It is a well-known fact that one of the best ways to set yourself up for greater success and career advancement in most fields is to earn an advanced degree of some sort. Whether you are looking to build a business career and climb the ranks at a certain company or to specialize in a certain area of medicine, career advancement is something that doesn’t come without perseverance and hard work.
That being said, there are very few careers that are conducive to taking time away from work in order to attend school full-time in an effort to earn an advanced degree. In fact, most aspiring professionals find themselves in a situation where they must work to balance their career and their education at the same time.
Earning an advanced degree while keeping up with your day job is no small task. There are a lot of considerations to make prior to embarking on such a journey and there will be a number of sacrifices along the way. Nevertheless, earning your degree while also continuing to work and build your career can be done with the right preparation and dedication to your path.
If you are preparing to enroll in an advanced degree program and plan to continue working either full time or part time throughout, here are a few tips that can help you to strike the right balance so as to give yourself the very best chances of success along the way.
Choose the Right Program
First and foremost, finding success while you are going to be working and enrolled in school at the same time involves finding the right degree program for you. While you might know what sort of degree you wish to pursue, no two programs are identical. There are many factors to consider when weighing your options from the difficulty level of a certain program to the time commitment that you are going to have to make to complete it.
Some working students opt for part-time education options so that they don’t have to cut corners with their jobs. Others are willing to put in the effort to start going to school full-time. While this is no doubt the option that will grant you your degree sooner, it means making some more significant sacrifices in regard to other areas of your life along the way.
Another great option that students these days can consider is that of an online degree program. These tend to not only be less restrictive in regard to a set schedule, but they are also more affordable on average than more traditional, on-campus options. The flexibility that online degree programs provide means that you can construct your schedule as you see fit so that you don’t have to make as many compromises with work.
You might be surprised to learn that there are online learning options available for most professionals. Even medical professionals seeking advanced degrees can consider online degree programs. For instance, if you are a nurse who is looking to advance your career and become a family nurse practitioner (FNP), you can enroll in an excellent online FNP program that is designed to meet the needs of working registered nurses.
Set Yourself Up for Success
So much about being able to strike the right balance between work and school involves being proactive on the frontend of things. Before your classes start, you need to take definitive steps towards setting yourself up for success.
The most obvious first step to this process is to invest in a good planner and physically write out your schedule. Block out plenty of time throughout the week for additional study sessions and the time that it will take to complete required coursework. Be honest with yourself about the amount of time that it will take you to complete such things. Overcrowding your schedule by being optimistic about how quickly you can get things done will only lead to more stress and difficulties along the way.
Another aspect of setting yourself up for success involves the actual setup that you create for yourself. You can’t expect to get much schoolwork done when you are out of the office if you don’t have a designated workspace that you can go to. It is a good idea to set up a workspace for yourself at home in an area of your house that is quiet and free of distraction. You should make sure that this space is equipped with a comfortable place to sit, plenty of desk space, and decent lighting.
Lastly, you need to ensure that you have a solid support group that you can turn to when things become difficult. You should make your close friends and family members aware of what you are going to be doing in the coming months or maybe even years so that you can advance your career. This will ensure that they are there for you when you need extra support.
Know Your Goals
The time that you are going to be spending earning your degree while continuing to work is doubtless going to be a stressful time. There is going to be less time for socializing with friends and more long nights spent studying and keeping up with coursework. At such times, it is going to be absolutely necessary for you to know precisely why you are going through this process in the first place.
Take the time to clearly define your goals for yourself. It might even be helpful to physically write them out. By having something tangible to turn to in the moments when your motivation is lacking, you can help remind yourself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Bear in mind that just because you lay out your goals as they are today, that doesn’t mean they won’t change and evolve along the way. Understanding your goals, even as the develop, is an important part of the overall process of advancing your career.