If you are looking for a job or want to advance in your career, you might be asking if you should go back to school. Getting more education is great for a lot of reasons but there are some considerations that need to be well-thought out before you step into the “Ivy halls.”:
1. Know you purpose for going back to school – it’s not enought to get a degree as you must know what that degree will do for you and your career. You must research the field you are in, or want to go into, to know how viable the market is, salary ranges, companies that hire for the degree field, as well as the job descriptions/requirements. All of this information will help you know if your degree is worth pursuing.
2. Make the commitment – if you decide to go to school, then make a full commitment to put your time and effort to do the work that is needed. Show up for class, be prepared, participate. Don’t allow your personal life to interfere (which leads to #3)
3. Get your personal life in order before you sign up – discuss with your family the time needed to focus on your school work; have contingency plans in place for when your child is sick, you are on travel, or any other “issues” that may arise; make sure you have study habits in place and the right tools or materials that will be needed, such as a computer, copy paper and ink, pens, etc.
4. Practice self-care – balancing work and life along with school will create many challenges and stressors so it will be important that you figure your self-care into your calendar. Dependent on the institution and instructor, the pressure to complete work can be demanding and it can feel like you are being pulled into many different directions so you will want to find time and ways to keep your emotional and physical level up.
5. Have a support team in place – going back to school is exciting but it can feel like you are an island as you try to juggle your work with family and school so having supportive people in your corner will help. It could be a family member, a friend, a coach or fellow students. You can get through a lot easier if you feel supported and have a cheerleader in your corner.
I’m a big fan of lifelong learning but I see too many students who have good intentions but not the drive or commitment which can leave both them and their instructors frustrated. If you are considering a return to school, take the time to answer the questions above. It can help to reaffirm your decision and to be better prepared.