Working a full-time job and studying online isn’t as easy as you might think. In fact, it is just as demanding as if you were taking courses in a traditional classroom. Taking online courses requires a certain amount of discipline that’s not needed as much when you’re in the classroom. Florida National University (FNU) has come up with a list of 10 ways to help the full-time worker manage his or her online classes:
- Find a Job That Will Work with Your Class Schedule
Nothing will make your college life more stressful than working at a job that doesn’t support your academic goals. It is crucial that your job understands that you have responsibilities outside of work. You must communicate this to your supervisor.
Some jobs like retail rely heavily on scheduling shifts. So even if you’re taking classes online, there still needs to be some time dedicated to studying. As a result, you should keep your supervisor informed about your academic priorities every semester, as some courses may require more time than others.
Many online students are under the misconception that just because they don’t have a classroom to go to, that they have more time on their hands. This is a myth. Online college courses demand the same amount of attention and dedication, if not more, as if you were sitting in a classroom. Time still needs to be managed.
- Take Advantage of Weekends
You’re in college now. The cold, hard truth that other colleges and universities might not tell you is that weekends shouldn’t always be looked at as “days off” for college students, especially if they are working full-time. And taking online courses isn’t an exception. In fact, it might end up being a great advantage to managing your coursework.
If you’re working a full-time job, and have the privilege of getting the weekends off, use those two days to dedicate to your online classroom time. Study. Complete your assignments, or even use that time to get organized. With all of the scrambling trying to keep up with your tasks at work while balancing schoolwork, it’s perfectly normal to have your academic load a little disorganized at times. Just don’t let it get out of hand.
- Be Disciplined. Stay Organized!
This brings us to #3: Stay organized. As long as you are organized, you can handle almost anything! Knowing where everything is, when assignments are due, and most importantly, where they are on your desktop, cloud, or flash drive empowers you to be the supervisor of your own classroom. Having all of these things in order equips you to better manage your coursework. You may even have a better idea of how much time it will take to complete an assignment, thereby better organizing your time between your job and schoolwork.
- Use Your Lunch and Break Time to Study
Depending on how your job is scheduled, you may have anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for lunch and maybe two 10-15 minute breaks in between. Use this time to study! If your job is located by a coffee shop or library, go there and use that as your classroom. Perhaps the break room could serve as a temporary classroom. All you need is your laptop!
- Create a Study Space in Your Home
These days, having a home office appears to be the popular trend, so do it! Home offices aren’t just for work, they can be used for schoolwork as well. Even if you don’t have a second bedroom for office space, create a space in your home that is dedicated solely to your college studies. Make that place your schoolroom. All you really need is a desk, a chair, and of course a laptop…and Internet connection, but that’s it! This will help give you the discipline needed to focus on your schoolwork.
- Use Your Smartphone
Another great source for online studying while working full-time is having access to your smartphone. It doesn’t matter what kind of smartphone it is as long as you can get an Internet connection, you’ll be able to check in on any updates from your professor, chat with your classmates, and even do a little research. This should all be done during your breaks. Your smartphone is nothing but a tiny computer that can help you study while you hustle between work and school.
- Turn Your Television Off!
While multi-tasking is a talent everyone can practice, when you’re trying to earn a college degree while working, some things just need to be put aside. If you’re studying, why not eliminate distractions and turn your television off? You’ve already got enough going on. These days, you can TiVo your favorite shows or look them up on Demand. Give your classroom time the commitment it deserves and keep your television turned off!
- Set Your Alarm
Anyone who works from home can tell you that they are sometimes more distracted at home than in the office. This is because life just gets in the way, and that’s perfectly normal. What might help is setting your alarm on your phone or clock to remind you to dedicate an hour or two toward your online studies. Even though you’re not in the classroom, it doesn’t mean the school bell stopped ringing!
Exercise! Even when you think you don’t have time! You may be thinking, “How do I find time to exercise? I barely have time to study!” Taking time out to exercise gets your blood flowing. It might be just the thing you need to give you that mental boost of energy to keep you focused and sharp enough to pass that next exam!
- Develop a Study Group
Sometimes, it’s just good to know that you’re not doing this hustle of work and school by yourself. Find friends, co-workers, and classmates who are doing the same as you. Having a support system is another way of giving you that mental boost of encouragement to complete your academic studies.