By: Sharon Nellist
I admire and sympathize at the same time with those who take more than the recommended full-time classes and are involved in every other school organization and club in hopes to save a bit of money and graduate sooner than expected. Because I once was that student – and it is certainly not for everyone.
Perhaps it is that I am a returning full-time student, in my late twenties, married, making a car payment, working several outside jobs in order to pay rent, and I’m not opposed to starting a family while trying to have the most quintessential young college experience.
What I have realized is that it is possible for everyone to have this experience, even me, but you need to know how to balance these things and maintain your sanity.
- For me I know I need 12 credit hours, no more or less, for optimal learning
- That suggests that I have 24 hours total of study time
- I save money by bringing food instead of eating at delicious food carts – allows for some creativity, or lack thereof
- My job as a nanny gives me the flexibility around my school schedule, as it is my priority
- I budget using a spreadsheet, they are not just for old people – I can cut back on my student loans this year!
- I am part of PSU Crew (campus rowing team), yes at 5:30 a.m. every morning, and I work for the student blog – minimal commitment allows me to focus on my involvement
- And then, there is a whole day allotted for spending time with my husband or friends – we frequent the Saturday Market on campus
My degree may take an extra term or two to complete, but I most likely will not have a mental breakdown, my personal life will be unharmed, and I will succeed well enough to go on to Grad school and still have my perfect college experience.