It’s never too late to expand your skill-set or change career paths. As the professional landscape continues to change in unprecedented ways, this has become more apparent than ever. Whether you’ve already completed a degree program in your chosen field or have never tried your hand at higher education, returning to school is always an option. This is even true in the case of parents, many of whom believe that they simply lack the bandwidth to go back to school in earnest. Any mom or dad looking to earn a degree will be well-served by the following pointers.   

Find a Flexible Degree Program

Many schools realize that degree programs are no longer a “one size fits all” affair. In decades past, there was no viable alternative to attending classes in person on your professors’ schedules. However, over the last 20 years, remote learning options have grown in both scope and viability. So, if the traditional higher learning experience isn’t particularly well-suited to your schedule, career or lifestyle, look into flexible online options. This will enable you to attend classes and complete coursework at a more comfortable pace, thereby making your return to school considerably less stressful.     

Consider Amending Your Work Schedule

If you currently work full or part-time, it may be in your best interest to amend your work schedule. Of course, if you’re able to find a degree program flexible enough to not interfere with your work schedule, more power to you. Still, if work does directly cut into your class schedule, consider asking for fewer hours and/or the privilege of working from home.

Furthermore, if you think your educational efforts would benefit from taking a temporary leave of absence or simply leaving a job altogether, this might be something to discuss with your partner. If your family can comfortably get by on a single income, your current efforts might be better focused on earning a degree that will ultimately increase your long-term earning power – like RN programs.

Learn to Accept Help

A fair number of us are hesitant to accept help under any circumstances, regardless of how badly we happen to need it. Unsurprisingly, parents returning to school tend to require help in a number of areas – most notably childcare. So, if your class schedule will prevent you from being home as often as usual, don’t be shy about reaching out to close friends and family members. Odds are they’ll be more than willing to watch your little ones on a regular basis, and the absolute worst thing that could come of asking is being told no.

Furthermore, if you have a spouse or partner, don’t be afraid to ask them to take on some extra responsibilities with regard to childcare. After all, this is a partnership, and if you can’t impose upon one another in times of great need, when can you? You’d likely do the same for your partner under similar circumstances, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t support you in your return to school.

Develop a New Routine

One of the reasons many parents – and many non-parents, for that matter – are hesitant about returning to school is the change in routine this entails. Over time, people develop set routines, and the longer one sticks to a particular routine, the more difficult making alterations to it is liable to seem. While it’s true that shaking up an established routine can initially prove challenging, you’ll eventually get used to your new routine. So, rather than view going back to school as an event that will destroy the daily routine that you’ve established, you’d do well to regard it as the start of an exciting new chapter of your life.

It’s easy to see why so many people are hesitant to continue their education. After all, if you’ve been away from school for an extended period, returning to the classroom is liable to seem like a difficult prospect – especially if you now have children to look after. However, while being a student and a parent is liable to present a few challenges, it’s far from impossible. Regardless of how intimidated you are by the idea of heading back to school as a parent, continuing your education is likely well within your abilities.