With more people than ever making big lifestyle changes, including rethinking their careers, finishing bachelor’s degrees, or working remotely, life is hectic for many. If you’re like many people who are juggling daily responsibilities with coursework or simply considering applying to a bachelor’s degree program or online program for an associate’s degree, there are three things you’ll want to think about to better manage your time in college. For tips on ways to make the most of your time and even free up time for self-care while you’re in school, read on.
1. Consider an online program.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to become an RN. Or perhaps you’d like to become a nurse practitioner through one of your area’s BSN to NP online programs. If nursing, advanced practice, or even becoming a nurse educator through an MSN program is one of your goals, you may find the best way to juggle an intense MSN program is to take it online. While you’ll need to gain your clinical experience in person, by taking the bulk of your core classes through an online program, you’ll have more flexibility with your time.
If you’re already working as a registered nurse, you know how busy clinics are because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience at work has likely shown you just how important time management is. For a busy, essential worker like you, it might make the most sense to get your BSN over the internet while you’re still working.
On top of the flexibility an online program offers, you’d have a better chance at working at your own pace while stocking up on those clinical hours. If you aren’t sure how an online MSN program, a BSN program, or even a nurse practitioner program might fit into your schedule, try calling a local school to ask about their online learning options. You might be surprised just how easy it is to fit studies between clinical rotations. When making this call, ask if your current employer about an approved clinical site or any required clinical hours and overall program length, too. Ask about specialties and specializations like advanced physiology or mental health nursing when you call. Knowing all of your options and being detailed will help.
2. Plot out your time and goals.
There are only so many hours in the day. Maybe you hope to earn a master’s degree in psychology or master of science in sociology and have no interest in going to school for advanced nursing practice. Someone like you likely knows the importance of self-care to make it successfully through any degree program. One way to ensure you’re getting what you need for mental wellness is to create a pie chart showing how you plan to spend your time during school. Set aside so many hours for online coursework, studying, spending time with friends and family, and doing things you enjoy. If you can stick to it, you’ll have a better overall college experience and avoid burnout.
3. Make core courses a priority.
Regardless of whether you’ll be attending school on a full-time basis or you’ll be joining the growing number of online learners part-time, meeting with school administrators to plan out your coursework and when you’ll take each class is important to managing your time. The best learners often find that focusing on their core classes early on is a great way to structure their program so that core courses are taken care of in the event of an illness or as things get more hectic toward the end of a program. Meeting with an academic advisor to talk about transfer credits and core course requirements early is a great way to build your college academic experience.
In the end, whether your goal is to earn a master’s degree, to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, or to get professional experience while attending classes online and through a hybrid campus program, you’ll increase your odds of success if you make time management and self-care a priority. By considering an online program, plotting out your time and goals, and making your core courses your focus, you’ll be well on your way to a balanced schedule in college. Best of luck in your studies and whatever career you decide to pursue.