Over the life of our marriage, I have found myself in this predicament; not only do the kids go back to school but so do I! As I near 40 with three kids and a wife, it is even more difficult for me to retain the information that I need to and have the energy to be able to be husband, dad, full-time employee, and student. At one point, I was going to work at 3 am, getting off at 230, heading to school at 4, coming home at 9, spending what time I had left with my wife, and then to bed just to start over the next day. (I am confident that my wife was ready to disown me at this point…)
I have learned, however, how to balance these things over the years because I firmly believe that we have to constantly learn to be relevant in our professions and in society. There are 4 things that I learned during this stint in being in school while holding all the other titles that come along with being almost 40;
- Read. This may be the most vital portion of this topic. Reading what you are learning will help you to understand what you need for your exams. A few things here are helpful; highlighters to highlight the important terms and definitions throughout each chapter, take one chapter at a time, write notes as you read or type them out, and re-read what you have written.
- Listen. One thing that I have learned is that listening is vital to studying. Whether you are recording your professor to listen to later or listening to teachings online (including videos), your brain will absorb the information and help recall what you have learned in conjunction with what you have read. Sites like YouTube, Udemy, and your university are a plethora of resources for you to watch and/or listen to lessons to help you retain what you have learned.
- Do. The problem with most courses or classes is that you don’t get the experience of doing what you learn while you are learning it. It is important to find performance-based questions, practice questions, and quizzes to test you for your readiness for your exams. Another way to do is to teach someone. Showing someone even if they don’t know or even care what you are doing will help you cultivate the part of your brain to jog your memory when the exams come.
- Balance. As a reminder, you are not a superhero! Do not burn out with trying to study at all times. You have to find that balance. I have had to learn this the hard way. You cannot study 24/7 as much as you would like to. You have to balance your time in studying, family and for yourself. It has been proven that if you study all of the time, you will lose what you learn because your brain is in overload. In between the comings and goings, I had to make my family a top priority. Whether it was playing games while I was extremely exhausted, listening to my wife talk about the day, or whatever, I had to break down some time to be with my family and put them first. You are nothing without God and family. If you don’t have your life in balance, you will fall flat. This goes back to the first thing I wrote about.
I am sure that I missed something. I mean, there are a lot of things that I left out. What advice would you give to a person going back to school with a full-time job and family?