Back to School: Continued Education Tips for the Busy Mom

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As a single mother of two, making ends meet began to present a challenge. While I was currently working a full time job, it seemed that my salary just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Between paying for all the kids’ necessities and the bills each month, I was lucky if I had a dollar left over to add to savings. I knew something had to give, so I tried researching other ways to make money…

Getting a part time job would never work with my current schedule, starting my own business was a responsibility I wasn’t ready to take on, and trying to do some weekend tasks like having a yard sale, only gave me a bit of extra money. I even went to my employer to find out about advancement opportunities within the company, however, due to my lack of educational experience, it seems I was stuck at the bottom of the totem pole (as far as income was concerned).

Then my mom told me about going back to school to earn a college degree. She’d heard about other moms who were able to get a degree and find a higher paying job that allowed them to balance their work life and careers! So I decided to give it a shot.

Going Back to School

If you’re like me and have been out of the academic game for a while, going back to school is going to come as a shock. While there were a lot of degrees to choose from, since I currently worked as a hospital receptionist, I decided to check out masters degrees related to being a nurse practitioner. I looked up nurse practitioner programs in PA and other eastern states and eventually settled on one. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how in the world I am able to hold down a full time job, take care of two young children, and go back to school. Well… it took some trial and error but I finally figured out how to get it done.

Choosing a Schedule

After finding the college I wanted to attend, I needed to select my courses. I first talked with admissions staff to find out which classes were offered during the evenings as I was a working parent who couldn’t attend school during the day. I decided that a part time schedule was best for me and found a few of my courses available during the evenings.

Call on the Sitter

Once I had my schedule I knew I needed a sitter. I had two classes, two days out of the week during the evening hours and therefore would need someone to watch the kids. Now since my mom was the one who recommended I go back to school, she was the first person I reached out to to watch the kids. Since she was retired, watching them on a schedule that worked best for me was no problem. If you’re going to look for a sitter, be sure that they’re reliable and can be there every day so that you can make it to school on time. You may also want to consider a backup sitter just in case there is an issue with scheduling.

Find Unique Ways to Study 

My first few weeks were a bit rough. I found that there was never enough time in the day for me to study. By the time I got home from school it was late and I was pooped. I was falling behind in some of my studies because I just couldn’t find the time. So I realized I had to start thinking outside of the box if I was going to get any studying done. I began recording our lectures and listening to them in the car, during my lunch break, and even while preparing dinner. I also found a mom study group. We would meet at each other’s houses and bring our children with us. The kids had a play date while we had a study group.

All in all, I’m glad I went back to school. It has allowed me to learn about a career I am passionate about, while also caring for my family. Not to mention, it gave me a break from the kids, and helped me to develop new business and personal relationships.

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