As a military spouse and former student, I know a thing or two about going back to school and juggling life. There are many different reasons we as adults want to go back to school. For one we have just a little bit more on our plate then we did right out of high school. Raising a family, dealing with separations from our loved ones, working full time – just to name a few… You just have to do it, literally.

Making the choice to go back to school can be a lot of trial and error, but that’s okay. I think the upside to this is that as responsible adults we have a better concept of how we can balance our professional and personal lives. Going back to school and balancing can be challenging, but not impossible for adults.

Finding a means to balance the demands of our loved ones while staying true to our own needs will enable us to succeed and also help us from being stressed out. Based on my own experiences, I have come up with several tips that I have found helpful for managing life and academic studies successfully.

Make a Schedule, Stick to It…

Now that you are in school, your schedule needs to be extended and arranged. Because work is at a set time each day, you need to determine where school time fits best. Whether it is early in the morning before anyone is up, or late at night after the kids are in bed. Put set times on your calendar daily for assignments, reading, tests and any other school work that needs to get done. Don’t cram in what you can with the few spare minutes you may have. Plan ahead and set your schedule weekly, this way you know what you have going on for the week and what you can and can’t do. And a great advantage of online colleges like Colorado Technical University, is that they provide flexibility to active military and military spouses to help them achieve their goals and obtain their degree.

Tell Your Friends and Family…
Don’t let friends and family make you feel guilty about saying no. You may not make it to each family event or friend get together. Be open and honest, learn to say no if it interferes with your school schedule and deadlines.

Plan, Don’t Procrastinate…

As much as you truly think you work better under pressure, don’t ever push back a school deadline. In the online world, expect for something to go wrong and plan ahead for something to not go as planned. Submitting work ahead of time will always assure you to be ahead of the game and not have to stress out over the school dashboard glitch, just 2 minutes before it is due. Don’t scramble at the last minute.

Don’t Get Distracted…

This can mean so many different things like; checking your emails, Facebook, Twitter, text messages – it takes up so much time! When you are trying to study and your phone rings, do you ignore it or answer it? Don’t even think twice about it; shut it off before starting any school work Stop the distractions before they start and don’t get caught in the distraction rabbit hole.

So, if you are ready to dive into obtaining your degree, the next step would be to choose a school, and preferably one that is military friendly.

A military friendly school, Colorado Technical University, is a post-secondary institution that provides career-oriented education at the Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate levels. CTU offers more than 100 educational programs virtually or in-person at their campuses at Colorado Springs and Denver (Aurora). CTU prides itself in offering flexible programs and being a military-friendly university for active duty, veterans, and military spouses, and has earned a number of awards for its efforts. From 2010 to 2015, G.I. Jobs magazine named CTU to the list of military friendly schools and Military Advanced Education recognized CTU as one of the top universities serving the educational needs of the Armed Forces in 2008 through 2015.

See CTU’s Guide to Women Going Back to School, here!

Angela CabanAngela is a military columnist and published author. Her husband, who was deployed in 2008, was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the Army National Guard. In 2010 she founded the Homefront United Network to provide assistance and family support through encouragement, educational articles and resources. She is dedicated to assisting National Guard and Reserve families with resources and ensuring no spouse or family member is left behind.