Congratulations, you've done it! You are starting online college. The benefits of online school convinced you it is the right choice: flexible hours, no commute, the latest teaching resources and world class instructors. The biggest reason was that you could keep your full-time job and get a degree at the same time.
This comes with the realization that you now really have two jobs. Online college takes considerable effort and discipline from you to be successful. It will be the balance between the demands of your paying job and your online learning that will be critical to your success. Here are tips to help you thrive in both school and work.
Know When You Are at Your Best
You may be someone who jumps out of bed full of energy in the morning or you become energized once the sun goes down. Whenever you are the most alert is when you should be focused on your online learning. A morning person with a day job should consider waking up early in order to get some study hours in before work. Night owls are all set for end of the day studying — just remember to sleep.
Don't Overload Your Online Schedule
Online learning allows you to keep working your full-time job while maintaining your income. There are still a fixed number of hours in the day, and you will need to sleep. Trying to take on too many online courses at once can cause burnout and either your job, studies or, if you're completely over-extended, both, will suffer. Your job schedule is an immovable object. It is okay to take a little longer to complete your online degree and do well by keeping a course load that you can manage.
Have a Dedicated Work Space
Managing your time is the central theme to balancing a job and online education. If you find yourself pulling out your computer and spending time getting yourself settled with everything you need before you can start studying, it may add up to a lot of extra time spent. When you have a space set aside for school you can get down to work right away — no wasted time.
School is as much about networking as it is about learning; an online education is no different. Take the time to connect online with your fellow students. People worry about having a study buddy when they start online learning. Online learning benefits from all the social networking tools that keep people connected these days. Having a chat with fellow students over a "virtual coffee" is an important part of your learning experience.
Photo source: morgueFile