Free Non-Traditional Students: Balancing Work And School Essay Example
Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines
One of the biggest adjustments for any non-traditional student can simply be returning to school. Before they begin attempting to balance work and school, they must understand how they will fit themselves back into the flow of educational life. Many non-traditional students have been removed from education for many years, and it can take getting used to. Therefore, they should offer themselves a period of adjustment before simply giving up, as recommended in, “Adult Learning Theory: Applications to Non-Traditional College Students .” The authors recommend those who have been away from educational curriculum for longer than two years should give themselves at least one semester of adjustment before they allow themselves a decision on whether to continue forward with their education. According to the material, too many non-traditional students become overwhelmed or fed-up with changes made in the educational system too quickly; it becomes difficult to attempt balancing education and work when one has already decided the education system is not going to do them any good .
Kenner and Weinerman also suggest non-traditional students also take the first few months back at school to decide how determined they are in meeting their goal . The text does not wish to discourage those seeking to balance their hectic lifestyles in a quest to meet their goals, but it does demand more individuals be realistic. For example, a single mother of three young children working a full-time job is going to have a more difficult time than a married, working mother of one grown child when attempting to obtain an education. The authors do not state either scenario is impossible; only that one is more realistic than the other, and they implore the individual decide how much time, determination, and energy they are willing to put into achieving their goal . There is, after all, nothing wrong with being realistic about achieving goals. A single father of an infant may be better off waiting until the child is in school themselves before attempting to obtain his degree again, for obvious reasons. The child will be in school all day, and will most likely be more tired at night. School during the day will forego the expenses of daycare, assuming there is not any offered on the campus. Having the child in bed at a specific time each night also allows for schoolwork to be finished or classes to be taken, assuming a babysitter can be procured. There is simply more time to be allotted toward the goal when there is not only work to balance along with education.
Other sources ask non-traditional students how flexible they are willing to be with their educations in order to balance work and school. Many returning students relish the idea of maintaining a traditional educational experience, sitting in a classroom, and meeting other students face-to-face. Others, still, believe they will take more from each class if they attend it physically, thinking they have been away from education too long to benefit from anything less. These are valid thoughts. However, Catherine Dawson proposes in her novel that mature students attempting to balance the busy life of an adult would benefit the most from distance learning or online classes . Online classes offer a flexibility and ease that is impossible to have with traditional classes; the adult is able to maintain their busy work schedule completely unhindered by their educational process. They are untethered by traditional classes, able to open their laptop whenever they have a spare moment in order to finish an assignment, turn it in, or send their professor an email . These options are not offered with traditional classes because the individual must be in the class at certain times throughout the week. Schedules must be rearranged, thus accounting for more juggling throughout the individual’s day-to-day routine. With online classes, not only does it allow for more flexibility, but also it allows the individual to learn in their own style, and affords them less of a problem feeling as though they have been out of the education system for too long .
In sum, there are many reasons why a non-traditional student would want to return to school, despite their busy schedule. Moreover, they could be successful in many ways. People of all types, all ages, in all different circumstances are finding they want to further their careers through a better education. They are finding they can do so through simple methods that allows them to balance their chaotic lives that have happened after they left high school. They must be patient with themselves as they are reacquainted with the school system. They must also be realistic with their goals, as well as the time in which they return to school. Finally, they must explore all of their options; for optimal success, they may want to discuss distance learning and online classes in order to achieve their goals. Though the idea that an individual must attend college immediately after high school to be successful, any non-traditional students are proving the world wrong, one chaotic and rearranged schedule at a time.
Dawson, C. (2014). The Mature Student's Study Guide: Essential Skills for Those Returning to Education or Distance Learning. Boston: Constable & Robinson.
Kenner, C., & Weinerman, J. (2011). Adult Learning Theory: Applications to Non-Traditional College Students. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 87-96.