Grown-ups in School: The Homework Really is Worth It

This afternoon I have tried to sit down and write this article a half dozen times.

Every time I do I am interrupted. The phone was ringing because my softball team is full of questions about the upcoming season. The oven timer kept going off because I was trying to make dozens of cookies so my husband can take them into his shop tomorrow. The email kept dinging because work was reminding us today was the last day to sign time sheets (which of course I forgot). Oh, and my alarm went off to remind me I have homework due this week. All of that in just the four short hours since I got home from work and a grocery run.

Does this sound like anyone else’s life or is it just me? I really hope someone out there is nodding along at this point.

Someone who is trying to do it all.

Someone who refuses to give up on their goals, no matter how crazy life may get.

If that is you or if you want it to be you then grab a drink (coffee or wine, doesn’t matter to me!) and let’s talk about how to tackle the biggest challenge on that list for someone who is trying to do it all and not lose their mind at the same time.

In case you missed it, at 30-something I am a college student again. It’s nuts! Here I am trying to teach middle school kids basic grammar skills and I decided to go back to school. OK, maybe that wasn’t the exact order, but that’s not the important part. I knew that in order to achieve my goals, in order to get farther in my career, I had to go back to college and I had to do well.

For me that meant no matter what I had to make my education a priority.

I know going back to college as an adult isn’t easy. Besides the generation gap that makes you feel ancient on campus, by the time we hit our 30s we have so much going on that education just doesn’t always top the priority list. Sometimes I think people my age are too afraid to go back and feel like they forget everything they knew from high school.

If that is the case then I’d suggest looking into auditing a course. A lot of colleges, including community colleges, will allow you to audit a class. It allows you to take a course without actually getting credit for it and it will help you dip your toes back into what it takes to be a college kid.

Another thing that scares people off is the schedule and obligations of being in school. I remember when I started college at 18 a professor told us that for every 1 credit hour of a class you were enrolled in you should expect to do 3 hours of homework a week. At that time I was in four different three credit hour classes. Do the math and you come out with 36 hours of homework a week. That’s almost a full time job! Just for homework! I’m not sure about you, but I do not have 36 extra hours a week for homework.

No one says that you have to take a full, or overloaded, course load when you return to college as an adult. When I started my second bachelor’s degree, I was enrolled in a school that offered only 5-week classes and they wouldn’t let you take more than one at a time. Even I could manage one class at a time.

Now I’m working on my master’s and have learned just how much time it takes to write lesson plans, do major research papers and participate in discussion boards. Sure, sometimes it is still a little more than I want to do in a week. But I am mature enough to know that waking up a little early will ensure that I have time to do an assignment before going to work and will free up my nights to spend time with my husband.