Achieving Educational Goals as a Returning Adult Student

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The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.-Lao Tzu

Wise words spoken 2500 years ago, but ring true yet today.

It may feel like that sort of journey to undertake the completion of a college degree program. And it rightly is a feat to be proud to achieve. How do you make it happen with all the ‘life’ going on around you, stealing your precious time and energy?

Like any goal or plan you have had in your life, and following Lao Tzu’s tenet, you take it one step at a time. Think about it. Really, think of a time in your past when you accomplished something important. How did you do it? Did you wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll buy a house today “? And then complete it before turning in that evening? Doubtful, unless you carry enormous amounts of cash around and are easy to please. There are tasks or mini steps which when completed naturally lead to the next task until you reach the final destination, right? And you have successfully proven your ability to do this with one or more life goals already.

Educational goals are no different. The absolute hardest part of accomplishing this or any goal is taking that FIRST STEP. What is that first step for you, then? Knowing what you want to accomplish. Do you need to start looking for programs in Forensic Science? Or figure out what training is required to be a Video Game programmer? Or map out the steps to get into a Law school? Whatever it is, once you have the end goal in mind, back up and write out the mini-steps you need to do to reach that destination.

When buying a house you had to:

Contact lenders to be pre-qualified for a maximum loan amount.
Find a Realtor.
Locate neighborhoods that have houses in your price range and have amenities you need.
View enough homes until you find one you can see yourself living in.
Make an offer.
Complete loan paperwork.
Inspect the home.
Close on the sale.
Move into your dream home!

Of course, there were many more steps involved, but you get the idea. With your education, when you look at what needs to happen in totality, it may seem overwhelming. But, if you break it down into daily, weekly, monthly steps you can take to get to the finish, it’s much easier. One day, one step at a time, and before you know it, it’s been 1000 miles. And you’re not even winded.

So, I recommend asking yourself daily, “Can I take one more step today? Just one?”
And then, take it.