While it is very normal for young carers to find it challenging to balance caring responsibilities and school responsibilities, it can still be frustrating to experience these challenges. Here are some tips that could help you to manage school as a young carer!
1. When you sit down to start your work, take a moment to breathe. If you have had a busy day managing other responsibilities and you now have some time to focus on your school work, it can be difficult to transition into a focused mindset. Taking a minute to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths may help you to let go of the things that have happened earlier in the day and transition into focusing on your schoolwork.
2. Try your best to focus on one thing as a time. When it gets to that time of year when everything seems to pile up and is due all in the same week, it can be really overwhelming and hard to focus on your work. If we think about all of the things we have to do at once, it can be debilitating and seem impossible to get it all done. But, if we try to focus on one thing at a time, like the assignment that is due first or the reading that is the most pressing, we can slowly but surely get those items checked off our to-do lists.
3. Schedule time to get your work done. As a young carer, your schedule might be so busy that your caregiving responsibilities are part of your schedule. In order to better manage school, pencil in time in your day to do school work, even if you can only afford 30 minutes to an hour. Be specific about what you are going to work on during that time too, so that if you are thinking about when you are going to get your work done throughout the day, you will know exactly what will get done and when.
4. Try your best to get work done (or at least started) in advance. I know that this one is easier said than done, but it’s true. Waiting until the night before something is due is a sure-fire way to cause yourself stress, so trying your best to start an assignment or studying for a test (because that’s often the hardest part) a couple of weeks in advance will be helpful in the long run. However, sometimes it all piles up and the night-before-something-is-due-rush just happens. In that case, tips 1 and 2 might be helpful.
5. Tell your teacher about your caregiving responsibilities. Sometimes, we want to be able to do it all and not have to ask for help. But when you know you have responsibilities that are going to make it challenging for you to get assignments done on time, one of the most useful things you can do is to talk to your teacher or instructor about your caregiving responsibilities. In many cases, teachers and instructors are very understanding and are willing to work with you on deadlines that are realistic for you. The key is to have this conversation as early as possible. If you let you teacher know about your responsibilities well in advance of a due date, they will likely appreciate your conscientiousness about your work and their time. If you send them an e-mail the night before something is due letting them know about your circumstances, they might wonder why you didn’t let them know about this before and might not be so understanding.
Do you have any tips that have worked well for you? Post them in the comments below!
- Written by Annie Basterfield
Photo from freedigitalphotos.net ("Young College Woman Reading" by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee)