Life Work Balance and fine tuning it

As a person with a full time job that I love, and a part time job that I love even more, I find myself struggling with the appropriate life:work balance. Not only do I notice it, but so does my husband, when I over-work myself and leave no time to relax/play. While at first glance, you may think to yourself that this doesn’t really apply to the education field, I disagree. I feel like all throughout my education, during both undergraduate and graduate school, I worked part time, then full time, and studied full time as well. As far as a life:school:work balance? Well there was no life, only work:school balance with a little reprieve once in awhile (mostly summers). So once I was done with school and only had one full-time job, I found myself with an overwhelming amount of “free time.” I also started a vigorous search for a more applicable and higher paying job, and in the mean time started tutoring on the side mostly to pay the bills. Long story short, I landed a better job and fell in love with tutoring and education so decided to continue tutoring despite no longer needing to.

This has led me to decide on limiting the number of students I take on. I currently have two students who I tutor maybe once a week at most. Sometimes less. And I have been telling any new student inquiries that I am too busy to take on any new students. While this is sometimes true, it isn’t completely true, and if I really wanted to I could take on more students. It would be a simple matter of scheduling my time better and organizing with my current students and the new students. But when I think about being away from my husband even more, or having even less time to relax or exercise or do anything fun, I shake my head and stand firm in my decision to not accept any more students.

The idea of taking on more students was brought to my attention by my current student’s parent. When I mentioned to my student’s parent that a classmate of her daughter’s reached out to me regarding the same biology test that was coming up (and that we were studying for) she said why not take on more students, if I were able to manage my time and their time wisely enough, then my earning potential would increase. She also said that she would recommend me to any parent who needed a tutor for their child. I thanked her for the compliment and started thinking logically about the potential of adding on more students and making more money. While the thought is nice (who doesn’t like cash??) my schedule is tight as it is, especially since I work until 5:30 pm and it is hard for me to begin tutoring until 6:30 or 7, and if I have two students in the same night, one would have to wait until closer to 9 pm. While I wouldn’t mind the late nights, most parents/students wouldn’t want to be up that late studying. This would force me to see my students on separate days, potentially the weekends as well, leading to more time away from home.

Let me know what you think in regards to life:work balance: are you someone who overworks themselves due to enjoyment of your job, or perhaps the money, or are you someone who underworks and tries to live life to the fullest outside of work? Or maybe somewhere in between?

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“Free” community college

In an effort to help struggling students help pay to further themselves in their educational journey, President Obama is toying with the idea of offering free community college. This plan is called America’s College Promise, and even if it gets approved, it will be years before it is actually applicable and available to students. The interesting part about this plan is that it would help both traditional and non-traditional students. So even if you work full time and go to community college part-time, you can get your tuition down to $0.

Of course, there’s been a mixed reaction to this idea. Some people think the young generation already has it great and shouldn’t receive any more handouts. Our parents and their parents all had to work hard to go to and pay for school. If “kids” are handed everything up to and through community college (a.k.a. Associate’s Degree) then they will learn to expect things, and become spoiled to some degree. It will also not help them learn the cost of living, the cost of education, etc. Also, while the plan covers community college, what about the non-traditional students who don’t do well in traditional schooling? What about trade schools? Or internships, where some people say that you learn the most on-the-job rather than in a lecture hall.

While the idea seems like a decent one, especially for those people who want to better themselves and yet don’t have the means to, I still think the future of higher education is going to look completely different. Student-centered learning is the direction that higher education is moving towards. While the regular traditional colleges and universities are throughout the US and many other countries, these types of schools don’t cover every and all topics, and their teaching styles don’t always apply to each and every field of study. I believe a mixture of classes and work/internships are required to fully learn and understand of field of work. I also don’t think it’s necessary to spend high dollars on tuition nor have to be where your teacher/professor is in order to learn from them. Online learning is the way of the future, especially for the underprivileged countries which don’t have as many universities, or a lack of funds for students to go to school.

What do you think about Obama’s free community college plan? Do you think it is for the best or not? Why or why not?