Organized Chaos of Adult Learners
A Day in the Life of Mike Wilkin:
Mike begins his days at work between 5am and 7am. Mike spends approximately 25% of his day reviewing production defects documented by the internal auditors and then sorts them by location for investigation. He then spends 50% of his day investigating the validity of those production defects and interviewing operators to determine root cause and corrective action. Mike spends the remainder of his workday working with individual departments fixing any processing or material defects that need addressed and corrected.
When Mike gets off work, he dedicates a few hours each evening to homework. Mike is in the FLEX program at Millikin University and is a full-time student. While Mike juggles his own assignments, he has a 17-year-old daughter that is currently remote learning. She needs Mike’s help with her work as well due to the struggles high school students that are online learning seem to be experiencing. Mike states, “online learning for high schoolers is pure garbage.” These are some challenging times we are in and parents were not prepared for the added stress.
On Tuesday’s, Mike takes time for some selfcare. Mike spends from 7pm-9pm at the bowling alley. He is on a league and bowls 4 games individually. On the other nights, Mike makes sure to take some time for himself. He spends about an hour or so at the gym working out or playing Tennis. Once Spring hits and the weather improves, Mike replaces these indoor activities with outdoor activities, including Softball. Mike enjoys staying active and makes sure to take time for himself outside of the work/school obligations. This is a great work/life balance.
Despite Mike’s busy schedule, he does his best to maintain a routine sleep schedule to ensure he is getting enough rest. Rest is important when you are trying to maintain a hectic schedule. Mike tries to get to bed around 8:30pm most nights. Sleep is important to avoid burnout.
Mike’s advice to anyone considering entering the FLEX Organizational Leadership program at Millikin University is to “learn to manage your time.” Mike has realized that this is an intense program and every minute counts. He wants everyone to know that the instructors want you to be successful and you will build relationships with those you are in the cohort with. Mike’s final words of advice, “Ask for help!”
I have enjoyed engaging with Mike over the last two years as we have worked our way through this program. I can relate to Mike in the busy, non-stop, chaos and deadlines of work, school, and day-to-day obligations. I cannot agree more that the work/life balance is key and so is learning to manage your time. I also work many hours, have a teenager remote learning, and am a full-time student. I struggle to make time for myself, but it is important to maintain your sanity.
Melinda Rueter is a Professor at Millikin connected to the Organizational Leadership major and Tabor School of Business. She teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays but adds a 4-hour evening class in the Fall semester. She advises Communication students on internships which can consume a considerable amount of her time during different parts of the semester.
Melinda Rueter has worked with FLEX students and knows that most of them have a full-time job and often families in conjunction with the schoolwork. Her observations from working with FLEX students who have jobs and/or families has been that finding a balance that allows them to complete all assignments can be a challenge. Recently with COVID, she has noticed this to be especially hard for parents who have children that are also home participating in remote learning.
Melinda’s advice for students in the OL FLEX program is “to find a structure that works for you.” She recommends advocating for yourself and finding support from family, friends, and other classmates.
About the writer:
Data-driven OSHA 30 certified safety specialist with 15 years industry experience. Experienced maintenance technician in the manufacturing/construction industry. Strong operations experience and safety compliance with the ability to create a culture of engagement and organizational effectiveness.
Dedicated to supporting performance excellence and continuous improvement processes while creating a competitive safety culture. Strong case management, program implementation, and large project oversight with the ability to support business continuity. Possesses team building strategies that support empowerment and continuous colleague development. Ability to work in teams and create sustainable improvements within multiple levels of a company.
Co-Founder of @NotForgotten a local non-profit that develops community engagement and resources for people living with exceptional needs.
Full-time student of organizational leadership at Millikin University and member of the Tabor School of Business Honor’s Society.