How to Manage Online School & Working Full Time

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I will never forget the first meltdown I had when it was 2:30 am, my research paper deleted and I had work at 8:30 am. This happened a few years back and I remembered thinking "there has to be an easier way" meaning to make money to provide for myself and also receive an education. I closed my laptop and had made it up in my mind that after work I would confront my professor face to face and tell him all about my midnight troubles. The conversation went better than expected and afterwards he suggested that I try online classes since I was a full time working student. It was the first time I'd ever thought of going to school online, but after the night I had anything sounded good. 

The next semester I signed up for two online classes and the other two was in person. I felt like I was in control and the semester would be a breeze! WRONG! My mind was so wrapped up in the "extra" free time, I hadn't done a single assignment and the next thing I knew midterms had slapped me in my face. I was force to drop the online classes and I was convinced that nope online is not for me. After graduating with my associates degree, I was offered a position in my field and I leaped at the opportunity. I quickly learned that in order to excel in the industry I would need my bachelors faster than I had anticipated. Unfortunately, major universities in my state was out the way and I revisited the thought of an online education. I did my research and Pace University had the most perfect online program for me. Fast forward to now and I can literally sit back and laugh because I could never go back in a classroom setting again! I would consider myself a pro at the whole school and work thing I've been doing it for four years now and it's completely second nature. In the following I'll tell you all about what it takes to manage both! Here we go :) 

1. Set a Routine

Getting into a set routine makes the flow of organizing your day to day so much easier. Usually my assignments are due on Wednesday nights so I make it my business to work on homework or reading a little bit each night (in a perfect world). I utilize my agenda every single day, it keeps me on top of tasks that needs to get done so that I'm not super overwhelmed come Wednesday night. If you're thinking about attending school online I would first analyze what a typical week in your life looks like. Next, pick out the two least busiest days and make those your "school days". Also a great tip is to get in the habit of being in communication with your professors. I tend to think of them like a second manager, if I'm going to be late for work my first thought is to let my manager know; same goes with homework assignments if something comes up I open the line of communication with my professor via email and set the expectation. 

2. Keep your end goal top of mind 

I'm constantly thinking of my next move. In life, my career and academics; sometimes it's super easy to get caught up in my day to day life that I tend to ask myself "why am I even working so hard?". Then it clicks, and I get a burst of images flooding my mind of my future house (big big BIG house, might I add), in my imagination I walk into my home office and I see all my degrees and awards plastered on the wall. I then walk outside to my backyard on a beautiful summer day and see my family swimming in a resort style pool with delicious food on the grill, I hear laughter and see smiles that belong to people without a care in the world etc. At that moment I snap back into reality and that drive shifts back into gear, I'm reminded of what I want most: a home, solid education, peace of mind and a happy family. In my opinion, knowing what you want keeps the fire on the inside of you lit. Know your why, always. 

3. Avoid Procrastination 

Procrastination is the devil right next to credit cards. I struggle with this constantly, and the only way to combat it really is to combine steps one and two. In order for me to get things done I literally have to think about how good it's going to feel when I select "submit", or I think of the reaction of my professor and how much less will be on my plate of things to do. This works most of the time and if they don't then I think about how awful I'll feel if I get a low grade that could have been avoided. This usually does the trick :) 

4. Optimize time at work 

This one here is really really important! If you're the type to be dog tired at the end of the work day maybe waiting until night time isn't the best way to get homework done. What I've learned is to take advantage of my lunch break! If it means skipping out on scrolling on IG so be it, even if I'm only able to jot down an outline. Something is way better than nothing, also knowing that I don't have as much work to complete later on in the day motivates me to finish up faster. I encourage everyone to maximize your short 10 or 15 min breaks in your work day as much as possible, I'm still old school I love a good flash card, on small breaks I like to flip through and familiarize myself with key notes from lectures. These quick study sessions make taking exams much easier as well! 

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In all, if you've been on the cusp of "should I go online?" or "can I really do both?" let me be the first to tell you that you certainly can and don't give up <3

Love + Light, 

Niajah T. 

how do you manage big responsibilities in life? 

Niajah Thom