5 Things Moms Should Know Before Going Back to College
A big decision even for a teen with all the time and support in the world, college is something most mums only dare dream about. Perhaps we were unfocused, or perhaps our child came at an unexpected time in our life – whatever the reason, we didn’t finish college when we were younger. For a lot of women, this feels like a missed opportunity. But what to do now, when our life is mostly settled, when we have a child to think about at all times and a family that needs us? Surely it’s too late, right? Actually, no. Finishing college is not a selfish thing, it’s something that could both help you feel more confident and help the financial situation of your family in the long run. If you’ve been thinking about higher education, we’re here to encourage you. There are some things that you should know before making this big step, so let’s talk about them and you will see what the best decision for you might be.
It will require exceptional organizational skills, stubbornness, and resourcefulness
This is the key thing. Contrary to popular belief, college isn’t nearly as much about intelligence as it is about willpower and organization. You need to want this, and you need to know how to manage your time around it and how to juggle all your obligations well. It’s about establishing a pattern and sticking to it as much as possible. If you’ve got the determination and if you know how to organize yourself, then you pretty much have some of the most essential skills necessary to finish college and get that degree. If your child is small, you will generally need to have a very trustworthy babysitter on speed dial, you’ll need to prepare your meals in advance, study and revise whenever you get a quiet moment, and rely on friends and family to help you with chores occasionally. Bear in mind that you will have more free time in the beginning, but coursework and exams will get progressively harder and requiring more dedication. That’s why it’s so important to stick to a schedule and never lag behind.
You will need to manage your finances well
College is anything but cheap, and unless you get some sort of a scholarship, it’s very possible you’ll either need to work, ask for a student loan, or do both to help you finance it. Don’t fall for any student loan service scam, and don’t pay anyone to help you do something you could do on your own or with the help of a student advisor. There are some good ways to earn money from home or through part-time jobs, so make sure to really plan out your finances before you take this step.
You will need to set realistic goals
“Getting a degree” is a fine goal, but it’s a little too vague and distant to really help you. Instead of focusing on just that one thing, it’s better to set up a bunch of smaller goals, and then tick things off as you go. Start with something like your admissions essay, and then work up to bigger things like getting in, then passing a course, then finishing a year. If you have a top college like Cambridge on your mind, preparation is quite essential. In that case, it’s important to know all the steps on how to get into the college of your choice and not get discouraged in the process, so consider hiring someone to tutor you and help you write your admission. Always be aware of your strengths and your skills, and don’t let your confidence falter just because you’re going back to college as an adult – plenty of people do that, so set up your goals and pursue your passion.
Reach out for support
Family is crucial in this moment, and you need to know they are all fully on board with this idea. Whether you’re a single parent or someone with a partner, always talk to your closest family members (this includes your kids) and ask them for their support, because there will be times when you will absolutely need it. From helping you with the everyday hassle of chores to giving you some financial aid, rely on those you love because, ultimately, college is something that will benefit not just you, but them as well. Also, don’t forget that if you’re a new mum, there are other ways of finding support and inspiration, like online communities and apps with expert guidance and advice for every stage of your new journey.
Self-care is essential
And most importantly, don’t let the stress get inside your head. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and frightened by the sheer amount of work, and don’t let your confidence erode. To keep your cool, it’s important to schedule in an occasional day off and take some time to do something for yourself. Whether you spend the time lazing around in a hot bath with a sheet mask on your face or go see a movie with your friends, it’s truly essential to care for your wellbeing.
Higher education can improve your life in so many ways, from making you more financially independent to helping you pursue all your dreams. We believe that you can do this. Now the only thing that’s left is for you to believe in yourself.