Hello, my name is Jennifer Jean-Pierre and I am 36 year old college student.
I am also working full time.
I am also a pretty active blogger.
I am also a step-mom.
I am also at the best I have ever been organization wise.
Let me start off by saying, being back in school is not easy. It has been 14 years since I left Michigan State University for the real world and I never looked back. Until recently when I decided I wanted to finish my second degree in mass mediated/ organizational communications. Maybe it is the Haitian in me but I don’t like not finishing what I start so I proceeded to enroll and get back in the swing of things. And clearly I wasn’t using my Biology studies- medical school be damned!
Because they are summer programs, they are accelerated. So I am to learn in 7 weeks what most learn in 4 months. But that did not deter me and I forged ahead because anything worth having will not be easy.
The purpose of this post is not about me though but instead about the tips and strategies that have helped me be effective.
A little background information on my classes besides their level of difficulty. I am taking 2 classes and each class has 2 timed quizzes a week based on the reading assignment for that week. Most reading assignments are the minimum of 3 chapters (about 62 pages). Discussion boards and questions are also involved and are graded and there are papers. One class has 2 papers and the other boasts one large final paper. Yes all of that in 7 weeks.
While working full time, writing a blog, being a step-mom, planning a wedding etc….
So yes, I feel like super woman and I want you all to feel like your super selves as well while going back to school. So here are my tips for going back to school
MY TIPS FOR GETTING BACK INTO THE STUDENT MENTALITY aka Tips for going back to school
- Breathe! Let go of any expectations and assumptions you may have and also let go of your past history with school whether good or bad.
- Get a planner or use the notes app in your phone. This is where you will put every important deadline and due date. I set all of mine a day ahead of when it is due so that I am not feeling as rushed or last minute. It’s always a great surprise when I finish a paper a day ahead and then have time to have it proofread by others before submitting.
- Do not attempt at speed reading for memory retention. Because these classes are accelerated, there is ALOT of information to cover at once. You will not remember it all. Also remember we aren’t spring chickens anymore so our memories are not as sharp.
- Combat memory retention loss by TAKING NOTES. Yup, studies show that if you write it down, you are more likely to remember it.
- After Taking notes of all chapters, go back and read your own notes and highlight sections.
- Day of the Quiz, do a glance of your notes but this time read them aloud. Yes, I actually read my notes out loud to myself like a book. This also helps with retention because by reading and speaking, your brain is FORCED to focus on the material.
- Set Timers while studying. Avoid burn out and distraction issues by only reading for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-7 minute break to allow yourself to wander. Studies find that is when your brain does the work of retaining what you have just previously read.
- Give yourself a “fun” downtime before going to bed. Do not study right before sleep. Study, then do something fun and then sleep.
- Stick to a schedule that works with your lifestyle.
- Communicate with your loved ones that this is important to you. Set the expectations early so as to not disrupt their patterns or yours.
MY SAMPLE SCHEDULE
Because I have more than one class, I try to break everything up by times.
For me, I do one class in the morning and one at night. I make time based on my schedule. I will read on my commute on the train, I will forgo lunchtime socializing at work for reading, and I read on my way home from work.
Wake Up, Shower, Get ready for work
Read as much as I can without taking notes on the train commute to work
Get to work and review my work emails.
Schedule and manage social media channels of work. (yes I am a social media manager)
Go to any meetings I have.
During lunch, I will schedule out a quiet room at my office to read and take notes. I spend 40 minutes doing that and 20 minutes eating. I find that if I try to eat and take notes, I get distracted so I only allow my brain one different task at a time. Also remember I still employ the use of timers. 15 minutes of studying then a 5 minute check my phone and grab a bite of food. I do this twice.
Go back to my seat and do work.
Done with work around 4:30pm and then spend 1 hour reading again before I get on the shuttle home.
I like to spend a few hours with Jermaine where we talk, eat dinner, play on our phones etc.
Around 8:30 pm, I study some more. By 10:30 I try to be in bed to start all over.
I am very strict with this schedule because I know it’s an accelerated program. I know that it is a short term sacrifice so I am ok with not socializing as much. My time on instagram and stories still happens because of scheduled content and quick pop ins to say hello. I also set the expectation with my audience also that “hey I am in school so you may not see much of me but please visit the blog etc)
Besides currently having a 93% average in one class and a 82% in the other, my consistency with blog posts is at an all time high.
I blogged 3 times last week, sent out a newsletter, photographed a client, and even was the model in another shoot. I also took kids to birthday parties, made breakfasts, and watched movies with them. This is all while getting grades of 100% and 90% in that week’s school assessment. So yes, having a schedule and sticking to it is the end all be all road to success for me.
Hopefully these tips can help you if you are heading back to school as a full time working adult. Even if it is not school, some of these tips do translate into big projects you may have. The most important thing is to take it all in small chunks and stick to a schedule that works for you and your lifestyle. You cannot fail if you set expectations and try your very best!
Wish me luck yall…..
p.s. Offer me a reward of getting good grades this week by SHARING one of my posts to your social networks asking them to follow me. I appreciate it and will have a giveaway to those who do!
Headwrap: LOZA Tam (black female owned)