Balancing the Life of a Non-traditional College Student

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College can be a particularly difficult period of time in any person’s life if they fail to properly prepare for the inevitable stress that result from it. Any person entering college for the first time must constantly strive to strike a balance it their life between the demands of school and the similar demands from work, family, church, etc. Today, colleges are providing students with more flexibility through night classes and a variety of classes offered through distance learning, including online courses. College students can similarly plan for these growing expectations by properly preparing for the challenges they must face in taking courses online, handling depression and incorporating a time for relaxation.

American students in the United States are recognizing the diverse learning styles that non-traditional students are bringing to the classroom. A recent study suggests that, within the next decade, one-half of colleges in the U.S. will close the doors to their physical classrooms as more and more classes go online (Bower 3). Duke University has already begun changing the way they approach student learning by offering classes online. This helps the school attract more non-traditional students who may have families, work full-time, or have a number of responsibilities outside school.

These non-traditional students must particularly strive to prepare themselves for the added expectations of college. This small segment of the population, those attempting to maintain a job, raise a family, and attend school, is the segment most susceptible to depression, according to a recent medical study (Voelker 2177). The study recommends that students attempting to manage the multiple responsibilities brought about by this situation maintain a strict schedule. The study also found that those with the greatest support system, or who have the support of individuals such as the employer or spouse, were more successful in their educational endeavors.

Both traditional and non-traditional students must strive to maintain a balance between their personal life and the education. The authors of the book Making the Grade: The Academic Side of College Life suggest that students who put aside specific amount of time throughout the week for personal relaxation or for social interaction do better throughout their educational career (49). Maintaining this difficult balance allows students to remain focused on their academic responsibilities without becoming burnt out.

In conclusion, college students often struggle in maintaining a balance between the various facets of their academic responsibilities.
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