Every day someone retires from the job they had since they graduated; high school, college or university. Lucky you! A nice pension you’d have if you were able to stay committed to one job or worked for the government! The rest of us, well chances are we moved around a bit! And what will be the outcome of our retirement?
Smart folks have been salting away money and hoping that stocks and retirement funds have been growing. There are people that have land, farms or other business ventures they have either inherited and brought along from the ground floor up. While others hang their hat on an illusive lottery win! How about those that may have an idea of going out to further their education as they enter the next phase of their life.
While doing some other research on the country of Wales, I came across some information about writing your Personal Statement. Not unlike your business Mission Statement, this list gives you something to reflect upon from time to time and correct your path or change it as required.
While making a personal statement is suppose to aid you when applying for a new job or perhaps even your entrance to post secondary education or upgrading. The Mission Statement is also there to make sure you know what your values are and that you don’t lose sight of them.
Many years ago, in an interview, I had that question asked of me; “What is Your Mission Statement.”? Well, that’s food for thought! And then there is the Vision Statement! HELP. So, let’s take a look at the Personal Statement Oh, its complicated!
The tips for writing this personal statement include: Skills that have been obtained from work, studies and hobbies, giving examples of how those skills have helped you and how they are used daily. Detailed accounts of what makes you enjoy your job or studies. Then I found a letter from a “mature” student that set aside some ideas for balance of home life, study and how it can make for a very fulfilling experience.
Stepping away from the work life you have known is a big adjustment. For some it is perhaps filled with vacation time, travel or settling into a new sort of lifestyle. Others may feel dissatisfied with what lies ahead. Here are a few tid-bits from someone who’s jumped in with both feet to take on a challenge of returning to school.
Simon is a student at a the University of Wales. Check this out to see if there are some parallels.
Top 10 tips from first class mature student Simon Downes
So how can a 42-year-old complete a BSc Computer Networks degree and manage a family?
Let me introduce you to my wife Zoe, who also is studying at UWTSD and currently moving into her final year, and my four children, Ryan, aged 18, Charlie, 14, Thomas, nine, and seven-year-old Bethany.
Like most families we have our issues managing finances and making ends meet, however as both Zoe and I are students it has taken great planning to ensure we can put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. An added complication is that my son Thomas has Autism and ADHD, this puts a strain on our family life.
So, I hear you ask, “Why, and how, can you cope?” Simply put, you plan and organise everything to ensure that the family is not neglected during study periods.
Here are my top 10 tips for creating a balanced student and family life. These might not suit all but they certainly worked for me.
- Planning – Utilise your time effectively. Once you know your timetable, adjust your study around it. Treat your study like a 9 to 5 job, timetable your family life and blend it with your study time.
- Weekends – You have a family and don’t forget them. Down time at weekends can prove to be a great way to re-focus and reminds you why you’re doing the degree.
- Finance – Look at the grants available to assist you. It doesn’t matter if you are a single parent or couple there is finance available to help. Childcare is possibly the biggest help we received as you can get up to 80% back towards costs.
- Study – If you have children at school use the time to study and complete assignments as it will not impact on your family time in the evenings. This will link with the proper planning and timetable.
- Feedback – Take any information given from lecturers and learn from it to better your performance. If you’re unsure, ask the question: “What could I have done better?”
- Study Skills – The university offers support sessions even if you don’t have access to additional support. Find out what you need and where it is offered.
- No Excuses – Don’t let yourself get into a pattern of “I couldn’t do it because. . .” Everyone suffers from problems. Approach your lecturer and take advice. A small issue can escalate quickly and making excuses to justify why something hasn’t been completed is a slippery slope to get on to.
- Support – Speak to family and friends. Get them to buy into what it is that you’re doing, especially around exam periods. You will be surprised how many people will come to your aid if you need extra study time to prepare for exams or assignments.
- Assignment breakdown – Look at what is required within the assignment. Where are the free marks? How can you optimise your skills? Every lecturer breaks down what is required from you, use this along with the marking schemes.
- “You can do it” – No one else can complete the degree for you – it is all about you. Believe in yourself and what it is that you are looking to achieve.
Although the points above don’t cover everything, this is what I utilised to achieve my first-class degree. I’m not saying that it is easy and I certainly have not had it all go my way, far from it. I have had challenges along the way – disagreements with lecturers, diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and extreme exam anxiety. However, I have managed to dig deep and work towards my goal which I set back in 2014 to achieve a First in Computer Networks.
Happy Goal Setting 2018! I’ve got some work to do!!