"It’s important to remember that you can do it - because you've done it before!"Illustration by Kate Wong

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“How do I re-adapt to school life after working for several years?”


Although you have lived that “school life” before, you have now undeniably gained new experiences and probably a new approach to things – this can only be a good thing! I think it would be a mistake to try and resort back to exactly how you managed with school before because that could undermine the skills you will have picked up in the workplace. Perhaps sit down and think about all the techniques you used to use (how long you would spend on work vs. downtime, different ways you worked etc) and try them out again now – you might find they still work but you might also find new ways of doing things. It’s important to remember that you can do it – because you’ve done it before – and that it won’t necessarily be the same, and that’s all totally ok!


This sounds to me like a really great opportunity to see the world of education with fresh eyes. I know it might seem a daunting task to adapt to school life again, but you could see it as an exciting moment where you get to bring all those experiences and life lessons that you learned in the world of work with you. I’m sure there are plenty of things that those of us who aren’t in your shoes wish we’d known before we came to university. Where others might take three years to discover how to switch off from work, how to not be afraid of seizing opportunities, and how to not worry about whether they’re in the ‘cool gang’, you get to bring some of this knowledge with you pre-packed!

“...don’t be afraid to speak to your DoS or your tutor!”

And besides, who else gets to set the parameters of what ‘school life’ is but you? You get to set the pace of how you find your own rhythm and don’t worry about what you’re ‘meant’ to be doing. But if you do find yourself worrying about how you are going to find your feet, most of all be kind to yourself. It’s an amazing thing you’re doing.


I completely agree with what Amber and Bob have said. If anything, I’m jealous! There must be so many pros with having worked for several years before – I sometimes wish I were better at scheduling my day and taking regulated breaks, or at communicating with supervisors and lecturers to get what I really want, or even managing my money; all of which I’m sure you are very well versed in having gained such eye-opening experience in comparison to the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 18-year-olds piling in every October (I speak having recently been one of them). Also, if you do find yourself struggling, don’t be afraid to speak to your DoS or your tutor! They’ll probably appreciate an adult knocking at their door rather than the hundreds of man-children they deal with every day anyway…



Mountain View

The Importance of Taking Breaks

One of the biggest differences between working and studying is that when working, you would have to multi-task, but when studying, you should focus on one single task. This might be challenging, but just try to concentrate for a short period of time at first, say 10 minutes. You might find you end up staying focused for much longer. To adapt to school life, maybe you can do some recommended readings relevant to your coursework to get your mind into ‘study mode.’ Don’t worry about being different from your peers. Equipped with a variety of skills from your working experience, (communication skills, time management, etc) you could actually be at an advantage to some degree.