Parenting is hard by itself, now go ahead and throw employment and graduate school on top of that. Sounds like a recipe for chaos, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can accomplish graduate school while working and parenting! I want to share with you tips to consider when starting graduate school. Some of these tips may not work for you, but I hope you resonate with at least one.
- Passion- Be passionate about what you want to study. Simply put: If you don’t like it- don’t do it! Chances are if you are not passionate, you will probably talk yourself out of graduate school, or you will be miserable the entire time while you are doing it.
- Research- Research the university you want to join. One of the reasons why I selected University of Maryland, Baltimore at USG was because of a solid ranking social work program paired with its relatively affordable tuition costs. If you are going to invest all your time and effort, let it be well worth it in the end!
- Flexible employment- Your employer should be open and flexible to your educational needs. You may need one of the following:
- to leave early to go for afternoon classes
- to work from home
- an adjusted schedule to complete your internship/field placement.
- “5- mile rule” -Try to at least have childcare, school or employment within a 5-mile radius of your home. I have positioned my children’s daycare and USG to be within those 5 miles. The only time that I travel more than that is for work. (Score!).
- Register for classes early! – To ensure that your classes are in sync with your routine, ensure you get first “dibs” by signing up as soon as you are able. Trust me; you do not want to unnecessarily overhaul your existing routine for a single class.
- Involve family/Support systems- Speak to family members about helping. You may need someone to watch the kids as you run upstairs to take that exam!
- Expect the unexpected- After all your planning, leave a little wiggle room for the unexpected (Did I hear someone say stomach bug?). We all know that as a parent, we do not have full control over some things. Be open to communicating with your professor if you need any additional accommodations.
Feel free to share my thought process with a parent who is thinking about graduate school!