Super Mamá: Balancing School & Family
#1 Preparation is key
Get your “house” in order before you start school and take time in between school breaks to do the same. Preparation is going to be a central theme for the next few years until you graduate. Because your time will be precious, preparing in advance for your daily routine and life’s misadventures will help you cope when things go haywire (and they will!). Routine things, like making dinner and paying bills, should be automated; don’t waste time trying to figure out what to make or lose sleep because you forgot to pay the rent.
#2 Time Management
I used to be a procrastinator, and to be honest, most of us naturally are, but when you are going to school and raising a family, there is literally no time to procrastinate. Every task has its time slot and if that task is not done within that period, it can throw off the whole day. Whether you use a task list or calendar or have a running list in your head, you should be conscious of wasting time. To be clear, you should schedule in time to do things you enjoy, whether that is sitting on the couch watching your favorite show or hanging out with the family. You time is good time; it just needs to be accounted for.
#3 Develop Superior Study Habits
There are few people who truly enjoy studying, but when you are sacrificing money and time to attend school, you have an obligation to make sure you give it 100%. Everyone has their own rhythm for studying – some like really quiet spots, others can only study at night – but whatever your preference, make sure you have your own study zone. When I was studying for the bar examination, I created a study corner in my bedroom because I needed to be away from any potential distractions. When I was in my study zone, which came complete with jasmine candles, I made sure my family knew that no one was allowed to speak to me unless it was an emergency! Ideally, you would study at your school library, but for those taking online courses or who due to family obligations need to be close to home, a local library or cafe is an option. If you are like me, you hate getting up early, but studying early in the morning is a good time to review for tests. If you have school-age children, encourage them to study with you at the kitchen table. A family that studies together, stays together!
#4 Ask for Help
If you come from a big Latino family and they live in close proximity, don’t forget to ask for help. It takes a village to get you through school and everyone benefits if you succeed.
Coordinate with your family and let them know ahead of time that you will need them to pitch in during finals when you will need an extra weekend to study.
#5 Stay on Budget
If you have already completed your financial aid package, you know that school is not cheap, and student debt is becoming increasingly burdensome. As a student, you have to pay close attention to your budget, even if you are working. Make sure you don’t take out more loans than you really need, and be sure to understand the interest on the loans you do take.
Last but not least, take care of you.
I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.