for a fixed period upon degree completion.
Industry-specific scholarships from private organizations rarely include such conditional provisions. These goodwill funds double as effective public relation tools and characteristically showcase a student’s relevant, admirable capability or talent.
- Tap Into Financial Aid. You’ve received acceptance into a program. The chances are excellent that some form of aid is available through your institution. Often a distinction is made between merit-based and need-based aid. Need-based candidates should apply for merit-based as well. One award does not preclude the possibility of an additional one!
Similarly, check into government-issued grants. The more financial support you can procure at the get-go, the easier it will be for you to focus on work and school without distracting budget concerns.
- Build a Support System. Compile a group of trusted friends, family and colleagues who understand and support your effort during this time. Creatively combine their talents. Perhaps you have a sister who adores cooking. Ask for her help by making extra servings for your freezer. Let them be there for you. The beauty of such a system is it collectively delights in your success in equal proportion to your gratitude for its presence.
- Take Care Of Yourself. Back to the basics of practical function and never to be underestimated, the importance of self-care is paramount. Carefully maintain regenerative sleep and rest habits. Make sure you eat nutritious food and try not to skimp on healthy exercise. Additional health boosters include:
- Mindful Breathing
- A Quiet Break
- Playtime with A Pet
- Fresh Air
- A Warm Bubble Bath
Love Your Learning.
Learning is a continuous, progressive process. By accepting the challenge of temporarily doubling up on work and education, you are exponentially adding value to all aspects of your life.
Admire and nurture your passion for growth. You’ll end up loving what you do and doing what you love!