After doing a graduate studies survey, I came to realize that I am in the top end of the age group for students. I fit into the last category, which was "45 and over". At age 46, I decided to go back to school to get my Masters Degree in Social Work (part-time). Juggling full-time work, a family, a marriage and school has certainly been an adjustment. I have come up with some tips that may come in handy for you if you one day decide to go back to school.
- Use white noise to drown out household noises and distractions, such as kids, music playing, TV, people talking. I have a clock radio that plays sounds like "waterfall" for example.
- Find a quiet room to study. I use my bedroom.
- Minimize distractions by putting your cell phone in another room or put it on "silent".
- Set a goal and a reward. For example, after I read an article I will reward myself with a healthy snack.
- Have herbal or decaffeinated tea as a warm drink. It will comfort you.
- If you work full-time, set aside time on your days off to study and let people know you are not going to be available. Make use of downtime to read your textbooks and/or other readings.
- Get to know what is your most productive study time. Mine is early morning to mid-afternoon.
- Instructors appreciate students with life experience. Share your knowledge and insight in class when appropriate.
- Ensure you get enough exercise. Exercise helps release endorphins and encourages blood flow to the brain which will make you more alert and possibly smarter. It is also a great stress reliever.
- Never complain about the time taken to attend classes or study. You are a role model for the younger people in your life and this is a choice you made so make it a positive experience.
- Encourage your pet to be your study buddy. They don't distract and they are usually very quiet.
Have a great day!
Angela G. Gentile