Looking Back: Final Thoughts as I Finish my BS in Fire Science Degree

Going back to school is hard!!!!!!!  I am a mother of a first grader and a second grader, both of whom play hockey.  My husband and I work full time jobs that include mandatory overtime, meaning we don’t always know when we will have to stay working.  I found that incorporating school work into my family’s busy lives wasn’t easy.  But I did it and now here I am, waiting for my final grades and my diploma!

As I look back at the last year and a half, there are things I have learned that I believe will help future students.  To begin with, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!  It may be crazy at times and you may be awake later than you’d planned, but earning your degree is an achievable goal.  The keys to success are to plan ahead, be efficient with your time, and remain professional in your posts and your work.  

Planning ahead starts with talking to your advisor about your goals and your life.  Discuss what you believe your setbacks will be and what your needs are. Your advisor is there to help you and has resources available if you need them.  

When it came to the assignments due each week, I would have my reading done by Sunday night and would start off by answering the discussion question.  I found that by starting Sunday night, I was able to put the time into a good post and it allowed me to get a head start on the work required for the week.  This left me with discussion responses and a paper due by the end of the week.  

I found that my best time to get my work done was between 8pm and 10pm each night, once the kids were in bed.  It was hard getting used to working so late but by doing a bit each night I was able to get my work done and turned in by Friday night.  This left me the weekend to get the reading done and start the next week from there.  

Using your time efficiently is one of the hardest things to do but one that is of the utmost importance.  As I mentioned, I set aside from 8:00pm until 10:00pm nightly to get all of my work done and was able to have the entirety of my work submitted by Friday night.  This left me with the weekend to do my readings which were easy to do while I was at hockey practice and spending time with my family.  Needless to say, everyone has different lives and schedules to follow.  Whether you chose to do your work at 5:00am or 8:00pm, the important thing is to set aside time each day to get it done.  This decreases overall stress and allows you to enjoy other areas of life!

The last nugget of advice I would like to leave for my fellow future Anna Maria College Alumni is to not get caught up in personality differences.  While the majority of my professors and students were great to work with, there were times where we couldn’t see eye to eye.  Each time I went to make a post, I would remind myself to remain professional no matter what was being said at the time.   Regardless of the career path you choose, you will have people you do not agree with but have to work with none-the-less.  Now is the perfect time to work on developing your patience and interpersonal skills.  

I hope you find your experiences at Anna Maria College as beneficial as I did.  Remember to plan ahead, be efficient with your time, and remain professional in your posts and your work and you will do great!  


About the Author

Shana Clark

Shana is a wife and a mom to 2 school age children. She also works full time as a Fire Investigator, has been in the fire service since 1999. Shana has returned to school and is receiving her bachelors in Fire Science from Anna Maria College Online.