When you choose to stay home and raise your children, there is a lot of time you are left with to think. You find yourself reflecting on where you have been and where you would like to see yourself in the future. You have many conversations with other mums that are centred around, when, where and how we the collective will return to work and what that looks like. For some it is easy and others it is an ever internal struggle of trying to work out what it is you want to do and how you want to achieve it.
There is a lot to consider when embarking on training, what career you want to pursue, what course that will be best, how you want to study, online vs campus based study, and whether you are made of the right stuff to go through with the pressures of studying. Well I have come up with some tips to help you.
Tip # 1 Back Yourself
As women we need to do this more, we have great intuition; too many of us question our validity, capacity and capability. Don’t let self-doubt stop you looking at training as a valid option because you can have confidence that you can achieve your goals. When I embarked on training I found that the education system is there to support you in achieving your goals. I was surprised when I started studying at how supportive lecturers and fellow students were, and that many of my life experiences helped me when writing essays and working on assignments. Be confident; believe in yourself, because you will be surprised at how much you will enjoy the challenge of discovering more about yourself and the world around you.
Tip # 2 Ask for Financial Support
Affordability is probably the number one hoop to jump through, weighing up whether you can afford to study when already your finances are tight. When you sign up for a course remember to ask the question; Am I eligible for financial assistance? There are financial schemes such as FEE HELP where the government will cover your course cost and when you earn a specified amount after training you pay the debt back. However you do have to be eligible to take advantage of these schemes so finding out your eligibility first is paramount.
Tip # 3 Plan Your Time Wisely
Managing family and study can be challenging, but if you can plan one you can plan the other! Choose a time to work when the kids are not around, after bedtime is often a favourite time with little to distract you from your work, but that is not to say you cannot study well when their awake it is about being able to work out when do I work best, be smart. Some mums are too tired at the end of the day to study so morning study is a better option. They may just have to plan activities for the kids to keep them occupied, but this is manageable. If you are lucky enough to have support from your family take advantage of their role in helping you achieve your learning goals because the ones that love us the most want to see us achieve. Remember to always thank them this keeps them on side through your journey.
Tip # 4 Stay Motivated
It is all too easy to give up when times get tough, but hang in there. I won’t lie there will be times of trial but with working through your trials there is always great triumph. You gain a sense of achievement once you are on the other side and you grow, you learn to spread your wings and believe in yourself.
I think the key to staying motivated is to be realistic don’t feel dejected because you did not get a grade you thought you deserved. At the end of the day a pass is a pass and prospective employers don’t look at every assignment and see your grades they only care about the overall result.
Think of study as journey of discovery. On any journey there are trials, tribulations, triumph and achievement. The key is to remain motivated regardless of where you are on the journey. Have things around you that you know help you stay motivated. It may be vision boards, you might want to display motivational quotes to remind you to stay on track or have people around you who support you.
Ask for help, this is probably the best advice I can give. If you do not ask, how can you expect yourself to be supported? Doing it alone is not the answer. Family are one of the best resources to help you on your learning journey. Tell them that they will need to give you encouragement when they see you waning under the pressures of study. Having an ear to chew sometimes is all you need, because you tend to talk things out and people can offer solutions to your problems to help you on the way. Lecturers have heard it all before and have great advice as well, so to stay motivated work through your hard times, use any tool you can get your hands on, music or visual aids, and most important of all ask for help. We all need people to build us up!
Tip # 5 Give Yourself a Break
Balance is probably the hardest thing to achieve when studying. Juggling family commitments and study commitments will be a constant, so my advice is, be prepared to let some balls drop. My first ball was my house. Being house proud this was difficult but was a must to regain my sanity. Let go of things that are not necessary, you will laugh at the things I gave up to make my life run smoother (ironing underwear yes I know who does that?!?!). Sometimes to achieve your goals you have to be less perfect in other areas, otherwise you will run yourself into the ground and feel the weight of the world closing in on you. In life there is always a little give and take so be prepared to let go, give yourself a break and the advice that my little sister gave me has always stuck with me “it is only for a season” there will be a time when you will not be studying and you can afford to pick up all those balls you have dropped along the way. One of the girls in my office has a mantra at the moment and it is to “be kind to yourself” so give yourself a break from time to time, no-one is perfect, life is a balancing act.
There are many rewards for doing training; a better income, an opportunity for a more rewarding life for your family, self-worth , achievement, a more rewarding work life and of course more knowledge and exercise for the brain. Whatever the reason you choose to study it is your journey and you have it in your power to achieve your learning goals.
With a background in Retail and Banking this girl has worked at all levels of employment, from cleaning to management Rebecca has never been out of work. As a mother of two she understands the challenges women face throughout their career and adapts to whatever life throws her way.