Adult College Student
The college-going population looks somewhat different if you compare the crowd you see today to a few decades earlier.
Students who attend college are far more diverse, representing many ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and age groups. It isn’t rare to see people anywhere between their late twenties to early forties in a regular collegiate class.
What do adult college students need? Adult learners mainly pursue higher education as a way to be able to branch out their career paths. They also do this to keep being competitive in their respective careers with the help of the credentials they can earn.
This article aims to guide adult college students into making the most of their college lives. This is by providing a comprehensive list of the things they need in the academy. While also advising on how to take care of their mental health during their studies.
Comprehensive Checklist For The Adult College Student
Many nontraditional academies offer adult students options on how to go about completing their workloads, including fully online classes for their respective programs. Here are some resources that are surely going to be able to help any student when preparing to go to college:
An Efficient Scheduling System
With school increasing your workload exponentially, you may want to ditch the whiteboard or wall calendar and start digitizing your schedule.
Many online and even offline email tools let you accomplish a digitally organized day, week, and month. Some tools allow you to sync schedules with your colleagues and family.
There are even tools to help you schedule study blocks and note specific dates when assignments are better to manage your time and tasks within the academy.
Note Taking Materials
Your note-taking materials may manifest in different forms depending on your learning style. The traditional writer who learns quicker by taking handwritten notes will make good use of notepads and notebooks.
The tech-savvy learner can make use of different software to leverage his learning with the latest technology.
A Game Plan And A Goal Line
This method is valuable for nontraditional students who help prepare them for the mental journey through college. You may achieve this in many ways.
You can store, display, or carry something that represents the goal you are working for. You can list priorities in life you don’t want to lose track of while still studying. These tips may help you maintain a healthy work/life/school balance.
Busy schedules in college can get to anyone, regular or nontraditional student, but our diet doesn’t have to. An easy way to stay energized for anything the day throws at you is to have healthy snacks like fruits or power bars.
These can help you through many all-nighters you’re going to work through to meet a deadline. These healthy snacks also help you remain at the top of your brain game in and out of classes.
A Go-to Study Area
Are you the type to find your flow inside a bustling coffee shop, or do you need complete silence while you’re trying to focus on your paper?
Finding an area where you can comfortably study will help you accomplish so much and help optimize your productivity in the academy.
A Small First Aid Kit
Long days aren’t uncommon for any student going through college and can take a toll on your physical and mental states.
Anytime soon, you may find yourself needing Advil or other quick remedies to help you stay on the go and at the top of your tasks.
If you know you’re going to be spending quite some time with your trusty laptop, having eye drops in your bag may not be such a weird idea.
Materials All Online Students Will Find Useful
Learning entirely through the cloud requires a different set of strategies and mindsets. Generally, online students are people more likely to be independent learners.
However, they must also be willing to collaborate with other students like them to finish their tasks. Here are some things online students may want to keep in mind:
Primary And Secondary Devices
Even during busy schedules, simple consistencies can greatly help mentally center people working with flexible formats. Online students can achieve this by ranking their learning devices by order of importance.
Feel free to categorize where you prefer to accomplish specific tasks, thereby effectively diminishing the feeling of getting overwhelmed by the tasks at hand.
Powerful Cloud-based Memory System
So many options are available to help you get your work organized, and so much more are being researched and added to the list.
The most common example of this software would be Google Drive which has been tried and tested by students and professionals alike.
Other great alternatives to this system would be Amazon’s Cloud Drive, MediaFire, Mega, and Microsoft SkyDrive. These latest tools can effectively help online students manage their tasks and keep their digital files in order.
Companies often bring specialists into their offices to evaluate employee workspaces and advise on minimizing injuries caused by bad posture and positioning for long periods.
If you know, you’ll be spending long hours in front of a computer to ensure that you can become comfortable. It can help you focus and maximize your productivity.
Virtual To-do List
To-do lists are more useful for students in online learning environments simply because they can manage their own time without an instructor breathing down their necks.
Communication between peers and teachers is also streamlined through texts and emails. However, it takes more effort and discipline to be able to stay on top of the assignments.
To-do lists can help you get back to finishing your work before continuing to binge your favorite shows at home.
Online Conferencing Tools
Group projects can be pretty challenging, especially if your members are from different parts of the globe with unique time zones.
Workaround this problem with the help of your academy’s conferencing system dedicated to the online learning platform you and your peers are from. Google Hangouts is a great alternative simply because it also connects to your Google Drive and Gmail.
A Grounding Item
Many students take campus classes mainly for interaction and socialization while going to school, which is an experience online students miss out on.
Since you work in the cloud almost around the clock, you need something to keep you on the ground. The best thing to help you with this would be maintaining your social relationships with people close to you. Also, having a support system like this can do wonders for your mental health.
Essential Items For Evening Students
Nontraditional campus-based programs can offer evening sessions for the online components.
This is sometimes called “blended learning,” which offers the perfect combination of face-to-face interaction with the flexibility to fit the coursework around a hectic schedule. But what would you need if you’re one of the people who enrolled in an evening program?
Tablet Or E-reader
Any class with online components comes with an online portal or app that is key to letting you access the intended coursework and materials.
A tablet can significantly help you fit assignments into your busy schedule with its ability to help you multitask. Equip yourself with an e-reader for those moments where you need to leverage digital textbooks during study sessions.
Convenient Bag On Wheels
It’s easy enough to carry around a regular suitcase to and from work and home, but students usually need to carry a bit more stuff. Not to mention the extra commute they go through in between classes.
A convenient bag can be beneficial whether you’re racing to class or just chilling with your coursework in a nearby coffee shop.
Reliable Cell Phone
You may not realize, but your smartphone is more important than you think. You can use it as a networking tool that lets you archive notes on all your contacts in class if you need a quick reference and a virtual conferencing channel, among other functions.
All this is to say that having a smartphone with you in the academy may be more beneficial to you than you think.
Flexible Fashion Options
You don’t have to be avant-garde, fashion-forward to have this as a priority. Most people kick off their shoes when they get home and begin making themselves comfortable after a long day.
Let them be; if you have a few extra hours of study, you want to look at least pleasant while being comfortable. That includes your shoes, of course.
USB Memory Device
When it comes to in-class presentations, you can’t go wrong with a flash drive. Even if you have turned in your homework online, some instructors may still want you to present the work you did for your peers, especially in a group project.
Remember that some email systems have size limits for attachments. In this case, Flash drives are the most efficient form of data transfer.
List Of Alternate Commute Routes
Whether you’re coming home from school, an errand, or a football match, your route may change every day. Consider having alternatives for your natural commutes to accommodate for changes in the traffic.
Modern GPS systems can help you greatly, and don’t forget your school pass if the school has one.
Managing Your Mental Health In College
Even with a clear and intelligent mind, there is no shame in realizing that you may sometimes need help with your mental health. Know yourself and be honest with yourself.
If you are not doing okay, it is understandable that that can be hard to admit, especially in college. Discipline can go out the window very quickly since you can see that you’re happy and free and finally able to do what you’ve always wanted.
It can be so easy to drown your sorrow and anxiety in harmful substances when you’re by yourself and your parents are nowhere near to hold you back.
It’s also straightforward to hide your issues and struggles when you’re alone. But you have to remember that the longer you hide and ignore your problems, the worse they get.
Anyone suffering from poor mental health needs to understand that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Struggling with anxiety when you’re in college is far more common than people think.
A recent study suggests that the most common reason students seek help is anxiety. This study shows that 1 in 3 college freshmen struggle with anxiety. You are not alone.
Take Care Of Your Body
Among the essential things you can do to take care of yourself is to take care of your body. A good exercise routine and a supplementary diet can do wonders for your mental health.
Studies showed how a diet with excessive sugar could contribute to depression and anxiety in college students. Make sure to watch what you eat, stay disciplined about it, and keep your body moving.
Put Things In Perspective
College was never meant to be a cakewalk; it is hard, and it is stressful. You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who will not agree with that statement. Among the reasons it’s so stressful is that it is the first time people realize that school matters. It is where perspective comes in.
College students need to realize that it’s not the end of the world if they flunk a test. You have to do well in college, granted, but nobody said you have to be perfect.
If you feel the pressure of studying getting to you, it is not wrong to take a break. Do something to help you unwind. Most importantly, keep in mind that a few slips here and there are okay.
Remember well that there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help with your mental health. Even before realizing you need one, it may benefit you to be talking to a therapist.
Attending a university brings so much change into your life all at once, and talking to someone trained to help you may be able to help you circumvent a problem before you encounter any.
Understand that your mental health directly affects your productivity which affects your performance in school. This chain reaction can send you in a downward spiral very easily, very quickly.
Fortunately, schools and universities have made it easier by having therapists and psychologists available on campus for this exact reason.
Also, it is perfectly okay if you don’t find the right therapist for you right away. The therapist ideal for you should be someone you trust and who you feel comfortable around.
They should be someone you feel you can rely on to help you get through anything and everything you’re dealing with. If the first one you met didn’t seem like a good fit, there is nothing wrong with looking for a new person.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
College students are often tempted to grin and bear everything that comes their way, especially ever since the advent of social media.
It may seem not very comfortable to put anything less than your best for people to see. Aside from that, you might think that you’re the only one struggling with their mental health.
When this happens, don’t hesitate to reach out. Reach out to your family, relatives, friends, teachers, and anyone else you’re comfortable talking to.
Keep in mind that the more you isolate yourself, the more it gets easier for you to continue doing so. Unfortunately, many others in college are also struggling with mental health.
Remember that the next time you feel like you are alone, you are most definitely not. It might even catch you by surprise to know how many people are ready to help you back on your feet.
Go to class, check out the clubs, sit next to people and talk to people who may seem nice, ask your roommate to go on a walk with you.
There are so many things to do and so many opportunities to make connections. It can be terrifying if you’re not used to interaction, and that is okay. There is nothing wrong with taking your time to warm up to people because that is normal too.
Take A Break
No matter where you are, taking breaks is just as important as being productive, especially when it comes to mental health.
Whatever you may be feeling, be it anxiety, depression, etc., you cannot go wrong with taking a break when you feel like you need one.
If you keep running yourself to the ground before too long, you will inevitably burn out. Go outside and get some sunlight which has been proven to be able to boost someone’s mood.
Play until you are satisfied. Meet and spend time with friends. Do something you enjoy. You deserve to be happy and relaxed on your breaks. These general tips can help deal with most of the mental issues students may face while in college. It is essential to take a good, long look at yourself and determine that you need help to get the support you need.
College life is riddled with uncertainty and excitement. Whether you’re preparing for your final or taking a break to recuperate your mental health, you should be prepared and equipped to make the most out of your time in the academy as an adult college student.