BY LESLIE WILDER
If you tell people that you plan to pursue a degree course and work full time simultaneously, they will stare at you in astonishment. The popular belief is that you can do only one at a time- you can either pursue an academic career or a corporate career – not both at the same time.
But we’re here to tell you that you can do both – and excel at both too. Yes!
Who attends night school?
The people who attend night school usually want to revive their career or want to advance their knowledge about a particular course. You can also choose to attend night school if you want to hold on to your daytime job. A lot of people you will meet as your fellow night students are wives and husbands looking towards reviving their career, or CEOs and CPAs trying to get some advanced knowledge about their course.
Night school has its own advantages because it allows you to keep earning a good amount of money while continuing with your degree. But it also has its disadvantages- you will not be able to spend a lot of time with your family. Also, you may have to give up on a lot of your free time to manage your studies and your job. This is a necessary evil- one of the points of struggle that you will have to overcome in your days as a night student.
Sure, it is going to be a challenge, and you will have to give up a lot of small things on your part. But in the end, the results are rewarding enough. For example, you can study law at night while designing personalized jewelry as your full-time day-job. Again, it is a challenge, but it is far from impossible.
Here are some ways in which you can balance your life as a night student effectively and successfully:
- First off – determination is key
Even today, there are a lot of people who think that academics and jobs cannot go hand in hand. These people will doubt you from the start and will try to discourage you from your decisions. There will be a lot of people who will doubt your enterprise. Do not let them affect you. Instead, focus on the task on that and block everything else out. Once you do that, you will find balancing your job and your academics quite manageable. If you think you can do it, you definitely can.
- Make sure you have people to rely on
People will suggest that you should turn your back on all your loved ones and family members for the whole of your academic career. This should not be the case at all. If you have a significant other, or a family of your own, ignoring them for four consecutive years will lead to disastrous results. Instead, manage your time and carve out a schedule that allows you to spend some quality time with your family as well. You may have to sacrifice some birthday parties and some dinner events, but that is where your support system should come in. The people closest to you will definitely understand your situation. However, be sure to give them the attention they deserve as much as you can. Do not shut off your friends and family- you will need them to relax and unwind as well.
- Be systematic
If you are a night student who works full-time as well, you will hardly have any time to spare. This is why you should put your organizational skills to good use. Mark out the dates of your examinations, dates of submissions, and everything in between. This way, you will not have to remember when your paper is due or when you have an exam coming up- you can simply work towards getting the job done.
- Carve a schedule that works out for you
You need to have a work schedule that is suitable for you. It may not be the same as other night students, but it should work out for you. Keep some time for self-studying, as well as some quality time for your family as well. You can wake up early in the morning, and complete your studies. You can then go to work, come back home and spend an hour or so with your family. You can then go to night school and finish your classes.
If you have another kind of routine in mind, stick to that. Just remember that your schedule should allow you enough time to rest and unwind. Remember, your health comes first.
- Get to know other night students
Make friends with other night students in your batch. Almost all of the people you will meet as a night student will be eager to help you out. There can be healthy competition, but overall, you will find them to be your greatest source of support. Not just that, you will want to help them out as well. The exchange of notes, study tips, and guides between you and your fellow students will only strengthen your bond. If you can’t make it to class one day, you can be assured that you will receive all the information you miss. Night school is also the place where you will get a chance to build relationships and friendships that last for a lifetime. Use that opportunity to your advantage and build some great relationships here.
- The time between shifts is your time
According to the US Department of Labor, employees must be allowed at least eight hours in between shifts (with certain exceptions, of course). So no matter if you work during the day in an on-call shift or split-shift or normal shift, make most of that time in between two consecutive shifts. You can grab some rest or study for your classes at night, whatever suits you best.
- Join a boot camp program
Boot camps are quite popular all over the USA, whether you want to learn something new like coding or get into a fitness routine. With these short and intensive training sessions, you can learn different things as per your interest. The only requirement is that these might come off as slightly expensive, so you can save up to enroll in a boot camp program. The best thing about boot camps is that these are of short duration, so you can learn and juggle your work timings during the day.
- Sign-up for online learning
You can leverage a brilliant learning opportunity by signing up for online courses at eminent public and state universities in the USA. Various distinguished educational institutions, including California and Massachusetts University, have launched their own online learning programs for the benefit of working professionals.
In case you are hearing this for the first time, then here is some more information that you might find useful.
As of now, the most renowned USA universities do not have much presence in terms of online learning. But the authorities are now aiming to change that by launching their own digital learning courses – they are even targeting to overcome political and cultural constraints in attracting more and more learners. As such, the scope and nature of their offerings are strikingly diverse. While some institutions probably have higher revenues (from submitted applications) in focus, others are aiming to provide quality education to those who can dedicate time only after doing their day jobs.
These initiatives are wonderful even for those adults who are not yet enrolled anywhere else. So on the off-chance that you are still considering your options for night courses, you can consider digital learning from eminent universities. You can enjoy flexible course timings and also add more value to your work profile.
- Enrol at a high school
If you think that you need to develop on your education or acquire some new job skills for better growth at work, then joining a high school at night can be a great idea. You will find many middle and high schools conducting night classes for this purpose. Most of these night schools conduct high school diploma programs or the General Education Diploma (GED) for students in social studies, maths, arts and science curriculum. Night schools offer the flexibility for you to conveniently fulfill your professional as well as academic targets.
- Go for extension programs
Many eminent universities offer extension programs for evening students. These are also certificate programs where you can take full advantage of personal academic advisory bodies, career counselling, and practical training, you can even go for internships with leading companies. In case you have still not finished school, then an extension program is an ideal way to experience the real feel of university classes! Only, before you finalize the course and college, make sure to check for the required accreditations and track record – search for student reviews too, to get an honest idea.
- Opt for a part-time job online
With hundreds of online jobs available today, bagging a part-time work that pays decently is not a surprise anymore. You can choose from numerous options available today – you can be an online tutor, you can choose data entry work or social media management. Dedicating a few hours to this online job can fetch you enough pocket money to sustain your quick needs conveniently. You can even choose to work as a freelance writer during the day, study and then attend classes at night.
Night students have always been classified as a rare brand, but the reality is shifting soon. A lot of young students who are living on their own find it necessary to find a balance between a full-time job and their education, just so they can support themselves financially. Night school is no longer a space reserved for people who are trying to restart their career, but a lot of young students are deliberately adopting this type of schooling for the aforementioned cause. The important thing to remember is that you should never get discouraged and focus on the task ahead!
Leslie Wilder a creative writer & blogger, who is residing in Nashville the capital of U.S. state of Tennessee, I’m also a self-proclaimed happiness junkie, and someone you would generally consider confident and well balanced.