6 Back to School Hints for Working Professionals

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The fall semester at Midland University is upon us—our newest MBA class kicked off classes this week. For those working professionals who are coming back to school, here are some hints on balancing your work and school life. Traditional students should find this list helpful, as well.

  1. Develop your support system: There’s no doubt about it: finishing your MBA will take time and energy. Clue in your friends and family that you’re headed back to school, as well as why and when you’ll be done. They’ll know there’s a reason if it seems you’ve vanished for days at a time, and you may be surprised by the volunteers you’ll get to help you manage the other parts of your life.
  2. Plan your week in advance: Pick a day–any day–and make sure that you schedule out the next seven days. Unlike work, where you may get unexpected rush jobs dropped on your desk, your school due dates should be fairly predictable. Figure out what you need to do to finish your weekly assignments and put them on your calendar for times you know you’ll be available.
  3. Find time by trimming: You might be wondering where all this “free time” will come from. Our students have commented that after they’ve finished the MBA program, they’re surprised at the free time they have. By cutting out TV, movies, or other secondary hobbies, our students have said that they carved out more than enough time to complete their schoolwork. And when you’re finished with the program, you can decide which dropped activities were really that important to begin with. 
  4. Get into a routine: Students have also reported that settling into a rhythm really helped them manage workloads. By the end of your first few weeks, you should have a firm grasp of what days and times you can set aside for school, and which days and times are problematic because of interruptions or last-minute conflicts. Once you’ve figured out your productive times, lock them in and use them every week.
  5. Get tech savvy: There is a multitude of scheduling and productivity tools for both your home computer and your mobile device. If you haven’t mastered a file sharing program with productivity features–like Evernote–pick up the basics before school starts.
  6. Schedule breaks and rewards: The end of each term is a natural time to take a quick break. Pick something you enjoy, like a hobby you’re giving up for school, and set aside time during your break to treat yourself. Picking a reward to look forward to will make it easier to stay disciplined.

It may seem overwhelming to tackle an MBA, especially if you work a full-time job. But by taking it in pieces and staying on top of it, you can succeed.

You can also read some success stories from our recent graduates here to help keep you motivated: Jake Skinner; Von Bradley; Jeff Talkington.

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photo credit: riekhavoc via photopin cc

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