Many college students are not in their early twenties. More and more, college student populations include a large percentage of older students. These older students have been in the armed services, have developed careers, have raised families, or were engaged in some other activities that led them to postpone their college educations.
Those other responsibilities well managed or completed, they are now entering college. You would think that because of the extent of their experiences and the number of things they have handled, they already are experts at managing their time well. You’d be surprised to find out that most of them are not.
These students experiences a variety of stressors, in addition to school, that are similar to those experienced by younger college students: grades, course overload, jealousy and breakups. Just because they’re older doesn’t mean they have different student experiences.
In fact, when we really look into the matter, the number of things they have to juggle are doubled, because they again decided to go back to school. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. They also experience stessors that are unique to them, such as mixing career and school, handling the familyl and school responsibilities concurrently, and doubting their abilities to do well in college after a long hiatus.
Thus, the need for a proper time management plan is not a surprise even for the older college students. In fact, they probably need it more than the regular younger college student, because of the mountainload of other things they have to do.
They are at an advantage, though, because they are more focused and mature about the way they handle things. When they are presented with a time management plan, older students are the ones who tend to stick to these programs more religiously and faithfully, than the younger student whose party-going days have not yet ended.
Career and school
Older students are better equipped to manage time between career and school, though it doesn’t mean that all of them are this way. They are more responsible and better aware of the possible negative consequences, yes, but they can also stray, especially if they are too excited to live college life again.
Some people have found the time management helps make them become better students and keeps them grounded, while some have become too overwhelmed with excitement that they forget their responsibilities altogether.
Family and school
Not only are many older college students working, but many have family responsibilities, as well. A number of students have noted the problem of what do with after-work time. Should they work on their term paper? Study for an exam? Read next week’s chapter? Or should they play with their kids or spend time with their spouses? Will the in-laws understand if they don’t visit because they’re doing schoolwork?
It takes a very understanding spouse to provide psychological support for a student who has family and work responsibilities, too. It is tiring and often frustrating to have so much to do in a day. It is stressful and may be unhealthy as well.
A spouse who can provide those extra few minutes with the kids that the student-parent can’t, who can take on more than his or her share of the household chores, and who can provide a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen, can go a long way intervening between stress, time management and illness for the older college student.
Therefore, in order for older students to succeed in managing time for career and school, or family and school, and keeping it at a balance, they must always remind themselves of their other duties.
Actually, simply looking at their younger classmates and realizing the age gap already helps keep them grounded. If this doesn’t work, then they should go the longer route. That is, to write down ‘to do’ lists and create schedules.
How older students manage their time is really no different than how the younger students manage theirs. Time is time; and no matter how we handle it, it remains constantly moving, and will continue to move forward regardless if we are prepared and well-equipped to cope with it or not.
Hence, time management tools like keeping lists, setting alarms, drafting a sequence flowchart, or using software works the same for all people, regardless of their lifestyles and age. Time knows no age.