With the demands of everyday challenges being stressful, extra help is essential in being successful as an adult learner. Internal support offered through the institution is extremely beneficial, but there are external resources available outside of the college that are just as important. Family and friends, employers, and community support can all play an important part in providing adult learners with the insurance needed to continue their education successfully.
Continuing education as an adult learner does not have to be a lonely journey; finding at least one person to join in on your educational path can make an immense difference in being successful. This person should be someone who is willing to accept the responsibility of motivator, listener, and stepping in to help with other life responsibilities. Not everyone has a vast support system readily available, but finding one person who will accept this role, is all it takes to provide an adult learner with the support they need to thrive in gaining higher education.
As a previous adult learner at NC Wesleyan College’s Adult Studies Program, I was able to find support in my sister. We scheduled times for her to check on my progress with school, weekly. By having her consistently checking on me and how I was advancing, encouraged me to not give up. I knew she was as invested in my success as I was, and it was important for me to continue and finish. Without her support, I would not have been as confident and successful as I was.
Many adult learners also have full-time jobs, and balancing the two can become overwhelming. By communicating the desire to go back to school with colleagues and supervisors, adult learners will be able to express their needs for support more openly. This support may not be provided through a lighter workload, but it can help in easing emotional stresses and in some cases, financial stresses. Employer reimbursement plans are offered through some companies, and they will contribute financially to pay for part or all of the educational tuition so employees can attend college. Many employers are eager to provide support for their employees, whether it be emotional or financial, because an educated and fulfilled employee makes for a happier and more loyal employee. Adult learners have the ability to become more well-balanced when they are able to gain the support of colleagues and supervisors.
When personal and professional support is not accessible for adult learners, there are options provided throughout the community. Connecting with like-minded people, who are also adult learners, can allow the opportunity to support each other. With peer-mentoring and adult learner support groups available through current or past course classmates, social networking sites, or networking events, adult learners can communicate with each other their needs for support. By reaching out and scheduling phone calls, study groups, video chats, emails, or social media group chats, adult learners are able to build a powerful support system because they all are experiencing the same challenges with their personal, professional, and educational lives.
After adult learners have found and established one or many people who will make a strong external support system, it is important to discuss how this support will be implemented. These options can include scheduling weekly progress check-ins from a family member or friend, exploring emotional or financial support available within their company, or setting up group meetings or study sessions with other adult learners. These support strategies can enable an adult learner to stay encouraged and successful through their journey in achieving higher education.
Dani Somers is the Assistant Director of Admissions for North Carolina Wesleyan College’s Adult & Professional Studies. She started her career with NC Wesleyan College in 2016. NCWC offers students the ability to obtain their degree in an affordable and conveniently formatted program. Please visit www.ncwc.edu/BelieveNow or email [email protected] for more information.
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