So you’ve decided to go back to school. Congratulations! But you’re probably wondering how you are going to manage your course load and your job at the same time. Relax. It’s easier than you think, and thousands of people do it each year. Graduate programs are usually designed with older students and those already in the workforce in mind, and as such are usually flexible enough to work with most schedules.
The first thing you should do is decide what kind of program you want. Do you want to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends? Or would an online program where you can learn at home and at your convenience work better? Online learning is great for busy people but takes a lot of discipline and is not for people who find independent study isolating, so keep that in mind. Start with mba.csumb.edu/.
Next, have a talk with your spouse or partner if you have one. Hopefully they are nothing but supportive and willing to pitch in a little more so you’ll have time to study and go to classes. Having a supportive partner is very important, and will pay off for both of you in the long run. You should also talk to your human resources department and ask about tuition assistance or reimbursement. Most schools offer financial aid as well.
What you’re going to need most to succeed is good time management. Let your boss know you’re going back to school so you can bring more to the table at your job, so he or she will be understanding about things like having to leave early for an exam or being unable to take overtime. Keep your schedule as regular as possible. Go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, and schedule both study time and breaks. Don’t take on a full course load right away, instead start with a couple of classes and let yourself get comfortable with your new role as a student. Schools have tons of resources for students, so make sure you take full advantage of them. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Good time management and self-care will help you avoid burnout and increase your chances for success.
Finally, get to know your fellow students. If you’re in an online program, you’ll do that via online chat, otherwise it’ll be the more traditional way. Make friends and study partners and reap the rewards of teamwork!