At age fifty-five, after receiving several promotional emails from Thomas Edison State University, I made a decision to stop binge watching Netflix and do something more productive with my life. Getting my bachelors degree has always been in the back of my mind but I thought that window of opportunity had closed for me since I hadn’t been to college in twenty-five years. But, I took a chance and applied to TESU, had my transcripts sent and waited to see if they would accept any of my credits. Much to my very happy surprise, TESU was able to give me credit for all the credits I had earned going back to 1982! With a husband, two daughters in college, a dog, a home, and a full-time job I knew that good time management would be my biggest challenge and the most important thing I would need to be successful with my internet-based courses.
Right out of the gate, I realized what a challenge it would be. It is so easy to become distracted and fall behind with my studies. Especially at my age, after a long day at work, it’s so tempting to just lay down on the couch and zone out to Netflix. Old habits die hard! I found myself still spending too much time watching TV. I was going to have to manage my time better if I was going to pass this course.
After doing some research, I found out that planning is essential. A good practice is to set aside some time every week to plan the week’s priorities. Then take some time every day to create a daily list of things you want to get done based on your weekly goals. I found a planner book worked better for me than a calendar on my phone. Being able to list out my priorities and action plan is very motivating.
Be realistic; don’t overbook yourself. When I’m overwhelmed with too much to do, I tend to do nothing. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, break large projects or goals into smaller projects or short-term goals. Make it your goal to get at least one important thing done every day and carry over anything you didn’t get done today to tomorrow. If the mountain is too high to climb today, climb a hill instead. When setting goals always be aware of what, why and how. The “what” is the end result, they why is your reason and the how are the steps you will take to get there. Keeping, this in mind will help you stay motivated to stay the course.
Consider ways that your time is being wasted. But make sure you schedule down time to relax and enjoy yourself. This will help you actually relax rather than feel guilty for sitting around doing nothing. It has a purpose which is to allow your battery to recharge.
Getting an internet-based college degree will be a challenge. Many will give up. But if you’re able to manage your time successfully, you will achieve your goal of getting your degree. There will be times that your plans all fall apart, but day by day, if you plan properly and plan for your priorities you will cross the finish line with your diploma in hand.