5 Keys for Finding Balance as a Non-Traditional Student

5 Ways Non-traditional Students Can Keep Their Lives Balanced

  • Enlist Support
  • The Right Mindset
  • Manage Stress
  • Build Confidence
  • Consider Online Courses

Finding balance as a nontraditional student can be important even though nontraditional students are not the rarity in the classroom that they once were. They still face challenges that more traditionally-aged students do not. Below are several ways that they can juggle what can be complicated lives with their pursuit of education.

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1. Enlist Support

Most nontraditional students may have a number of people who depend on them including an employer, a spouse, and children. It is important to enlist their support. In some cases, employers might be unwilling to be flexible, and it may be necessary to work around that. However, family members need to be willing to give the student the space to do schoolwork. They may also need to take on some of the student’s household chores.

2. The Right Mindset

According to the Huffington Post, nontraditional students are more likely to succeed if they are goal-oriented and believe in themselves. Students also need to prepare for sacrifice and to turn up and do the work day after day. A positive attitude will also help nontraditional students find balance. They should look on the opportunity to return to school and the challenges they face with gratitude instead of focusing on the negative. Some nontraditional students may have been through some particularly trying times on their path back to college. However, students who perceive themselves as being in control of situations rather than seeing themselves as helpless victims are more likely to do well in college and balance their coursework with the rest of their lives.

3. Manage Stress

Despite support and a positive attitude, nontraditional students will still be under a lot of stress. An important element of finding a balance for nontraditional students is learning to manage that stress. It can feel as though every spare minute of every day should be spent doing schoolwork, but students will actually be more productive if they allow themselves to take breaks. Eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, getting some physical activity and making sure to spend time with family and friends are also important. The university might have resources specifically aimed at helping nontraditional students as well.

4. Build Confidence

Even the most qualified students may feel anxious about going back to school after years away. One way to build confidence is to take one or two courses that the student will enjoy and that will be less difficult. This gives the nontraditional student the opportunity to settle into the new routine and to succeed. A confident student is more likely to be able to balance school with other life commitments.

5. Consider Online Courses

Taking some courses online can be one way for nontraditional students to find balance. These courses can be just as academically demanding, but they allow students to attend classes and do schoolwork on a more flexible schedule. They can be excellent for students who have busy work and family responsibilities. However, it is important to keep up in online classes and not try to do all the schoolwork at the end of the semester.

Returning to school can be a great opportunity for older people who are hoping to make a career change or simply for people who want to enhance their knowledge. Although they typically have more responsibilities, it is still possible for non-traditional students to find balance and succeed in college.

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