Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Balancing life, work, and school. What works for you?

Sylvia Bowers answers another question for us about her experience with LSSC - Library Support Staff Certification.

What techniques have you learned in order to balance your work/school/home life?

I try to schedule no more than 2-hours per day during the week to do general classwork; this usually falls between 8pm to 10pm after my household has quieted down and I can focus. I block larger sections of time on the weekends to work on bigger class projects. If I’m feeling pressured to get my assignments done in too little time, I will schedule a couple vacation hours to accommodate the extra time needed to do a good job. I have only had to do this two to three times. Also, a couple of the instructors have stated up front in their syllabus the amount of time they expect to be spent on classwork and assignments. The class I am taking right now, Adult Readers’ Advisory, specified that students should be able to complete classwork and assignments in 7 to 10 hours per week. I try to use this as a guideline, so I’m not spending more time than is expected. If an instructor has not stated their time expectations then I will simply ask and this then gives a good baseline from which to plan.

The absolutely most useful thing I did when I first started taking classes was to connect to the internet at home so I could do my classwork from home. I found, though, that I was still spending too much time isolated from my family, so I got a laptop. With a laptop I can sit in the living room with my family while they’re reading or visiting and I can do my classwork. It usually takes longer to do my work because there are interruptions, but that’s okay, because this setup meets my emotional need to spend time with my family in the evening.

Thanks, Sylvia. Do you have any questions or comments for Sylvia? Just click on the link below!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Sylvia! You really are a model for this experience. My situation was a little different. I worked full time and took upper division college classes, usually one each term, for 4 years. In the summers, I'd take 2 classes. Short summer classes and intersession classes are a good bet. I took vacation time for one short class. I did it all without a home computer, using the computers at our library. I wouldn't want to do that again.

    Doing work every day really was necessary. The more you write, the easier writing gets, but I still hate that undecided feeling when your mind is "circling" a topic. I also found it helpful to get textbooks early and get started before the class began, especially with hard classes. You never know when something will happen that knocks you off schedule, and being ahead can come in handy.

    One thing that people should know is that if you work for a university, there is usually a "staff discount" for taking classes there. Employees of the Oregon University System can take classes at 25% of the normal cost of tuition. You can think of this as a "working person's scholarship." This may move higher education into the realm of affordability for some people. I hope someday there will be an equivalent opportunity for people who work in public libraries.