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SIers, who did/do school,work and kids... How did you manage?

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Ariabook posted 9/16/2013 19:41 PM

My schoolwork
Critical Thinking

Is taking a serious hit 'cause of lack of sleep, eating habits and stress! I know many who manage to do well despite all these things but I'm drowning

I space out a lot and barely understand what I read. I rarely participate cause I just don't know what to say, I get confused so easily now! I was not like this before. I was always an above average student, now I can't keep up.

What to do? I'm at loss! I'm taking a really intense English Class and I don't want to drop it, I really don't but I don't understand half of the things I read.

TIA I really need help with this one!

Amazonia posted 9/16/2013 19:56 PM

Drop kids from the list and replace it with a full time job + full course load (12-18 hours a week) and that was my past year. It's TOUGH. You have to be brutal with your time and really prioritize the demands on you.

Where can your kids help?
What can you drop? (Hint: housework is over rated and kids won't die from eating frozen pizza or burritos a few nights a week until your class ends)
Where can you find time to focus?

Don't try to multi task. I know it sounds counter productive, but most people actually do worse while multitasking, despite thinking that they do better. Focus your energy in one place at a time.

When I was really overwhelmed, a change of scenery helped a lot. A sleepy sports bar on my block became the best place for me to do reading; the bartenders were really good at filling my water glass and I got to finish the night with a well earned beer and I tipped more than I paid.

Timers can help too. Set an alarm for thirty minutes, one hour, ten minutes, whatever you need and focus on one thing for that time, whether it's a paper or a textbook or getting a load of laundry tossed in. Or asking your kids about their day. Don't worry about anything but what you're focusing on during that time, give it your FULL attention.

Make sure to get enough sleep, so you're making the most of your waking hours.

Don't be afraid to ask for help - with school concepts, with homework, with kids.

And most importantly, give yourself grace. You don't have to do everything on Pinterest (heck, for that matter, close your Pinterest and Facebook accounts until the class is done lol), you don't need to make straight A's, you don't need to understand every concept perfectly.

GabyBaby posted 9/16/2013 20:03 PM

Looking back, I'm really not sure how I did it and retained my sanity. I don't think I went to bed before 1am for several years.

I was married with kids, worked full time, and was going to school full time as well.

I did a lot of pre-cooking on weekends. Crockpot meals and freezer meals (prepped the prior weekend) were a huge staple for a long while.
I had to let go of a clean house and settled for tidy instead.

For me it was more of a "have to" than a "want to", since my finishing my education was a huge part of my exit plan from my former marriage.

Hang in there! You CAN do it, but it wont be easy.

[This message edited by GabyBaby at 8:04 PM, September 16th (Monday)]

Ariabook posted 9/16/2013 20:23 PM

Amazonia - I cannot live with thought of NOT understand everything I read. I just can't. I suck at math, I NEED to be good at something

I don't have a FB, gave up on Pinterest and never had an Instagram. My problem is the over thinking, fretting about everything but what's in front of me.

You ladies sound like troopers!

jjct posted 9/16/2013 20:34 PM

I went to bed at the same time as my kids.
Can you imagine studying pseudostratified columnar epithelium when they come into the room saying; "Daddy daddy let's go play football!"

I would set the alarm at 2 or 3, then study. In the quiet of the night.

Made it through.
So will you.

Sidenote - have not set an alarm in years!

peacelovetea posted 9/16/2013 20:49 PM

I am extremely organized and make a lot of lists. A lot. I have given up on reading everything I am supposed to and having a clean house. I cook for the freezer on breaks so I can just pull out a baggie and microwave it for dinner when time is tight. I use my headphones a lot, and bring the kids places to do kid stuff like jump on bouncy houses while I study. I am so happy their school is back in session because summer quarter was terrible.

And honestly, I absolutely prioritize sleep, because I know if I am not sleeping nothing good will happen. Sleep is not negotiable.

And in a pinch, I am willing to take extra loan money to pay for some childcare to study. I try not to, being a broke single mom, but my studies are my ticket to not being broke any longer and so the loans are a good investment.

Its a hard life but I love it. Hang in there!

NotDefeatedYet posted 9/16/2013 21:06 PM

I used to work 2pm to midnight and had school from 7am to noon. I would go straight from school to work and either do homework, or sleep in my car in the parking lot. It was tough, but the worst part is I really don't remember much of my oldest daughters when they were young. When I actually had time around them, I always had a video camera in my hand. I'm so thankful for that, because now I can watch a casual afternoon of just watching them play. All stuff I don't remember because my life was work and school.

cmego posted 9/16/2013 21:26 PM

It is definitely hard. I have primary custody of kids and working on a Master's Degree and Assoc. Degree simultaneously. (I already have my Bachelors). Plus own a house, have a dog and have family.

I stick to a schedule. Walk kids to school, then walk another hour for my health (priority), then in shower and study for 4 straight hours most days of the week. At least one day a week is spent doing errands/groceries. I do at least one thing for the house every day (run around and clean toilets/pay bills/ pick up/vacuum). Then, when kids are home from school and working on homework then I prep for dinner/more cleaning/make phone calls/laundry. Two nights a week are soccer practice, one night a week is an in-person class, every thing else is on-line. It is a killer schedule. There is no down time and there is never a break. The kids only go to ex's every other weekend, and at least one full day on my off weekend is dedicated to writing papers. Soccer is every weekend. My friends are beginning to think I died.

When I cook a decent meal, I pack some for kids left overs for lunch the next day, then freeze the rest for future quick meals. If I make pancakes on the weekend, again, I make double and freeze. Anywhere I can make double and freeze 1/2, I do.

It sucks, no doubt. My friends are beginning to complain they don't see me, but it is what it is. I also try to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep and try to get exercise most days. I never feel caught up, I feel like things "slip" and I feel guilty for not studying. But, I also chant to myself "two more years, two more years, two more years".

Phoenix1 posted 9/17/2013 02:19 AM

Worked full time, went to school, raised three kids, three dogs, and took care of three elderly relatives (one fighting cancer). This went on for undergrad, two grad degrees, and most doctoral course work...or about 14 years.

My life saver was being well organized. I wrote down everything and used calendars extensively. I helped my kids with their homework in the evenings after dinner and didn't even start my school work until they went to bed because I knew it was pointless. It is tough, but as I tell my students, college is primarily a test of perseverance.

It is also important to know what you can let slide, I.e., prioritize and don't sweat the small stuff.

It CAN be done, and you will be so proud of yourself if you see it thru. There were a lot of times when I was so burned out that I wanted to stop, but I kept plugging away. Don't give up and hang in there!

Something my mother told me years ago that has always stuck with me and saw me thru my burnout phases: Time is going to pass whether you are doing something constructive or not...

[This message edited by Phoenix1 at 2:30 AM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

tesla posted 9/17/2013 06:31 AM

I prioritize. And right now I'm sacrificing a few points on my coursework in places I can afford to because I just don't have the time to focus on it.

I do not cook right now. Everything we eat is a frozen something or a pb&j or mac'n'cheese.

I clean...once a week...maybe. Yeah, not going to win any awards for housekeeper of the year...the house will keep till my load lightens in a couple of months.

I do force myself to take one afternoon on the weekend and do whatever I feel like and not feel guilty about it. It helps me refocus.

I have a planner with lots and lots of lists.

NaiveAgain posted 9/17/2013 07:27 AM

Last year I was a full time student, worked 2 part time jobs (one all weekend and one during the week), was a single parent, was the president of our student government and also the regional representative on the President's Council and ran for political office in my county. Looking back, I have no idea how I did it but this year I cut everything out except work, school, kids so I could de-stress, catch up on my health care, and rest a bit!

I do know that my agenda was crucial, and when I would give talks about successful leadership and fitting it all in, I stressed having an agenda and planning well.

I take my agenda with me everywhere I go (yes, even the grocery, because if I get a call I can write it in immediately so days don't get overbooked).

I also would take my homework with me when I knew I would be waiting in line somewhere. I studied at the doctor's office, on the treadmill (great time to read chapters and memorize things), even in line at the DMV!

Organization is important but my housework did suffer. I had to have my kids pitch in with yardwork and things like sweeping, cleaning the bathroom, and loading the dishwasher. They have been doing their own wash since they turned 12.

And my agenda would look like this:
6:30 to 7 Pay bills
7-8 Eat, kids ready, me ready, check email
8-9 drop off mail, drop off food drive bin, travel
9-12 Class
12-1 Meet with adviser about Presidential duties/fund-raisers
1-2 SGA Meeting
2-3 Homework, email this person, email that person
3-6 Class
and etc.....anything that needed to be done would go into the agenda. I also was sure to put a few hours in there here or there for down-time!

I have to admit my health suffered a bit and I didn't exercise like I used to. I found other ways to get that in, when I had Spanish class, I would take one piece of wash downstairs at a time to the wash machine while learning a vocabulary word. I always got 100% on vocab because that turned out to be a great way to memorize my new words!

Get creative with your time and your studies. My daughter was taking Spanish at the same time so we had some pretty insane Spanish conversations while in the car together....

And make sure you get some exercise in there. That was one thing I gave up (except for my weekly washing trips) that, looking back, was a total mistake.

[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 7:27 AM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

amitheow posted 9/17/2013 07:56 AM

I don't have the kids, but I do have the husband, full time work and school.

I'm able to do a lot of my school at work. If for instance I have a discussion question or an essay due I just pull up a Word document and type on it when I think of something, as I am going about my normal work day. I get two breaks and lunch every day ... and I usually use that to read or make notes or work on something.

So ... I mean you figure it out. I usually get into a rhythm every semester and just try not to deviate from it! It's really hard, I know!!!

EvenKeel posted 9/17/2013 14:25 PM

I was working FT, taking an accelerated course load, 2 kids, owned a house and going through my D. In hindsight, I have NO clue how I survived, let alone remained on the Dean's list the entire time.

One of the first things the professor did was how use how much time it would take between classes and homework. Then we had to draw up a plan of where that time would come from each day.

It was funny....the one girl announced "I guess eating and hygiene has to go".

For me, TV went for those years. I always had my books with me and read in any gap of time (while DD was in dance class, etc).

The most helpful advice I got was don't get obsessed with being the best - just be the best you can be right now.

It is not fair to set your standards the same as someone who is in college, living in a dorm with no kids and no job (or a limited hour one). You just have to do the best you can do in your current situation.

My brain definitely is not as "receptive" as it was when I was 18 either.

I graduated in 2012 and my brain still is recovering. I will only read light-fun books. It is just not ready for anymore heavy-thinking after being overloaded all that time.

[This message edited by EvenKeel at 2:28 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

Amber13 posted 9/17/2013 17:39 PM

My youngest are still at home so I study around them. Just 15/20 mins light reading throughout the day, heavy ready when they are in bed. I have family take them for a few hours when assessments are due. Forget cleaning and home cooked meals.
We follow semi-strict routines and are very organised. Social activities has to go, maybe down to one a week. It over takes your life but it's not forever.

Mama_of_3_Kids posted 9/17/2013 21:04 PM

My babes were tiny's when I was going to college. I did homework after I got home at night (I worked seconds). I had a lot of help from my MIL and h, but it was still very hard. I made note cards to help me memorize the information and made sure to take notes in class. I also always did the test blueprints to make sure I knew what would be on the test. Again, it's difficult, but not impossible

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