Enrolling in college as an adult can be terrifying. You’re not the typical freshman; you may be 20 years older than the other students in your classes. Blending in with the student body isn’t an option. On top of that, you may be juggling full-time employment or a family, on top of keeping up with your reading and homework. While it’s easy to put off enrolling because of your age, you shouldn’t let that fear hold you back. Here are some tips to help adult learners adjust to being a college student.
Find a support system
College is difficult. It often requires a lot of long nights spent working on reading and finishing papers. Finding a support system will help you to make it through the semester without losing your sanity. Whether it’s your parents, your children, your spouse, your friends, or a combination of all four, having a personal group of cheerleaders will help push you to get through the hard times. A strong support system will also be there to help you to celebrate the good times.
While it may seem weird to make friends in college when you’re an adult, it will help you in the long-run. Maybe they won’t be lifelong friends, but having connections in your classes will help you if you ever have to miss a class for any reason. Having someone who will catch you up on what you missed and give you the homework assignment is invaluable. Another way to make connections is by attending professors office hours. Professors offer those hours for a reason; use them. Make an appointment and speak about something you maybe didn’t fully grasp during class, or ask your professor to expand on an idea you found particularly interesting. As the experts in a given field, they love to talk to students who want to learn more,
Be proud of your accomplishments
Deciding to go back to school as an adult is not an easy decision to make. Balancing schoolwork on top of life isn’t an easy feat either. If you’ve been able to make it work, be proud of yourself. When you receive a high grade on an assignment or ace your midterm exam, reward yourself for your success. Whether it’s by treating yourself to ice cream or taking a nap, don’t let your accomplishments slip by without acknowledging the hard work that helped you to achieve them.