Rebecca “Becky” Fleming ’13, a Walden BS in Communication graduate, knows about life-work balance. After all, the married mother of two is a coordinator at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., and also finds time to volunteer in her community.
How did the first-generation college graduate fit all of that plus her coursework into her schedule? In honor of Working Parents Day on Sept. 16, Spotlight on Walden pinpointed a few of the strategies Becky used that students can apply to their own lives:
Prioritize your time. “I had to have very good time-management skills,” says Becky of her courses at Walden. “When I was at work, I was at work; when I was home with my boys, I focused on them. They go to bed at 7:30 p.m., so I could pick up my coursework in the evenings.” Give 100% of your focus to your current activity, she recommends.
Dedicate time every day to work on your studies. “I worked on my assignments every day,” Becky says. “There was not one day that went by without me doing at least an hour or two.” Whether it was a simple task, like writing or responding to a discussion post, or something more involved, like tackling a section of an upcoming paper, she made the most of her study time by splitting her work into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Enlist your family’s help. “I recommend sitting down with your family to share what you’ll be doing,” Becky explains. Helping them understand your new schedule will allow them the opportunity to volunteer to help out. “My husband encouraged me through everything,” she continues. “He helped during the week and my family contributed on the weekends.”
Connect with your faculty members. “My professors’ feedback helped build my confidence over time,” she says. “I’m more confident than ever before in my writing and even in my daily communication.” Faculty members at Walden guided her through the program and always offered constructive criticism, she continues. “They are open to your ideas and challenged me in ways I never thought was possible.”
When Becky started her studies, her older son was 3 and her younger a newborn. “It was difficult to pursue my bachelor’s, but I was determined. I needed to complete my degree to excel in my career,” she says. “I want to be an example for those who have a lot on their plates. You can complete your degree if you have the drive.”
For more tips on how to balance your work, family, and coursework, listen to a radio interview with Dr. Savitri Dixon-Saxon, associate dean for the School of Counseling and the School of Social Work and Human Services, and read tips for adults returning to school.