Top 3 People You Need in Your Support Network

Your life as a college student is filled with challenges. From your job to your family, you have to juggle a lot of responsibilities. You can’t do it all by yourself. That’s why it’s so important to build a strong support network. Surround yourself with allies you can rely upon.

Your advisors are available to support you, and your professors offer guidance. But when you’re an online student, you may never meet them in person. It’s best to have supporters close by who can jump in to help the moment you need them. Here are three key people you should enlist to help you achieve your goal.

Your Significant Other

Any time you make a big commitment, you inspire the people closest to you. Your spouse, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friend could be your biggest motivator. But when it comes to your education, you want more than just a cheerleader. When it’s study time, you want peace and quiet! And depending on your schedule, you may need someone to watch the kids when you’ve got a big assignment due.

Have you talked to your spouse or partner about earning your degree? Make sure they understand the amount of work involved, the impact on your schedule, and how far you have to go until graduation. Remember, you can negotiate anything with the people who love you most. It’s simply a matter of communication – show them how much you’re committed to earning your degree.

Your Boss

Chances are, your boss feels excited about your education. Most employers see the value of a highly educated team. Not only does education boost employee happiness and retention, an educated workforce could also improve the company’s bottom line.

So, make sure to get your boss on board with your education. Attending school demonstrates that you’re serious about your professional development. And if you’re really proactive, you could ask your boss to let you take on projects that relate to what you’re learning. What better way to start your boss thinking of you as a leader?

And don’t forget to find out if your company offers tuition reimbursement. You might ask your Human Resources department for details. If they do pay for employee education, that could dramatically reduce the cost of your education.

Your Mentor

One important key to success is to find someone who has already done what you want to do. For example, say your long-term goal is to start your own business. Then you should get to know a successful business owner. No matter who you want to become, identify an experienced person who can show you the ropes, and build a relationship together.

The same holds true for your education. If you’re just starting out in your degree program, seek out alumni who have graduated with the same degree. Whomever you choose, your mentor should be as invested in learning as you are. Your mentor can check in on your progress, give you advice, and serve as your coach.

Ultimately, the more people in your network, the more empowered you’ll be. So start building your network! Who else could support you to accomplish your goal?

Written by: Michael Mussman
Michael Mussman is Editor of Forward Thinking, the Ashford University blog.

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Every day great ideas, advice, and information are discussed around the institution. This knowledge is shared with students, alumni, friends, and faculty, but on a small scale. This blog was created to engage a larger audience, a group of lifelong learners who read, think, and provide valuable feedback. Forward Thinking is meant to be more than a blog; it’s another way of learning – for us and for you.

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