Life is complicated and it becomes harder as people develop into adulthood and inherit new responsibilities. Attending school as an adult learner is a big challenge and time management is something that every student must know and be efficient at in order to successfully complete their degrees. This paper explains the different adjustments that adult students must make to achieve their desired goals, especially those who have extra responsibilities other than college. The sources used on this paper describe how they manage their study time alongside work related activities, family matters, and all their others obligations. Tips and advice will be included through this paper to provide students with new ways to succeed in college. Adult learners seeking a degree as full or part time workers face many challenges through the process of attending college. Working students have more than schoolwork to deal with. One of their responsibilities is to ensure their professional or work related duties are not neglected.
For many of these students their employment is the base of everything else because without it there isn’t money to pay for college in the first place. Another time consuming on the plate of working students is time to spend with their families, especially the ones that go to college in their late years. During the late years, usually around thirty and forty years old, most people are married and already have children. To find time for college an adult student must learn to balance all of these responsibilities and be able to include time for studying on his or her daily routine. A study by Blaxter & Tight published in 1994 by the journal of “Studies in the Education of Adults” showed the different amount of time that adults with full time employment and family responsibilities are able to dedicate to college work. This study provides different opinions coming from working students with families and from working students who do not have families. Some participants expressed that not having a family or other outside responsibilities give them plenty free time to study. Students who work and have families had to organize their daily lives a little better in order to succeed in college and achieve their academic goals (Blaxter & Tight, 1994).
As the article by Blaxter & Tight mentions, a considerable amount of working adults who attend college end up dropping their classes due to their demanding lives and duties outside the university. In order to pursue a college degree, students have to make some sacrifices and replace some daily activities or time with friends and family with study time to succeed. For example, activities like watching television, dining out, or just going out for a while must be limited in order to allow time for studying and completing college work. There are a good number of books and guides with helpful information and tips to prepare adults learner for a successful education. The Mature Student’s Guide to Higher Education written by Linda Pritchard and Leila Robert is a good reference for people seeking a degree as an adult student. To succeed in college adult learners should have some solid academic foundation as well, to include essential academic skill such as organization, communication, reading and writing ability, computer proficiency, study skills, and good time management techniques (Pritchard & Roberts, 2006, Pp. 33-39).
Students should and must have an action plan in order to manage their study time efficiently. To manage time effectively adult learners should schedule their tasks and goals on time and be able to identify their priorities. Prioritizing the most important activities and breaking down assignments help the students to have a better use of the time available. As the students reach their immediate goals and progress in college, they feel a sense of achievement and it helps them keep on track and motivated on their academic plans (Pritchard & Roberts, 2006). Other hints to have in mind while earning a degree is to learn to manage stressful situations that will most likely occur. According to Colorado Christian University (2012), students could minimize the stress levels by being organized and on top of work and academic activities. Students will also help reduce the level of stress while attending college by establishing good communication between them and their employers, college instructors, and family and friends (Colorado Christian University, 2012).
Having the support of the family and friends is necessary to earn a college degree as a working student. Arthur and Tait (2004) expressed that “The full support of the partner/husband/wife was regarded to be fundamental to any successful learning activity” (para. 22). We all have different ideas and ways to manage time in our lives, and we do put some of these techniques into practice in order to accomplish our goals. Regardless of how we do it, the important thing is to be able to control our time in order to be productive even during the most stressful situations. Managing time effectively around school, family, work and others daily activities and commitments is an important key in today’s society. Attending college is a big responsibility and students must learn to manage time wisely and multitask in order to be able to accomplish all their academic goals. Considering all these, it is clear that for the maximum benefit of the student they should know how the impact of their choices affects the outcome of their college experience, and they must make every minute of their lives count for a better future.
Arthur, L., & Tait, A. (2004). Too little time to learn? Issues and challenges for those in work. Studies In The Education Of Adults, 36(2), 222-234. Blaxter, L., & Tight, M. (1994). Juggling with time: How adults manage their time for lifelong education. Studies In The Education Of Adults, 26(2), 162. Pritchard, L.; & Roberts, L. (2006). Mature student’s guide to higher education. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/apus/docDetail.action?docID=10175218 Stay on Track This Semester-Balancing Work and School. (n.d). Retrieved September 29, 2012, from Colorado Christian University website: http://www.ccu.edu/blogs/cags/2012/09/stay-on-track-this-semester-balancing-work-and-school/