Balancing the "Dynamic Trinity" - Updated.

UPDATE.

This post is from 2017. Since then, I've been promoted, graduated from Law School, moved to another state, became a Certified Diversity Executive, and started a business. I am also an active member of The Color of Excellence, a nonprofit organization that educates, empowers, and enhances law students and attorneys of color. 

While in Law School, I found my people. My two law school besties, who are now lifelong friends got me through so much more than school. We were there for each other through the end of friendships and relationships, stressful nights studying, disappointments, and bad days at work. I can wholeheartedly say without them and their support, I would not have graduated from Law School.   

After Law School, I was promoted to a Director position handling Compliance activities, which aligned with my chosen career path and allowed for some financial freedom. My older children became adults and I am now the parent of a very opinionated teenager. With the kids older, I was able to explore some interests I put on hold, including traveling and gardening. 

I say all of that because there is light at the end of the tunnel. You won't be balancing the dynamic trinity forever. But, in the end, it's all worth it. You'll come out the other side stronger, smarter, and even closer to your goals.

ORIGINAL POST - 2017

I've balanced work, school, and familial responsibilities throughout my adult life. With a great support system (I see you, FAM!) and a goal to leave something meaningful behind for my children, I obtained my Bachelor's and Master's degrees while balancing the "dynamic trinity." It's been exhausting, exciting, stressful, and motivating all at the same time. And it's been worth it. Each degree earned meant personal & professional advancement and an opportunity to relate determination and hard work to my children. Hence why I am returning to school again - this time Law School, because  I aspire to have an alphabet soup of letters behind my nameπŸ˜„πŸ˜„, showing the world that #blackgirlmagic is REAL.

Photo Source: CampusClipper.com

Why call this balancing act the Dynamic Trinity? Well, it takes a certain kind of individual to take on the responsibilities and obligations that entail managing a family, progressing along the career ladder, and embarking on a journey of knowledge, all at the same time. It takes tenacity, determination, resilience, confidence, and faith to juggle these three hefty containers. I mean, have you watched a juggler? That skill is dynamic.


Photo Source: DegreeQuery.com

The thing is, balancing the Dynamic Trinity seems normal to me. And it's actually the norm for so many of us. From single dads working the mid-level position while attending online classes for that MBA; to the 20-something sister who helps her older sister out with childcare while attending GED/CNA classes 4 afternoons a week; to the career shifter, who decides to go back to school and get that degree in Interior Design because she always aspired to have her own design boutique. The list goes on.

Photo Source: Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education

So how can WE successfully balance the Dynamic Trinity? Several colleges and universities offer students handbooks and brochures on balancing work, life, and school. These are excellent places to start because they provide specific and relevant information. If you're already in school, check with your school's student affairs office.

Photo Source: the University of Wisconsin @ Green Bay

Here are a few tips gained from experience:
  1. First & foremost, you need to identify your support system. This group of individuals understands, supports, motivates, and are rooting for your success. They can be your family, friends, classmates, co-workers, professors & supervisors, or anyone who can offer you genuine support. Trust me, you CAN'T do this alone. Remember to take time to thank your team, keep them in the loop (your schedule, career, and school plans), and spread the love. 
  2. Time Management is a MUST! I'm not the most routine individual, so a planner (both print and online) definitely saved me from forgetting parent-teacher conferences, monthly staff meetings, and deadlines for school assignments. Schedule time to study, spend time with family, and some time for yourself. It might seem odd scheduling your life, but being aware of your weekly or daily schedule helps you stay on top of everything, decreasing stress. The less stress, the better you'll feel and able to tackle everything on your plate.
  3. Listen to your body. If you're tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, etc., take time to center yourself. If that means taking a "mental health day" and staying in bed, DO IT, you've earned it. While the journey is long and, at times, rough, there is no need to overwork yourself. You have to be at your best if you're going to graduate! 
  4. Set realistic goals, then be flexible. It took me an extra year to get my undergrad degree due to taking time off due to high-risk pregnancy. When I returned, I had a new job and gained experience from a brief stint in AmeriCorps. I was actually better prepared than last year. If I'd let that time off knock me off track, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. Don't let setbacks derail you! Life happens. Better to change with it. The end game is the same. The journey doesn't have to be. 
  5. Look at all the options. Is it possible to take hybrid (online classes with some face-to-face days) or online-only classes? Is your employer flexible regarding time/schedule or even book or tuition reimbursement? Does your school offer childcare services? Explore every opportunity to better support your goals. Accepting help and advocating for yourself is one of the main aspects that will get you through the journey. 
I have no doubt that ya'll are doing the damn thing, getting those grades, passing those classes, taking your seats at the table, and making those family memories while living life. I'm rooting for you, you amazing DYNAMIC juggler!

Have any tips? Questions? Interested in taking the Dynamic Trinity on? Hit us up. We got you!

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