Changing careers or going to school later in life can be both overwhelming but fulfilling. There may be a variety of reasons why you didn’t choose that path when you were younger. Some people have no idea what they want to do straight from school or were not necessarily in circumstances that would let them follow their dream career. Whatever the reason, it is not impossible to go back to education and retrain.
Fitting training in with your present employment, family obligations, and any other responsibilities you might have will take some getting used to as you add to your workload to help you achieve your ultimate goal. However, regardless of what you want to study, understanding what course to study, where and what to expect ahead of time will make the transition much smoother.
However, what is the best way to study later in life? Is it possible to work while studying or to juggle work, children, and a new course at the same time? It can seem that there is a lot to do and take on, but with some smart scheduling and innovative thinking, you will be surprised at how and when you can incorporate school or online learning into your days.
Whether you are looking at training to be a teacher, social worker, or certified medical assistant, here are some tips to help you with retraining later in life.
Have somewhere where you can sit and study in peace
A space to sit and study is vital when you are retraining or going back to school is vital. It can be a space where you can really focus on what you need to do. Ideally, it should be away from the main hustle and bustle of family life so that you can study without distraction, but this is not always feasible in a family home. If this is the case, somewhere you can spread your resources out and work comfortably is good enough.
Little and often
If you have a family or a job to take care of while studying, or if you lack the patience to remain focused for long periods of time, studying in short bursts might be the way to go. Break down your day and make a schedule. Break it up into small chunks of time to study before taking a break or doing something else. If you have a young family, try to fit intense learning sessions in at nap times, bedtimes, or before the kids get up in the morning.
Turn studying into a habit
Make learning a regular part of your routine and turn it into a habit. Add time for learning in the same way you get up and brush your teeth every day to make it part of your daily routine. It can happen at any time of day, so finding time for it every day should be a top priority if you want to stay on track and finish your course on time.
This is not always as easy as it sounds. However, without motivation, it can be very difficult to stick to something. Of course, choosing a course that you want to do in the first place is always a good start. Maintaining that motivation can start to become difficult. Our home and personal lives get in the way, things do not go quite as we hoped and after a while, it can be easy to think ‘what’s the point?’ and give up. Set targets for yourself and stick to them. Make deadlines for yourself and try to remember exactly why you are doing what you are doing. Think about treating yourself after you have achieved these goals? Alternatively, you could find an accountability buddy or cheerleader to assist you in pushing and motivating yourself when you are unable to do so on your own and hellp you to celebrate your successes, no matter how big or small. Studying at home can be isolating and exhausting, but having someone to motivate you and help you meet your deadlines can make all the difference, particularly if you are having trouble.
Do not let it consumer your entire life
This can be extremely difficult, particularly if you are taking an intense course with a lot of material to cover. Neglecting your home or social life may have a negative impact on your health and well-being, as well as your academic performance. This is where being able to plan your time comes in handy. Schedule time away from your studies to visit with family and friends.
Get involved in a hobby, make sure you leave yourself time for some important self care and spend time with your loved ones. Make sure that you relax before you completely burn out and forget exactly why you are doing what you are doing.
Plan ahead and get organized
It is difficult enough to learn without being disorganised as well. Make a list of important events, deadlines, and tasks to remember. Put this on a calendar of your daily activities as well. This will help you stay on top of all your obligations without ignoring what is coming up, allowing you to balance your time and know what’s coming up ahead of time.
Learn to delegate and take shortcuts
As adults, we can find it difficult to accept support from others, take shortcuts, or delegate tasks to other family members. When you are a parent or a carer who is studying, you can’t afford to be distracted. When you are on a tight schedule, there isnothing wrong with ordering takeout or buying a ready-made dinner. Hire a cleaner once a week or pay someone to do your laundry if your budget allows it. Take advantage of offers from relatives or friends to watch the kids for a few hours. To relieve the burden on you when you research, make sure that everyone else in the house does their fair share of household chores.
Take advantage of pockets of time to study
When you are studying and working or raising a family, time is one of the most difficult things to come by. We seem to spend a lot of time in the car as parents, waiting for dance recitals and soccer coaching to end, or hanging around waiting for meetings and appointments at work. If you are prepared and have planned ahead, these little pockets of time can be extremely beneficial while studying. You will be shocked by how much you can accomplish in those short bursts of time if you use them wisely.
Look after your health and wellbeing
This is one of, if not the most, important aspects. If you do not take care of your physical and mental health, you will not be able to study and perform at your best. It is easy to let it lapse when your time is consumed by education, kids, home life, and maybe even a job, but it should be one of your top priorities – even if it is just for a few minutes per day. Daily massages, meditation, yoga, a short workout at the gym, or a brisk walk around the block can all help. Even the simplest stuff, such as a long hot bath with candles and a good book, can make a big difference. To get you through busy days and long nights, make sure you are eating healthy and not relying on coffee and fast food.