What in the world were you thinking? Somehow, you’ve convinced yourself that going back to school, raising a family, working a full-time job (or business), and maintaining a household, was a good idea – in the middle of a pandemic, no less. Now, here you are weeks away from the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, trying to figure out how you’re going to make this happen without overwhelming yourself.
The national health crisis is still in full effect, and life is anything but ordinary. Depending on where you live (and your personal preferences), you’re preparing your kids for in-person classes, online schooling, or a hybrid learning environment. You’re working remotely, managing a business, or holding down a risky yet essential full-time job. The family is home more than usual, your budget is tight, and the cost of living continues to rise.
You want to earn a certificate or degree to advance your career or business goals further, but with all that’s going on, you’re wondering if you should once again put your dreams on hold. The good news is that while this juggling act won’t be a breeze, some solutions can make the process easier for your entire family.
Select The Best Educational Program
Adding higher education to your list of responsibilities can be emotionally, physically, and financially taxing if you haven’t developed a plan. Incorporating college studies into your schedule means finding a degree or certification program that best aligns with your current lifestyle.
Let’s say you were interested in advancing your interior design career or business by getting a degree in architecture. The first step would be to identify architect schools that offer programs and schedules that work best. If, for instance, your children were going to be starting the school year off in a virtual or hybrid environment, you’d need to be home during the day. Therefore, you’d want to find a college that offers night classes or online learning options to accommodate the household schedule.
Scheduling isn’t the only thing you want to consider when selecting the best educational program. You should also evaluate expenses and financial aid opportunities to keep costs low.
Cautiously Enlist The Help of Others
Typically, if you needed someone to watch the kids while you go to work or school, you could ask a relative or hire a sitter. In the middle of a pandemic, however, parents must be careful where they send their children. You’ll need to select your support system with caution to limit everyone’s exposure to the novel coronavirus.
Your elderly parents, for example, are at the highest risk of contracting the virus and passing away from complications. If you’re going to hire a babysitter, review their COVID-19 health and safety practices to ensure they’re doing everything possible to keep children safe.
Develop a Schedule
Many jobs, schools, and summer activities closed during the health crisis; most families admit that they’ve allowed their daily routines to fall by the wayside. Not having structured systems in place, however, can make accomplishing goals challenging. List and analyze your daily responsibilities and academic schedules. Then, use this information to formulate routines to get everything done. Calendars, to-do lists, task managers, and alarms are efficient resources to keep everyone on the same page.
Adjust When Necessary
You now have a general idea of how you’ll manage to raise a family, work, and go back to school in the middle of a national pandemic. You’ve got the support of people you trust and implement routines and systems for your household. The only thing left to do is to apply this plan to your everyday life. As you exercise your strategy, you may find that certain parts aren’t working well. If this happens, it is recommended that you make adjustments right away to prevent further chaos in your already busy life.
Parents often put their personal or professional goals on hold for the good of their children. Though this may seem like a noble and necessary thing to do, giving up on something you want can have emotional consequences. You’ll start to feel resentful or as if your life has no purpose outside of parenting, which will ultimately result in familial and relational conflict. While the pandemic has added many challenges, the truth is, with an efficient plan and the right support system, you can continue being there for your family and achieve your educational goals.