For the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at how WRAP can help young people and their families adjust to the back-to-school season. But what about when it’s a more mature adult who’s heading back to class? WRAP can help there, too!
More and more adults are returning to school after work, family, illness, or other circumstances interrupt their education for years or even decades. Other adults decide to change careers or simply pursue something that interests them. It takes time to readjust to being a student again, and some of the unique challenges may persist the whole time the person is pursuing an education.
One in four students in higher education is over the age of 30. Many of these students are trying to balance the coursework with employment, caring for children or elders, and other obligations. WRAP is the perfect vehicle for helping them deal with the stress of juggling multiple responsibilities, as well as some of the social pressures that come from “standing out” from many of their classmates.
Although some institutions actively court nontraditional students, others struggle to meet their needs. Older students are not always sure where to go when they are struggling. I spoke with one of my coworkers who is balancing work and university studies, and she shared some of the ways that she and her fellow students meet the challenge:
- Use whatever tools you need to stay organized.
- Remind yourself that you can’t do everything.
- Be clear about boundaries at work.
- Make arrangements with family about when you will spend time with them.
- Remember to have time each week when you take a break from school.
- Remind yourself of your need for sleep, exercise, and healthy eating.
If it’s time to update your WRAP, these strategies might be helpful for you, too, whether or not you’re in school.
Alan Marzilli, J.D., M.A., is a senior writer/program associate at Advocates for Human Potential (AHP). His work focuses primarily on homelessness, mental health and substance use disorder services, cannabis regulation, and employment services.