The question of how one balances their life with school is a loaded one. Whether it be your social life, your work life, your family life or all of the above it is important to make time for everything. This can be particularly difficult when you throw a distance education course into the mix. The benefit to having your classes online is that you can work at your own pace, on your own time. The downfall to this is that it is incredibly easy to fall behind if you do not dedicate yourself to it.
For myself, I work a full-time job while going to school and trying to maintain a social and family life. I am lucky in that the people close to me are very understanding (for the most part) of the amount of work I have on my plate. I feel for the past few month in which I have being juggling these aspects of life, I have been (mostly) successful. Some of the secrets to my success are as follows. I try and keep a consistent schedule, no matter what day of the week it is. There is no sleeping in for me anymore. I get up early every day, have a little down time and then get right to completing my day`s coursework. On weekdays I go to work in the afternoon, on the weekends I spend time with my friends and family. This is how every week has been since I started all those many months ago. Organization and planning is another big factor to being successful at balancing everything in your life and not feel like you are always missing out. Is there a party on the weekend you really want to go to? Well you lose out on something else earlier in the week to make up the time. That is the beauty of the coursework being online; you are able to decide when you do your work. You do need to allot yourself a certain amount of time to study and yes, it can be shifted around if necessary, but your study time can never be decreased because that is how we fall behind.
Now it seems easy in theory, but to put a plan like this into practice is actually a lot more difficult. You have to be able to say no to the cheap night at the movies because it is more important to go to work to make sure you have a pay cheque coming in. You can`t stay out late on the weekends with your friends because you have to get up early and study (I have definitely learned my lesson on this one, it`s not worth it to only get 3 hours sleep!). The best way to look at it, I find, is that it is short term pain for long term gain. It is difficult to miss the birthday parties or the vacations, but it is not for long and in the end you come out with the skills you need to pursue a great career in the healthcare field and that`s what we`re all here for!