Maybe you’ve been in school for awhile and you’re starting to have some doubts. Your grades are fine and you don’t really feel overwhelmed, but on the drive home from school, you find yourself saying things like: “This class is harder than I thought it would be.”
Before you started taking classes, you put together a plan of how to balance work, home, and studying. Now that you have to put that plan in action, you realize you might need a little more time to really understand what you’re learning—or you just might need some time to think.
This isn’t unusual—in fact, students who have been taking classes for years find they have to adjust their schedules every semester, depending on how many classes they’re taking, and how difficult they are.
Find some quiet time
The first step is to find some quiet time. You may not need more time to study, as much as you need some time to yourself. For starters, keep the radio off when you’re in the car or on the bus, and don’t talk on the phone while you’re driving or riding. You’d be amazed what a little quiet will do to help you think more clearly, and you can give that time to yourself by powering off.
Next, see if you can find a hole that can be filled with focused study time. That twenty minutes you sit in the car at your children’s school is a great time to review your notes or re-read the chapter—and rather than burn you out, this will actually increase your energy level. Same thing at work; see if ten minutes of studying during your break makes you shift mental gears and makes you more focused on studying and on the job.
Like good hockey players, students look for the openings, and make the most of them—so channel your inner Sydney Crosby and look for a clear space. If you need help with this, seek out a tutor or counselor to help.
Why am I taking this class?
Students usually ask this question on the ride home from a class that isn’t directly related to what they want to do with their lives. A nursing student has to take a Government class; an aspiring auto mechanic has to get past Algebra; a business major has to take Art Appreciation.
If you hit this wall, it’s time to remember the big picture. Auto mechanics need to know about pressure, volume, and force—all math concepts. You might not need to know how old Bob is if he’s twice as old as Mary, but you need to be able to move numbers around so you can tweak engines and rotate tires with confidence. This is just basic training.
As for Government and the art class, well, that’s life—really. Right now, all you want is a better job, but colleges know what you’ll need to grow once you get that job, and thrive beyond your wildest dreams. Nursing students who know how government works can get the next promotion and help their hospital implement new healthcare laws, and business majors need to know about paintings so they can hang art in their offices that tells clients they know about more than spreadsheets.
It may seem like you’re in over your head right now, but find the time to clear your head, then look down the road a little. You’re likely to find new reasons why what you do today impacts the things you can do tomorrow—and that’s enough to give anybody’s day new meaning, focus, and energy.