One often overlooked aspect of military life is the change in family dynamics that occur when someone in the family goes back to school. Let's say, for instance, you've been working for a long period of time and now you plan to return to school next semester. What do you need to plan for? What do you need to consider? How will this return to the classroom affect you and those around you?
Here's a list of things that might be worth your consideration:
Commute Time - You can probably drive to your current workplace blindfolded. You know how far away the job is. You know how long it takes you to get there - even during the morning and afternoon rush. But, what details do you have about the commute to campus? Knowing this can save you time and money.
Do Your Credits Transfer? - It's great that you're back in the school house, but as a military person, you need to know if those credits will transfer. This is obviously much easier to figure out if you've already been in school and are about to transfer to a new one. It might be wise to check into the "transferability" of some of the classes you plan to take so that the likelihood of getting credit won't surprise you later.
Study Time - If you've been working and just decided to start school, you should carve out time for intense study. After all, you're starting a new schedule with a new environment. Key to your success is your ability to bring home the grades. Good study habits and adding quality study time into your schedule can help.
Class Schedule - Depending on what and how many classes you plan to take, you'll need to adjust your day around the times school is in session. This can be tough since classes may be of limited size and offered at only specific times during the week. If you plan to continue to work while going to school, the class schedule may make an impact on your work schedule. Hopefully, you can figure out a way to juggle all the competing schedules in your life - school, work, family, etc.
Child Care - If you have children, taking care of them while you're in class can be a challenge. This gets even tougher if all the classes you plan to take only happen at night. Start looking for a trusted babysitter or child care that's offered during the evening or nighttime if your class schedule keeps you on campus outside of normal daycare hours.
Developing a Routine - A change from a work schedule to a class schedule means a change in routine for everyone involved. It will be important to develop a routine that works best for everyone. Take a good look at your lifestyle prior to the start of classes to determine what's important to you and your family. Do you need to trade or change some of the household duties? Make adjustments that make sense. Revisit these changes and adjustments periodically to make sure you're on track to maintaining balance for each person. The goal should be to help everyone succeed!
What tips do you have for those returning to the classroom?
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