Being a married college student sounds romantic at first. You’ll have the person who’s most special to you by your side as you struggle through your course work. Even during the holidays when everyone is away, you won’t feel lonely. When you need love and support, you can always turn to your spouse for encouragement.
However, this image of peace and happiness as a married college student can quickly fade once obstacles and challenges start appearing. College and marriage are tough. Juggling both takes serious commitment.
If you’ve been married for some time, how do you talk with your spouse about going back to school? Read on to learn useful strategies to find a balance between your student goals and your relationship.
The Attractive Benefits of Being a Married College Student
Being married has its good side. Like all aspects of life, it comes with its pros and cons. Let’s explore how being a married college student can be an enriching experience.
1. Your Relationship with Your Spouse will Grow
Challenges exist to bring out the good in relationships. If you already have a strong bond with your partner, figuring out together the best way to get through the obstacles of going back to school will only make your relationship stronger. Yes, college is tough. But going through it together can result in a deeper and closer bond between you and your spouse.
2. You’ll Enjoy Security
If you’ve traveled miles to pursue a program or savings on tuition, you’ll likely feel isolated as you struggle to adjust to a new environment. Having a spouse with you will make you feel secure.
The Challenges of Being a Married College Student
Being married in college is tough. Here are three things you’ll find yourself struggling with.
1. Your Time: Striking a Balance between Your Studies and Your Relationship
Being married requires commitment. You and your spouse have promised to support each other through the tough times.
With the amount of college homework you need to complete, the hours you need to set aside for lectures, and the exams you need to prepare for, you’ll only have a limited time to spend with your spouse.
Quality time and emotional support keep marriages strong. When you have too little of either, your relationship starts to break apart. You get lost in your own individual lives and start taking each other for granted. If you’re a college student deep into research, homework, and preparing for finals, setting aside time to connect with your spouse is a challenge.
2. Your Finances: Dealing with Expenses as a Married College Student
For most couples, being married means sharing finances. It means running a household, setting a budget, and meeting financial difficulties that come along.
If you and your spouse have kids, your financial responsibilities are even larger. According to CBS News, it costs around $233, 610 to raise a child until he or she turns 17.
Although continuing to work towards your degree will significantly help you earn higher wages, you need to consider the expense of going to college. College is not cheap, no matter where you go. When you’re already dealing with household bills and childcare expenses, even the most affordable community college will weigh heavily on your finances.
For many, this roadblock is enough to convince them to drop out of college. The stress of making a marriage work, plus providing for a family financially, makes it difficult to stay on track with pursuing a degree.
3. Your University Life: How It’ll Be Different for You as a Married College Student
College life is a rich experience. As you work towards your degree, you get to meet people from so many different walks of life. You get to hang out, learn about each other and spend quality time together. More often than not, these relationships become deep and close.
As a married student, things can be more challenging for you. For instance, it might be uncomfortable for your spouse to know you’re spending so much time with people of the opposite sex. College life is different from career life. It is free, engaging, and open. As a married person, you might feel you’re missing out on the whole college experience. Certainly, it’ll be different for you than it’ll be for singles.
So, is it impossible to work through both college and marriage? The answer is it is possible. With these five steps, you’ll be able to overcome common obstacles standing in the way of being a happily married college student.
Five Ways to Overcome the Problems Related with Being a Married Collage Student
With determination, courage, and the right strategies, you’ll be able to get through the difficulties of juggling marriage and college. Here are five tips to consider.
1. Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Getting married before you graduate college means you’ll suddenly find yourself with more to do than you can handle. You have term papers to write, household chores to deal with, and the needs of your spouse to worry about.
Here are three tips to help you divide your time evenly between spouse, schoolwork, and self-care.
1. Plan Out Your Whole Semester in Advance
You don’t want exams and activities to hit you out of the blue. Plan for time to be buried in schoolwork and time to spend with your spouse and family.
Before the semester starts, make sure to print out the syllabus. Take note of exam dates, activities, and when the finals begin so that it is easier to strike a balance between college life and married life.
2. Make Time for Self-Care
Neglecting self-care is a mistake you shouldn’t make. No matter how busy you are, taking care of the needs of your partner and your course work, you need time for yourself. You need enough sleep, recreation, and exercise. When creating your schedule, set aside enough time for each of these. The better you care for yourself, the more energy you’ll have to tackle the challenges ahead.
3. Set Aside Time for Date Nights
Date nights aren’t luxuries. They’re essential to keep the fire from burning out between you and your spouse. Set aside at least an evening a week for date night. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Have dinner together or spend an hour or two talking. After the date, you’ll feel more connected with your spouse. If you do this regularly, it’ll be easier to understand each other amidst the struggle of your busy lives.
2. Consider Grants for Married College Students
If you’re wondering how to afford to be a married college student, you’re not alone. The good news is there are grants for married college students that ease your financial burden. Here are three kinds.
1. Federal Aid
Fill in the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Afterward, you’ll know which federal grants you can qualify for.
2. University Grants
If you’re having difficulty with finances for college, a scholarship could be the answer for you. A number of universities offer attractive scholarship programs to students.
3. Grants from Private Institutions
There are organizations and institutions that support college students pursuing a certain career. You can explore different grants for women, minorities, or married college students.
3. Talk to Your Spouse
If you’ve taken a break from college and gotten married, it’s important to discuss going back to school with your spouse. Set aside some quiet time together. Share your reasons for wanting to go back to school. Carefully listen to what your spouse has to say. What you decide should be a mutual decision.
4. Go for Couples’ Therapy
This sounds a little extreme at first, but you’ll be amazed at how much it can help if you’re really having problems. You can go for individual therapy, or go together for therapy as a couple.
5. Find Innovative Ways to Make Earning Your Degree Easier and More Affordable
Being married in college is tough, but you shouldn’t give up.
There are proven shortcuts you can take to make your journey towards graduation faster and more affordable. For instance, you can take exams for credit.
Here are three options for credit-by-exam.
CLEP | UExcel | DSST
These exams don’t cost as much as a whole college course. For instance, you can take a CLEP or UExcel exam for just $85. If you pass, you get three credits you can add to help earn your degree.
Credit-by-exam means you no longer need to attend lengthy lectures. You can save as much as $800 for each three-credit course. You’ll be less busy with college, and have more time to spend with your spouse.
Need help preparing for credit-by-exam? We at Achieve can help you get to your goals.
How to Juggle Married Life and College
For many couples, college or graduate school can mean the end of their marriage. The pressures of dealing with both take their toll on the relationship between spouses.
The key is to be honest with your spouse. Spend time talking about your situation. Also, create a schedule and plan dates and quality time together. If you feel your courses are eating so much of your time, credit-by-exam can lighten your load and give you more free time.
Do you feel stuck as you juggle the many college requirements plus your marital duties? Visit us at Achieve, where you can get 1:1 mentoring, help with your exam preparation, and a library full of helpful hints and resources.