I am currently in graduate school, working on another degree. My classes are online and reading some the answers on the class discussion board I have reached the conclusion that, at the tender age of 43, I am the oldest person in my class. One semester I am pretty sure I was older than the instructor.
Being older does have its advantages. With over 20 years of work experience under my belt, I have a unique perspective on the assignments. Juggling full-time work, kids, and family responsibilities along with school has really upped my time-management skills. Finally, being a teacher and parent who is also taking classes makes me more sympathetic to my students and my child about getting assignments done.
If you’re considering going back to school, I strongly encourage you to stop thinking and start doing. I recently read an article on aarp.org entitled “10 Careers Worth Going Back to School”. There are lots of career opportunities that can come from getting more education/training. As the article shows “going back to school” doesn’t always mean college. It may be technical school, an apprentice program, or community college. You may even be fortunate enough to find an online program offered by your local university.
Money is always an issue when you’re talking about going back to school. It is a good idea to do a cost analysis as part of your consideration. If you’re going back to school with the hopes of starting a new career or getting a pay raise, run the numbers to see if it will be worth the money. But don’t let money be your deciding factor. You employer may offer tuition reimbursement (one perk of being at a job for many years). Some fields, like teaching, have loan forgiveness programs if you agree to teach in certain schools. Do your research and weigh all of your options before you decide.
There is one thing that upsets me about my decision to go back to school. I started “toying” with the idea about 4 years ago. Had I started taking classes back then, I would be done by now. Instead I hemmed and hawed, debated and analyzed, worried and fretted…basically wasting two years.
My challenge to you is this: If you’re thinking about going back to school….DO IT. Quit waiting. Quit trying to talk yourself into it. Quit trying to justify it. If it’s a thought that’s been gnawing at you for any length of time, you need to take action. The years will pass whether you go back to school or not.