Get a College Education in a Full-Time Family RV

Is it even possible to work on a college degree while traveling full-time in an RV?  Yes!  In this golden age of internet connectivity, almost any kind of work or education is available remotely, especially college courses.  More and more, students are taking classes online, so why not from a campground with an awesome view?

a man using a laptop

College classes are a gateway to better jobs and a broader mind.  If the last time you went to college, you had to lug heavy books into huge, crowded lecture halls, times have changed.  Most of what goes into a college class, including the reading material and office hours, are offered online these days.  Courses set up specifically for online learning offer the chance to continue your education anywhere and everywhere you can take your computer.  Here’s what you need to consider about taking classes while on the road.

Why Do It

Living on the road is a pretty amazing way to cut back on expenses, if you are careful.  That being said, it’s not free.  Many people who plan to live full-time in an RV run out of money because they underestimate the costs of life on the go. 

Unless you have a truly huge amount of savings, chances are you will need a way to make money at some point.  Make sure you position yourself to be able to find remote work when the time comes.  Online classes like ProPrep’s Physics 1A03 are a great resume and experience builder that demonstrate not only your commitment to learning, but also your discipline and comfort with online work.

If you are doing the full-time camper thing, especially with other people, you will quickly find that you need breaks and variety.  Taking the time to do something good for your brain can be the mental break and stretch you need to feel refreshed.  Plus, carving out time that is just for your own education helps you build a break from the 24/7 togetherness of traveling with family.  That’s a good thing for everyone!

How To Do It

If you are going to invest your time and money in online courses, take it seriously to get the most bang for your buck.  Set up the right equipment, the right space, and the right parameters.  

Wedging your old desktop computer into the corner of an already packed RV is going to be a misery.  Invest in a decent, lightweight laptop you can stash away easily.  While you are at it, set aside one cubby or bin that’s just for your school supplies.  It will help your transition from student time to family time be easier and neater. 

Give yourself a realistic work space.  Be honest with yourself about where you will perform best: inside, outside, sitting, reclining, behind a door, or with headphones on. If you know laying in bed will likely lead to you napping through class, find a place to sit up, even if it’s in your tow vehicle. 

Set up clear signals to the others in your RV so they know when you are working.  You might ask your kids to help you set up for school, so they are fully aware you are transitioning to student mode.  You might get your kids to design a Do Not Disturb sign you can hang up while working, so they can feel some ownership in your quiet time.  No matter how you arrange it, work with your family so they understand and support your time for school work.

When To Do It

Figuring out when to take classes and do homework is really going to be based on your own RV lifestyle.  Here are some tips for setting aside school time for the most common travel styles.

If you tend to stay in one location for a while, try to do your big driving on non-school days.  If you move around a lot, you are also spending a lot of your time setting up and breaking camp, which will leave less time for classes.  Consider doing work while your partner drives. 

Once you are set up in your spot for a while, choose one activity to swap out for school.  For example, commit to giving up one campfire per week or one afternoon swim for classroom time.  Whichever way you work it in, you won’t regret investing in yourself.

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