How to Thrive as an Adult Learner

By on August 9, 2018

Are you working all day, attending classes in the evening, and still keeping up with your home and family obligations? For many adults, being a so-called "working learner" is the only path to getting ahead while making a living. In fact, studies suggest that the percentage of adult learners will continue to rise in coming years.

Even so, adult students face unique challenges, and it can be a tough path. To avoid burnout and stay sane, follow these tips for being a successful student as you work full-time!




  • Take care of yourself. Yes, you're going to work hard and put in long hours. But wearing yourself out won't help. Prioritize your health and well-being. Follow a regular sleep schedule and find at least three times a week for exercise (Even if it's just a brisk walk). Fuel your body with healthy options. Replace fast food and processed snacks for lean meant and whole foods like fruit and vegetables.
  • Envision success. Picture yourself graduating. Imagine the job-- or salary-- of your dreams. When the days tire you out, remind yourself of that long-term goal. Visualization is a sure way to achieve success.
  • Connect with your classmates. Students who take night classes tend to forge close ties, and they have a lot to offer each other. Schedule a recurring study group, and create an email or text group message to connect quickly to your fellow learners for answers and support.
  • Schedule naps. Experts say that a 20- to 30-minute snooze can boost your alertness without leaving you groggy. Why not make a quick nap before your evening class a part of your daily routine?
  • Don't procrastinate. No matter what your schedule or your program, consistent studying is better. Cramming just doesn't work. Set aside time every day to focus on your coursework.
  • Take advantage of flexible class options. Make your schedule of classes fit your life in order to set yourself up for success! Bay State College, for example, offers classes in Boston and Taunton that are online, evening, and hybrid. We encourage students to take the right number of classes for them. Some adult learners prefer to take one class at a time; others opt to take three to four classes at a time.
  • Identify your support network. Working adult students tend to do better if they have the support of friends, famiy, and the school they're attending. Be proactive as you register for your classes and plan your scheduling conflicts. Speak to your spouse about how to realistically share childcare and household duties. Ask a friend to be your "emergency buddy," who can step in to help when an unexpected obstacles arise. Explore your school's student services.

If you're interested in pursing your degree or certification, check out the variety of programs available in the evening or online through Bay State College. Bay State offers small class sizes and extensive student support, including tutoring and personalized career services.

Attending evening classes while working full-time requires organization, motivation, and a support network- not to mention a good amount of caffeine!