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Have you been toying around with the idea of going back to school and continuing your education? With the job market getting more and more competitive these days, more and more people are deciding to go back to school to continue their education.
I was in your shoes a few years ago when I knew I wanted to continue my education, but I was honestly unsure of how I would be able to balance everything. Would it be a waste of time? Would it be worth it? Could I afford it?
I think that the answers to those questions depend on you and your circumstance, but if you decide to take the plunge, I wanted to offer you some advice that I wish someone would have told me!
Your expectations for “normal” are going to have to change
I made the decision to do graduate school while I worked full-time. And yes, it can be done. I knew I’d be busier, but I wasn’t prepared for the fact that my apartment would almost never be clean and that I was going to have to start staying up later AND getting up earlier to get m work done. Sure I still watched too much Netflix, but I had to learn how to be disciplined in a whole new way. Life in school isn’t at all bad, but it’s different and you need to be willing to adapt.
Figure out your support system before you go back to school
I feel like this is especially important if you have kids, but I can’t stress a good support system enough (in life in general, and in this instance as well). Whether that’s someone in your program or a few friends and family members, identify those key people and while you take care of them, let them take care of you!
You’re going to have to make sacrifices
I’m SO thankful for great friends who have not abandoned me when I basically hibernated in the library for extended amounts of time. That meant, however, missing out on a lot of fun things ranging from parties the night of class to turning down a multitude of invitations to hang out when I had too much homework.. When it comes to family, you might not always be there, but I can promise you that I don’t feel like being in school has hurt my relationship with my husband even though I do wish I we could have more lazy/spontaneous days.
Your timeline might not be “traditional”
You’re supposed to finish college in four years, right? Well, wrong. That’s only if everything goes according to plan and that very rarely happens. During graduate school I got engaged, planned a wedding, and then decided to take a semester off so that I wouldn’t have to do homework on my honeymoon and could adjust to the new phase in our lives a little easier. I could have graduated in May, but I decided to spread out two of my courses so that I could work around a major work conflict and go on a vacation. I’ll be done in December, but as with most adults who are in school, you may just need to throw your “schedule” out the window when life happens.
You CAN do it
Don’t get freaked out. Don’t let fear be the reason why you don’t do something as important as continuing your education. It doesn’t matter if you need to or even just want to. Have faith in yourself and try to find balance in all that you do. It is totally doable.
Are you in school and do you have any tips?
Are you thinking about going into a new program or degree and you’re hesitant?