At some point in time, while preparing the documents for acceptance into my online macc degree program, it occurred to me that the application process was going to be the easiest part of my new adventure. That was a rather disturbing revelation because making the time to apply for school did not feel easy. I had to ask myself how realistic I was being. I have a demanding professional position, a husband, three sons, and a dog with hypnotic brown eyes. How in the world was I going to include homework in the mix that makes up my life?
Waiting for classes to begin, I felt nervous. Finally, the day arrived and…I was unable to find my class information. I considered going into cardiac arrest but chose instead to call my temporary academic adviser. He sent me in the right direction. Once online at the correct site, I decided I needed a plan. First I prioritized the work. For example, quizzes were put off until after essays were written. The added benefit was that the research done for written work was usually related to the material covered in the quiz. Next, I set deadlines for myself. One of the most helpful was allowing enough time to let my essays “age” for at least a few hours before submitting them to the professor. Errors and areas that lacked clarity jumped out when I stepped away for a bit. I made sure that I accommodated schedule conflicts with my deadlines. If a project was due on Thursday night, the same night as a board meeting, I took that into consideration when deciding upon my deadlines.
Along the way I had to acknowledge that doing homework meant sacrificing personal pleasure time. I therefore wanted to work as efficiently as possible. I started to notice my greatest distractions. Surprisingly my husband was more interruptive than my children and my dog was the worse yet. In my house, there are no hiding places, but early mornings and late nights did afford me quiet time. I also learned to communicate with my family, informing them what I was working on and how long it would take before I could turn my attention to them. With the reassurance that I had not forgotten their needs, they were patient and cooperative.
When I returned to school to seek an advanced online MACC degree I expected to learn about the subject of study. I did not anticipate that I had much more to learn about myself. Certainly, I know myself quite well by now. Having to fit the time jigsaw puzzle together, I came to realize that there are some activities that I am not willing to give up. Heading into winter I found that I preferred to stay up late doing homework so that I could go for a long walk the next day to enjoy the autumn colors. The late-night work was my way of fitting that “piece” into the puzzle.
If I can manage to juggle the many balls I have in the air with school time, I am certain other students with a shared desire can too. Above all else it requires discipline, planning, and prioritizing every life event. Working away from family members, television and video game noise, and other distractions reduces the amount of time required. Spreading the work out amongst all the days of the week keeps any feelings of being overwhelmed at bay. Lastly, daydreaming (for only a few minutes) about what the future will look like once that online MACC degree has been earned is motivating. There is a reason I signed up for this pain, and nothing is going to stop me from reaching my goal.