Chapter 1 Adult Learner Awareness
1.4 Impact on Your Network
The decision to return to school doesn’t only impact you. It impacts family, friends, and co-workers. It often means that you are no longer as available to people as you normally are. This can impact others in numerous ways. Sometimes people are resentful because they feel they don’t have as much of you as they are accustomed to. Others are incredibly supportive and step up in ways that you never expected. One thing you can count on is that it will change things. You will need to keep the lines of communication open and not just pretend everything is as usual.
Families need to understand why your goals are important not just for you, but for the whole family. Have discussions not only about what you want to accomplish, but why. Identify the outcomes you see from doing this. That will help your loved ones get on board. Families need to discuss how the family will support you in your goals. Often that means a redistribution of chores and responsibilities. For example, teenagers can take responsibility for a regular meal night. It’s important to discuss things in advance so expectations are clear. Having a family that supports you in your goals can be a huge boost to your success.
Look for signs that your schooling is impacting those around you – either positively or negatively. Whether at home, at work, or in important relationships, you may need to reaffirm relationships so that others aren’t hurt by the fact that you have replaced time with them for time investing into your future. Reassure them that it is temporary. Paint a picture of how things will change once you’ve finished your schooling. Thank people for stepping up to the plate for you, whether it’s at work or at home, a little or a lot. Gratitude goes a long way.
Think about the people who are important to you that will be most impacted by you going to school.
- Make a chart with three columns.
- In the first column, list the people who will be impacted the most and note their relation to you (e.g.: daughter, co-worker, etc.).
- In the second column, note specifically the impact it will have on each person.
- In the third column, note what you can reasonably do to alleviate negative impacts or enhance positive ones.
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