Balancing College Life with Everyday Demands Essay

Lesson 3 Narration to Process Analysis Draft July 20, 2010 At the age of 27 I found myself in a downward spiral; I was stuck in a dead end job with a family to support but lacked the necessary skills I needed to start a fulfilling career. I knew that going back to college was a necessity to break this cycle, but with all of my obligations how would I make college work for me? I began researching college brochures and one day the answer came to me; an online education.

I choose when to study, how to study which allows me the ability to handle all my priorities while moving at my own pace. Penn Foster laid the foundation to accomplish what I needed to advance; now it’s up to me to succeed at this new endeavor. So just how can one meet the challenge of maintaining a good GPA with all the demands of everyday life? Establishing a healthy balance. To me, having balance means being able to set challenging demands for my everyday life and being able to meet them.

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In my life there are four major demands I wish to achieve by giving each the time and proper attention that it deserves. The first of which is work, the main basis of my current survival. Family, the second and most important part of the equation, keeps me focused and is the emotional support needed to survive long nights and hard courses. Next in the equation are higher learning; the dedication and time needed to maintain a high GPA while earning a diploma.

Lastly, most often overlooked “Me, Myself and I,” taking the time to clear my mind and relax. The only way I achieve balance in my work, home, school and social life is with Time management and Organization. I start off with the exam planner that was sent as an outline of the courses divided equally. Figuring about two weeks between exams I now plan out my schedule for the month. I set a goal of what I wish to accomplish for this month. Now I plan out my week, using my work schedule as the first priority, usually having a four day work week.

Then I eliminate the hours of 1:00 – 6:00pm for picking up my daughter from school, preparing dinner, and going over homework with her. One day is dedicated to spending family time and another for completing household chores and miscellaneous tasks for the upcoming week. My daughter usually goes to bed by eight in the next hour I unwind and get quality me time. The following two hours are spent typing up notes, reviewing previous lessons or preparing to take that next exam. Designating time frames daily for each area helps me succeed at accomplishing my goals. I initially plan to study five days a week, but I learned to expect the unexpected. Some weeks I only manage to get four while others I may get six days. Opportunities open up on occasion when I get more time to study then I initially expect, but obstacles arise where I have less study time. I commute to work every day on the train for a hour and use that time to study. Sitting on the train is a great opportunity to read chapters, takes notes, and review items. But then there are those occasions when my studies get cut drastically for that week.

A coworker gets sick and needs me to cover their shift or my daughter has an unexpected fever and requires all of my attention. These emergencies take priority over any schedule previously comprised and then when all is back to normal I can resume my regular routines and get back to my studies. Focus is the last tool in finding balance. Trying to study with constant interruptions gets nothing accomplished. No procrastination allowed in the schedule. As easy as it is for me to say I will read this chapter tomorrow, I put that energy into reading the chapter now.

Although at times a course gets frustrating, so a break is needed to clear my mind, this way I can start fresh and resume back at a later time to maintain my sanity. Accomplishment combined with enjoyment is the back bone for maintaining a balance this applies not just in my studies but with everything I do in life. The best way I achieved balance is by taking every task, obstacle and opportunity on a week by week and sometimes even a day by day basis helps me find that sense of achievement. Focus and Persistence is the key to maintaining a constant balance.

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