Up to four generations may now study together while pursuing higher education. Students in their late teens and early twenties work alongside those in their thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties. This offers a wonderful opportunity to combine various life experiences, knowledge, and points of view in a learning environment. However, it can also introduce differing value systems, priorities, and work ethics, leading to conflict. You may also discover a generation gap between yourself and your instructor. Perhaps you will be surprised by the various teaching strategies and expectations.
While working together in a group, keep generational differences in mind. Understanding different ways of relating to the world can help prevent or resolve disputes.
Another significant change seen in society involves the increasing use of technology. As part of modern education, you are expected to be familiar with computers. You need to be able to research and write papers and assignments using the computer and word processing.
Many workshops and continuing education courses exist to introduce you to the computer and its capabilities. A few short workshops can help develop your skills and build confidence.
Multiculturalism is growing in Canada and is certainly seen in the education system. Diverse cultures bring richness to education and learning. If you have not been exposed to ethnic and cultural groups in your life, you may be surprised at the diversity seen in colleges and universities. Learning about a variety of cultures can be wonderful. You may feel unsure of cultural customs and etiquettes, but most people appreciate all efforts to learn more about their cultures. They are usually happy to share information with you.
Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, from Health Canada, outlines the foods and amounts that are necessary for a healthy diet.
The Public Health Agency of Canada provides sound reasons for the need for exercise, and the types and amounts necessary to keep your body healthy here.
The Mayo Clinic website provides some suggestions on how to manage working together with groups that include people of different generations here.
The State University of New York, Geneseo provides information and tips for students to promote healthy sleep patterns.
Will Keim recommends 50 tips to reduce student stress.
York University outlines some helpful tips for time management strategies for students.
The OWL writing lab at Purdue University is a very good website for information on all types of writing styles and requirements.
Your own expectations may be the most difficult challenge. If you are used to effectively managing your life while juggling various roles and responsibilities, education adds yet more balls to juggle. Time management and self-motivation will become your most highly prized skills.
Set times to study. Some students find it easier to study at the college or institution rather than at home. You need to decide which environment is best for you to maintain consistent and effective study habits. Putting aside dedicated time with clear goals and objectives will help you to achieve the weekly workload.
Your writing skills may also be rusty. Again, a workshop may be helpful. Ask a counsellor about resources available to help you learn to do literature searches and improve writing skills. There are usually many resources available to students, so ask for help.
The Internet offers a wealth of resources you can use on your own to improve your writing skills. You can also find information on the writing formats required by your school, such as APA writing style and format.
Developing peer support can help improve your learning environment and increase your enjoyment of the experience. Get to know others in your class over coffee or in study groups. Sharing the journey with peers makes it much easier while providing a sounding board for ideas, challenges and frustrations. Think of classmates as a network who can understand and help with what you are experiencing. It may be difficult to incorporate a social support group into your busy life, but the effort is worth it.
The need to look after yourself is easily overlooked but necessary for you to function at your peak. Exercise, proper nutrition, adequate rest, and a supportive network are vital. They provide you with the energy and endurance to balance the rest of your life with school.
Get at least seven hours of sleep per night and make time for regular exercise. Aim to exercise a minimum of three times per week. Taking a twenty-minute walk each day may help keep stress down and allow quiet time to think and organize your thoughts. Your exercise routine should include endurance, flexibility, and strength activities. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living is a good resource.
Good nutrition is essential for the brain to work properly. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting fatty and salty foods. It can be difficult to eat properly when studying, so plan ahead and have nutritious snacks on hand.
Having a balance between work and play is necessary to a productive and healthy life. Add entertaining activities into your days for relief from the drudgery of studying.
Returning to school as an adult is stressful and challenging. However, it offers a wonderful opportunity to obtain skills and education for both professional and personal growth. You can build friendships and challenge yourself, while gaining new experience. Effective time management and study skills, personal support, and a healthy lifestyle are all vital to your success.