Are you struggling to find that balance or strike that rhythm when it comes to juggling the demands of both work and school? Perhaps you are just getting started in going back to school in the midst of your career. Or, maybe you are finishing up those last few hours of your graduate degree that you have been chipping away at for years. As if managing projects and sticking to strict deadlines wasn’t hard enough on a normal basis, try doing it while also tending to constant academic demands, right?!

When it comes time to go back to school when you are also working full-time, there have to be some boundaries set in order for you to succeed on any and all platforms. Some spend just a few days or weeks trying to figure out how to make it all work together and quickly throw in the towel. Some decide that there is just no way that they can excel in their studies while also remaining diligent in their career. However, with a strong amount of self-discipline and effective time management skills, more and more hard-working employees are learning that they can, in fact, make their way through classes and research papers and exams while remaining steadfast and reliable in their jobs.

The key to making back-to-school and back-to-work a cohesive success is to developing a support system and reasonable expectations. For instance, one cannot decide that he or she will just start sleeping only 1 or 2 hours each night in order to accommodate a study schedule. It is not wise to skip all breaks at work in order to get your projects completed at a faster pace. These are not reasonable solutions for creating a doable school/work combination. We all need to be rested and refocused in order to use our brains and bodies at their ultimate capacity.

Sacrifices may have to be made regarding what you do in your free time. You might have to decline on some of your typical social engagements or skip out on those activities that have always tied up a lot of your time on nights and weekends. However, to take classes while working doesn’t mean that you must cut off all ties with fun and friends. It just requires that you be more aware and more responsible with how your time is spent. It requires that you have coworkers, friends and family in your corner who will encourage you through this journey rather than throwing in negative comments or trying to talk you out of what you want to do.

The road ahead of you might not always be an easy, downhill stretch, but there are huge rewards on the other side of this hard work and commitment. Being the best that you can be and strengthening your talents through advancement in your education is never something to be taken lightly, so here’s to creating that new rhythm and setting a pace that allows you to flourish!