Going back to school is a wonderful way to better your life and achieve your goals. One good thing about going back to school as an adult is that you likely have a better grasp of what your life goals or career goals are, and will thus be able to focus on them more than your younger classmates. However, though you may know your goals, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have your own obstacles.
Here are some common obstacles that adult students can face when trying to achieve their goals.
1. Family Responsibilities
The Obstacle: If you have a family, you understand that they come first. It’s not that you want to miss class in the morning, but if your daughter is sick and needs to stay home from school, what are you going to do? There may be times that you have no choice but to miss class because of family responsibilities, and those absences can add up and get in the way of your educational goals.
The Solution: Be sure to talk with your professors before any familial obligations come up. Stop in during their office hours or make an appointment to chat face-to-face; this will let them know that you are sincere. Just shooting off an email does not seem as sincere, and may lead them to believe that you are just trying to get out of some classes. Explain that you are coming back to school amid a family and that there may be days you have to miss because of that. Most professors will want to work with you to help you succeed.
2. Being Overwhelmed
The Obstacle: As an adult, you likely have many more responsibilities than your younger classmates. Many young students who are only focusing on school become overwhelmed with classes, so it’s that much easier for an adult, who may be juggling school, a family, and at least one job, to feel the pressure.
The Solution: Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. It’s ok to only take the minimum amount of full-time credits (if even that!) in a semester. It may take you a little longer to finish, but your state of mental health is worth it.
3. Frustration with Classes
The Obstacle: Sometimes going into school with a specific goal can actually become an obstacle. If you have returned to a 4-year college with the goal to become a tax accountant, it can be beyond frustrating to have to fulfill the General Degree Requirements of histories, humanities, and natural science courses.
The Solution: Though you will probably still have to sit through these frustrating classes, it may help to know that many of your younger classmates feel the same frustration. They just don’t feel it as much because most of their goals are not as solidified as yours. One thing that can help is if you try to focus on how everything is connected. How might a communication class help you as an accountant? What about the history class? If you try to make yourself find connections between the disciplines, those general classes won’t seem so pointless.