Some of you may be wrestling with the idea to go back to school during midlife. Either you already have a degree, but can't find work in your area of study, or you never went to college. I totally understand this agonizing decision! In 2003 I decided that I wanted to get my degree.
I'd like to share with you how that story has unfolded since I first thought about going to college. At the time, my daughter Kelsey was attending the local community college. I mentioned to my family that I wanted to go back to school and get my degree. They all cheered me on. Kelsey was so supportive. She went to the advisor's office with me and didn't let me leave the building until I was registered for classes. I have a confession to make, I was scared to death! I don't always do well in certain social situations, and the thought of attending classes with so many people I didn't know on a pretty good sized campus was very overwhelming. Kelsey was so sweet, she took some classes with me so I'd feel comfortable on campus.
That was in 2003. At that time in my life, I was still homeschooling my two younger children and I didn't have a lot of time to devote to my studies. The important thing was, however, I made a decision! I set goals and stuck with it. I took at least two classes at a time when I could. If I had a semester where I thought I could handle more, I'd take four classes. There were even a couple semesters where I couldn't take any classes at all. But, I got right back to it when my life allowed.
Seven years later, I received my Associates Degree. In today's world, an Associates Degree is really no greater than a high school diploma, BUT in MY world that is a great accomplishment for a mother who not only had a family to care for, but also had to work full time for most of those years. Plus, it gave me the courage to go further, and the knowledge I need to succeed in any further educational endeavors.
Today, I'm a full time student at the University of Central Florida in the Social Work program. Yes, I want to be a social worker. I truly believe that everything God has brought me through in my life, up to this point, has prepared me for this calling. To some it's a job, to me it's a calling.
Are you considering going back to school? Let me give you a few tips. First of all, find someone who will encourage you every step of the way, and will make sure you follow through on your decision. Second, pick a special field. With the job market like it is today, you need to have a specialty that you know will provide a job when you graduate. The general bachelors degree isn't specific enough to help you obtain a position as it once did. Third, set bite size goals and long term goals. Write these goals on paper, and cross off each item as you complete it. The visual will help you feel like you are getting somewhere. I think this is especially important for us mid-lifers because we tend to think our time is so limited. Well, maybe it is, but let me remind you, time goes by whether you go to school or not. Why not come out on the other end of a few years with a degree, and a new career?!
I will continue to post tips and share stories as I work my way through school. My goal... don't leave campus until I have my Master's Degree!!!
If you have any questions about how to take that first step, feel free to ask! If I don't have the answer, I'll find it for you!
..Back to studying!!!