My decision to go back to school did not happen overnight. It was a discussion after another with my husband, because we both know, this is a serious matter that needs planning and teamwork with the whole family. Going back to school after 20 years with three children plus working full time will be very challenging. It was more of a personal decision, wanting to advance and achieve more in my chosen field. I’m aware this entails hard work and dedication on my part. My mother even asked me, “Why bother? You’re already a Director of Nursing”. But deep inside me, I don’t want to stop there.
After all these years, I feel rusty, mentally and skills wise. I crave for a mental challenge and hone my communication and written skills to be more effective. “Great leaders reinvent continuously on a personal level. They are always interested in ways to enhance their own knowledge and skills” (Blanchard & Miller, 2007, p. 72). In this essay, I was asked what would be the three challenges I will face in pursuing my study and its corresponding strategies for achieving success. The first challenge is financial. When I called the University and spoke with the financial counselor, I almost choked when I heard the cost.
I have an idea beforehand, that going or pursuing graduate school is very costly but I did not realize to be that much. Having two teenagers in a catholic school and a paid help 8-10 hours a day for my special girl, made me think twice again and discuss the matter seriously with my husband. Second challenge for me to study again, is my lack of computer skills, knowledge with APA writing guidelines or writing skills, per se. A friend of mine, who is going to graduate school, mentioned that it demands a lot of writing and research work. This aspect scares me because I don’t have a great background in these areas.
During my student days, I don’t have even the basic computer skills and using APA format for my writings. I was doing my presentation using Manila papers, not in the power point back then, and used to the traditional way of learning through reading from textbooks. All of these things, such as navigating the student’s web, looking for on-line resources are all new to me, that is why I am a bit overwhelmed. The third challenge is time management. Balancing my schedule between my family, work and school will definitely be a challenge. My other friend was actually shocked when I mentioned that I’m going for my graduate study.
She said, “What are you doing? Killing yourself by stressing you more? You have a special baby to tend and two teenagers to drive around wherever they have to go, work full time and school? Where will you find time to study? ” I know, this will be a tough journey but I’m in for a challenge. To overcome my first challenge, the best strategy is to do proper budgeting. “A budget plan shows you the flow of money in your everyday life. By making slight adjustments to your budget, you may have the ability to save more” ( “ Informative articles on how to budget,”2009, p. 1).
This is something that I will take seriously because I am an impulsive buyer and loves shopping a lot. I have a tendency to shop for the entire family, and spoil them with fancy or beautiful things and not looking at the price. I will be a smart shopper from now on and list things that are only necessary when I do my grocery. I will also cut back some expenses in entertainment such as movies, dining out and personal care such as going to beauty salon and massage parlors. For my second challenge, an open mind and positive attitude towards continued learning will be the best approach.
It has been 20 years since I last attended school, but I believe it is not too late to learn and acquire new skills again. I will stick with my goal and will try to overcome any obstacles that will come along the way. Another attitude that I need here is discipline. According to Covey (2004), “Discipline is just as important as vision. It’s the executing, the making it happen, the sacrifice entailed in doing whatever it takes to realize that vision” (p. 73). Since I’m well aware of all my shortcomings, I’m taking advantage of those free workshops being offered on-line such as Microsoft Office to improve my computer skills.
I’ve started reading books also to exercise my brain rather than just watching TV with my kids to improve my critical thinking and writing skills. As for the third challenge of time management, a good strategy here is being organized. Allen (2001) stated, “Organizing allows your mind to let go of lower-level thinking and graduate to intuitive focusing, undistracted by matters that haven’t been dealt with appropriately” (p. 138). I just bought a planner, and now, I’m writing all my schedules for the month such as my doctor’s appointment, children’s activities, parties to attend, staff meetings and assignments deadline.
By looking at my planner every day, it gives me a feeling of control over my life. Planning ahead of time lessen my anxiety and by crossing out each task that has been accomplished, makes me more motivated to finish another one and stay focused to my goal. My journey to finish my study will not be an easy one. I know there will be a lot of obstacles or struggles along the way. But having identified my challenges so far, and effectively applying the strategies to overcome these obstacles will make it easier and worthwhile.
Staying focus to my goal, maintaining discipline and having a positive attitude will ultimately lead me to a successful journey. References Allen, D. (2001). Getting things done: The art of stress-free productivity. New York, New York: Penguin Group. Informative articles on how to budget. (2009). 2010 American Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc. , (), 1. Blanchard, K. , & Miller, M. (2007). The secret What great leaders know-and do. San Francisco, California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.. Covey, S. R. (2004). The 8th habit From effectiveness to greatness. New York, New York: Free Press.