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Balancing Act

  • Article by: Nancy Giguere
  • November 16, 2009 - 5:35 PM

You can successfully juggle work, family and school.

Local colleges report that enrollments are rising. Students of all ages are learning new skills and enhancing their credentials so they'll be ready when employers begin hiring and promoting again.

If you're a health professional who has returned to school while continuing to work and tend to your family, you may feel like you're juggling two or three balls while keeping several plates spinning.

Keeping The Balls In The Air

No one ever said this balancing act would be easy. But it is possible. Here are some suggestions from successful students and their teachers:

Be fully committed. Decide to make time for your studies.

Don't let schoolwork pile up. Instead, break it into manageable chunks. For example, read 50 pages of an assigned book each day, and you'll soon be finished.

Get organized. Pack a special briefcase just for class. Include books, notebooks, pens, highlighters and supplies such as aspirin, lip balm and a water bottle.

Decide in advance how much time you can commit to assignments. For a paper, you might spend eight hours on research, 10 hours on writing and three hours on editing. Then stop. Learning isn't about perfection.

Take your homework wherever you go. Study during your child's soccer game, in the dentist's office or at the cabin.

Create a study space. Set up a table with pens, pencils, notebooks and other supplies next to your favorite chair in the living room or in the corner of your bedroom.

Ask for help from family members, teachers and advisors.

Learn about student services, such as counseling or tutoring, offered at your school.

Network with other students. Help each other by forming study groups, collaborating on projects and providing mutual encouragement.

Nancy Giguere is a freelance writer from St. Paul who has written about healthcare since 1995.

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