It is often said that knowledge is power. This could be the explanation behind the fact that many people continue pursuing their careers to higher levels. This happens even when people have hit an older age but are still pursuing their studies. Adult learners have quite a lot of responsibilities, which means that they have to have a good balance between work, family, and their school work. The essay below looks at how adult learners can address these factors in their lives.
Managing School as an Adult Learner
It is pure logic that if possible, one should pursue his career to the furthest point before settling down to life. This can give the individual a chance to be well established in career life and also make the individual feel content with his life. That can happen in an ideal world. However, the world we live in is anything but ideal. There are changes here and there, some of which drive individuals to doing things that they had not imagined that they could do. Similarly, here are different reasons that can land an adult person into a learning institution. First of all, there is the fact that technology keeps on changing. As such, an individual who is qualified in a given area can find himself becoming obsolete if people who are more advanced in the area come up. There is also the need for personal development where an individual feels that in order to reach the actualization level; there is the need to go for further studies. The need for a hire posting at the work place as well as the changing job specifications and requirements see many people head back to the classrooms when they are quite of an age. Regardless of the reason, it remains that one who goes back to school has to be well organized to face the challenges that come about. Below is a discussion of three of the greatest challenges that the people face.
The greatest challenge that these people face is the pressure to find a balance between family and education. The adult students often feel that they take so much time at school, leaving less time to be with family (University of Winscosin, 2011). It is well known that every individual wants to be a good parent. As such, it is admirable to come from work, help the children with their homework, take an evening walk with the spouse and the family pet, or do something that entails the bonding of a family. These pleasures seem to be forgotten once an individual registers for adult learning. At times, the program might call for the individual to relocate from the home base, which means being away from the family for a long time. Another angle to this issue is that if the individual decides to spend time with the family, then the educational priorities will be compromised (WSU, 2011). Handling these issue just calls for proper organization on the individual’s side. The concern should be on the quality of the time spent with the family rather than the quantity of time. Being an adult learner does not mean that the individual does not have to do things together with the family. For instance, the parent can study in the same room with the children, with everyone reading their own material. In fact, this can be encouraging for the children. The learner should also make sure that there are specific times when he can be with the family. For instance, an inclusion of a weekly evening out with the family can help to relax the situation. Such strategies can make sure that the individual does not compromise the school grades and neither does the family feel neglected. After all, it is a small sacrifice for the family to make when the individual goes for the adult learning. After all, it is the family who will ultimately benefit from the returns of the activity.
Romero (2011) indicates that if family is a nightmare to adult learners, then the job becomes a real horror story. She observes that save for the people who get study leaves, the rest of the adult learners have to do it the hard way. They have to register for part time classes which mean that they are occupied in the late evenings or the early mornings. A significant portion of their weekend also goes to studying. With the recent developments, on-line classes have also become a favorite for adult learners as they can attend classes without the usual hassles of having to hurry to the lecture room. All these challenges have an impact on the careers of the individuals (Romero, 2011). First of all, it is very apparent that the people are usually worn out. The pressures from school home and the workplace make the individuals have an elevated level of psychological pressure, which can compromise their productivity levels. There is also the burn out where the individuals get so worn out that they cannot do some things correctly. In other words, it is very likely that the quality of work for an adult learner tends to be compromised. In addressing this challenge, Romero (2011) suggests that the individuals should have a way to release the extra tension. For instance, an evening walk or a therapy session can help in venting out the pent-up pressure in an individual. Procrastination should also be avoided at all cost since it leads to the accumulation of the workload. As such, an adult-learner should make sure that what was supposed to be done in a given day is accomplished in that particular day. Of course, this calls for good planning where the individual makes sure that he does not bite more than he can chew. Another way out could be making sure that one takes only the tasks that can be handled effectively. It would be better to consult with the human resource and get something that is more manageable than to take up a project that one cannot handle alongside the class work. If an individual works in a very busy environment, it would be a good idea to consult with the HR and make special arrangements for the duration of study. Both education and the job are important and none should be compromised to the benefit of the other.
Time management is a virtue that needs to be mastered not only by the adult learners but by all professionals. Time is never elastic, but the quality of time can be improved depending on how an individual decides to use it. Finding a balance in time between school, job and the family is quite an elusive aspect for the adult learners. However, University of New South Wales (2012) has it that good time management can lead to an easy time for the adult learners. However, they need to master some major skills. For instance, they should totally avoid the issue of procrastination, as earlier mentioned. It does not matter how small a task is, it should be accomplished in the time it was planned for. Failure to do so leads to the accumulation of many small tasks, which then become very hard to accomplish. Sacrificing on personal leisure time could also come in and help the people to cope. By registering for the adult lessons, there is already a lot that has been put on the line. As such, an extra sacrifice on the individual’s leisure time could be a small price to pay. For instance, rather than take a siesta or do a non-beneficial activity during leisure time, an individual could do something that refreshes him while still accomplishing some tasks. Multi-tasking, where possible, is also another strategy that can be used in saving time. This is where activities which do not conflict with each other can be carried out at the same time. This can save up the time that could have been spent on accomplishing one task before going on to the next. However, while using this technique, the adult learners should be careful not to compromise the quality of one activity while exaggerating on another. The idea is to select the activities carefully so that both can be carried out to satisfaction simultaneously.
In conclusion, it is clear from the above description that the adult learners have to deal with much pressure and a lot of challenges here and there. Nevertheless, it all depends on how they align themselves to tackle these challenges, a positive attitude and strategy can lead to an easy time while a poor schedule can make life a hell for the individual. The three areas that need much attention are family, career and schooling time. Al these are important and none is dispensable. All that it calls for is for the adult learner to make a good plan and be disciplined enough to follow it up. As it is commonly put, proper planning prevents poor performance and failure to plan is a plan to fail. Proper planning is the key behind successful balance between the three issues of interest. If an individual is bent on taking all that education has to offer, then he has to be ready to make all the sacrifices that the task calls for. It is not an easy endeavor but the benefits speak for themselves.
Romero, M. (2007). Distance Learners’ Work Life Learning Balance. Retrieved on 17th Sept. 2012 from http://www.sinte.es/websinte/images/pdf/romero2.pdf
Unsw.edu. (2012). Time Management for Adult Learners. Retrieved on 17th Sept. 2012 from http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/firststeps/nsl_time.html
Uwc.edu. (2011). Fears, Concerns, and Challenges for Adult Students. Retrieved on 17th Sept. 2012 from http://www.barron.uwc.edu/students/adults/services/challenges/