As I sit here in the campus library at the beginning of the third week of classes for this Fall 2016 Semester, I find myself already feeling a little stressed over issues of MY time and how and where to allot it. You see, when one is a non-traditional college student it literally is all about TIME . There are so many aspects of your life demanding a share of your time. Classes/Homework, family/home/relationship, work, YOU — they ALL want a share of your precious time.

stress-853644_960_720      I very often find that my extended family views my college attendance as a sort of Nine to Five/Monday through Friday experience that is just like a job. So, I should be available anytime I am not in class. If work ends when a person walks out the door of their job then it stands to reason that college does too.

Then there is the physical home. Laundry and dishes still have to be washed.  Endless blobs of German Shepherd hair have to be swept up. A thirty-pound cat and his considerably smaller cohort have to be fed repeatedly. Meals should be cooked now and then. These things require a share of our time daily.

Homework, as you all know, can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours every day of the week including weekends. As referenced above, college follows you home and expects to have your full attention; it does NOT stop when your feet step off campus soil.

Relationships require daily attention to remain happy and healthy. It becomes hard at times to work on relationship maintenance when the college experience is added into the mix of our already hectic worlds. He walks out the door of work and his obligations to work are finished until the next scheduled work day. I still have college obligations to meet — and cats to feed.

For me, work is mixed into the relationship/home dynamic. I don’t have a regular job with an employer; I do online sales via EBay and Amazon. This requires us to go out on Saturdays to yard sales and thrift stores in search of saleable items. It may not sound like it, but this is hard work. We spend anywhere from six to ten hours out “shopping” on any given Saturday. By the time we get home and unload the vehicle, I really DON’T want to start in on homework.  Sometimes, I will be needed to help with a flea market on a Sunday — ALL day on Sunday. Again, exhausted, no desire or energy to pick up a book or log onto the computer to write a paper.


So here we are three days later, the demands of life kept me from finishing this on Monday and Tuesday. Had to feed the cats, had to go to Wilton to get a new phone, had to feed the cats, had to go to classes, had to write stuff and read stuff for classes, had to battle my printer/scanner for over an hour on Tuesday in order to attempt to fulfill a requirement for a class, had to feed the cats, in other words, I got busy with stuff and didn’t get to finish

hourglass-1356070_960_720       I’m sure that all college students , regardless of age, from time to time get caught in a time crunch but it seems like being a non-traditional student has more time pitfalls than it would for a traditional student who lives on or near campus and maybe works a few hours a week for spending money.  Sometimes all of the other stuff a non-traditional student has to juggle interferes  with me being able to get everything done for a class on time — sometimes I just plain forget about an assignment because I am so busy with all the other stuff.

SO, what have I done to help myself better juggle my various responsibilities?

I try to write down everything I need to do for classes in a planner, that way I know how much time I need to allocate for school stuff.  Much less likely to forget if you write it down in addition to relying on the course syllabus.  It gives you ONE place to see everything you need to do.

I have scheduled my classes whenever possible so that I have downtime between classes; this gives me time away from other demands to work on school stuff — and I don’t have to feed the cats when I am sitting in the campus center working on something for school.

I take time for ME. Maybe I watch an hour of tv, or play games on Facebook, or take a nap for an hour BEFORE starting on homework, housework or relationship work — but I always feed the cats first.

Bottom line? Life is always a juggling act; a non-traditional student will have a few more juggling pins to manage. Sometimes we drop one or two, all we can do is pick them back up and start juggling again and try not to get overwhelmed.

That’s all for now! Gotta go feed the cats!

About the Author:

phoebePhoebe E. 
Class of 2016
Major: History
Minor: English
Blog Theme: Trials and Triumphs 
of a Non-Traditional Student... 

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

Established in March 2015, Project MyStory is a community building effort to help students better acclimate to UAlbany and to work more effectively toward their goals. We began in UAlbany’s Academic Support Center (ASC), where you will see many of the posters featured above. We are now co-housed in ASC and in the Center for International Education and Global Strategy (CIEGS).

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