How to Balance an Education with Other Life Responsibilities

Mar 4, 2013
  |  by Jennifer Cook

Many college students find it difficult to balance the requirements and responsibilities of earning an education and maintaining work, social and family obligations. In fact, 20% of college dropouts leave an education behind to assist and relieve the burden of family responsibilities, 43% fail classes and drop out because of sleeping for less than four hours a night (sometimes an reflection of poor balancing of work or social activities) and 33% of students say they are consistently absent from class due to life situations.

With such a high percentage of failure and dropouts in the higher education system it is safe to say that one of the main reasons students remove themselves from college is due to the responsibilities and pressure of non-school activities. This in turn leads us to question how students can properly balance earning an education and maintain life obligations.

Discover Alternative Educational Resources

The first step to balancing multiple responsibilities is to explore all the options available to students. Many college institutions offer alternatives to conventional courses in the form of night, adult education or online classes. Earning a bachelor degree online is quickly becoming the way of choice for many parents who are students or students with full time jobs, and in 2010 a study by the Babson Survey Research Group discovered that 6.1 million students participated in at least one online college course. Online classes offer a little more flexibility of scheduling and create opportunities of balance for college students.  To properly balance an education with other priorities, students may consider taking a few online courses and adult education classes.

Schedule Days in Time Blocks

After discovering the educational resources that may be available to students, we suggest students learn to block their time. By scheduling a full day in specific blocks of time, it allows students to see where their time is spent and keeps them on schedule. While emergencies or unknown situations may arise, maintaining a consistent time blocking schedule ensures proper time management for multiple responsibilities, reduces absenteeism from classes and encourages designated education time.

Get Enough Sleep

It is very important in time blocking that students allow themselves plenty of time for sleeping. In a study conducted by the Army Research Laboratory Field Element, it was found that “43 percent of failing students reported they were getting only 3 to 4 hours of sleep each night.” Without proper sleeping habits and at least 7 hours of sleep nightly, students loose motivation, have a hard time concentrating and increase the risk of failing to balance education with other life obligations including family, work and social activities.

Schedule Downtime

Every student needs time to relax and recuperate from the burdens of earning a degree, working a job and sharing family and friend obligations. While time blocking and organizing workloads, it is also important to remember to schedule in time for relaxation. Students need to manage their downtime in a constructive way to recuperate and prepare them to continue through their busy schedules.

Involve Family and Friends

The best way to maintain the balance between life and school is to involve those who are most important to students- their family and friends. Students that discuss coursework and their life decisions with those they are closest to tend to have more support, assistance and understanding from those who offer the heaviest balancing responsibilities. Through family and friend involvement, students are able to balance their lives to include earning a degree from a higher education institution.

Creating the Balance

It is possible for university students to create a balance between the many obligations of life and of earning an education. It takes considerable preparation through time blocking, organization of workloads and remembering to maintain sanity and health through enough sleep and downtime, but it can be done. It is through following these steps of how to balance life and school that many students have been able to continue on to earning a college degree. 

 

Sources:

http://paulyniceroldens.hubpages.com/hub/What-Causes-College-Students-to-Fail-or-Dropout

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2011/11/11/study-online-education-continues-growth


Author bio: Jennifer Cook writes on student life, going back to school and online learning technology for Strayer.edu. When she isn't writing, you can track her down in the library, trying to check out more books than her card allows.

 

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