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Earning Your Nursing Degree: 5 Tips for Balancing School, Work, and Life

There’s a lot to balance for adult learners who are working full- or part-time while pursuing their degree in nursing. Between classes, assignments, work schedules, and social obligations, it can be a lot to juggle. At Athens State University, we recognize the struggle that most adult learners face when trying to manage it all while completing their degree. 

Whether you’re currently facing that challenge or are considering a degree in nursing, here are some tips to help you balance work, life, and college at Athens State University:

Set Realistic Goals

    One of the best ways to thrive while working on your degree in nursing is to set clear, attainable goals. Balance is important, so it’s good to know your limits and what you’re capable of achieving within a specific time frame. Having that structure will allow you to set realistic expectations for what you can or may not be able to accomplish and ensure that you’re able to complete everything that needs to get done. 

    When setting your goals, consider the following:

    • Time constraints: Take a look at your schedule and ensure that you have the time available to focus on and work towards your goals. 
    • Priorities: Make a list of what you want to achieve and tackle the most important items first. 
    • Measurability: Setting goals you can measure, whether via a specific timeline or tasks that you can easily mark complete, allows you to track your progress and make adjustments as needed. 

      Set a Schedule

      Between your work, schooling, and other commitments, it’s important to keep a regular schedule to stay on-task and complete your goals. Take time at the beginning of each week to map out your upcoming meetings, classes, obligations, and any social events, then add time for studying, completing chores, and relaxing — because it’s just as important to rest and reset as it is to be productive. 

      Use a calendar or planner to track your days or weeks so you have visual reminders of what’s coming up and what needs to be completed. And be sure to leave plenty of room in your day for flexibility, in case any last-minute meetings or unexpected events arise.

      Tap into Available Resources

        Athens State University offers multiple resources and support services to help you achieve your academic and career goals efficiently and effectively as you earn your degree in nursing. All of our students have access to the following:

        • Success Coaches: Every undergraduate is assigned a personal success coach to help you develop your course plan, explore your options, and answer questions as you work toward your degree. 
        • Career Development Center: From working on your degree in nursing to after you graduate, the Career Development Center is available to support you with career planning, networking, and job-seeking strategies to help you take the next step in your career. 
        • Tutoring Support Services: If you need a little extra help with one of your courses, Athens State University offers tutoring services that are available via email, in-person, or online to best fit your schedule. 

          Stay Organized

          Organization is essential when it comes to balancing work, life, and school. It’s how you can stay on top of all your classes, assignments, and schedules while ensuring that everything you need to complete gets done in a timely manner. Some methods to stay organized include:

          • Setting up (and sticking to) a routine: Following a similar routine everyday will streamline your schedule and help you complete your daily tasks quickly and efficiently.
          • Making a to-do list: Listing everything you need to complete will help you remember what tasks you should focus on and allow you to track your progress as you mark off each one. 
          • Putting systems into place: Much like a routine, having set systems in place for different scenarios will allow you to quickly process information and tackle new projects while lightening your mental load. 

          Communicate with Your Employer

            If you’re working a full- or part-time job while pursuing a degree in nursing, it’s important to have open and frequent communication with your employer so they are aware of your needs. 

            Let them know your availability and keep them updated about any big assignments or classes that may need some extra time or attention. They’ll appreciate your openness and in many cases, try to accommodate and support you as much as possible — making it easier for you to complete your career and academic goals. 

            Trying to balance work, life, and college can be challenging. But with these practices in place, you’ll be set to complete your degree in nursing by your desired timeline.

            Athens State University specializes in helping working students and adult learners make the most of their time at school so they graduate fully prepared for the next phase in their career. Discover other ways we can help you achieve your goals while you work toward a degree in nursing.