Thinking of Going Back to School? Here are 5 Things to Consider Before You Decide

This week on Episode 128 of Productivity Paradox, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tiffany Sorya, founder of the Novel Education Group, to talk all about how we can minimize stress and feelings of burnout when it comes to school — no matter if we’re talking about our kids as they navigate their education, or if we’re talking about education as it relates to us as adults!

 

After all, it’s not just younger kids and teenagers that are faced with juggling responsibilities on a school front anymore, right? We see more and more adults returning to school to better themselves personally and professionally each and every day!

So keeping in tune with my conversation with Tiffany this week, I want to take some time here today to talk about how we might determine if going back to school is truly something that we might like to take on as adults.

Maybe you’ve been feeling unfulfilled in your current job and want to return to school to give yourself a professional boost, or maybe you’ve been feeling like the degree you did go to college for all of those years ago just isn’t cutting it anymore in terms of what you’re truly passionate about in life… Or maybe, just maybe, you’re juggling with the decision of going back to school so that you can finally get that degree you had your heart set on before you started your family or working at your current job!

Whatever the case may be, going back to school is a huge decision no matter where you are in life… So to help lessen some of the “What if?” that surrounds the decision from the get-go, I thought we might dial in on just 5 things that you should consider before taking the plunge and enrolling at your local college.

Let’s get started!

 

5 Things to Consider Before Going Back to School

 

1. Time–

Time is a big factor when considering whether or not going back to school is something you’re able to take on, and this is especially true if you’re already working a full-time job, and have kids, a spouse, and other big responsibilities at home that require a lot of your attention!

If you’re working a full-time job already, ask yourself if there’s any wiggle room in your existing schedule to tackle the workload that returning to school will require. Will you have enough time to attend class and complete your work within your existing schedule? If you need to take classes on-campus, will your boss be lenient in your work hours so that you can dip out of the office at 3:00 to make it to your 3:30 class in time?

Alternatively, is attending school online an option for you in terms of the degree you’re looking to pursue? If so, how will you make room in your schedule to accommodate tuning in for online lectures and completing tests and homework assignments?

If you’re already well-versed in planning your tasks each day, then chances are you’ll be able to fine-tune your schedule in a way that your scholastic endeavors won’t cut into your time spent with family and friends, or on your existing work responsibilities. But if you find that you’re already strapped for time and run into feelings of burnout as your schedule stands right now — and you won’t be able to cut out any existing responsibility — then it may be your best bet to hold off on school until things slow down for you just a bit!

 

2. Money–

Let’s face it: Now that you’re out of your parents’ house and are well into your adulthood, chances are… You’ll be the one fitting the bill for your education – not your parents, like the arrangement may have been when you first graduated from high school!

The Money Factor is real, no matter what you do at your current job and regardless of how good your finances look right now on paper.

How will you pay for your education now that you’re beyond some of the resources that were available to you as a teenager? It’s important to research any possible federal grants that may be available to you as an adult learner, and dial in on any possible scholarship opportunities to help you keep the cost of your new degree down.

Remember: FAFSA.gov is a great resource to determine your eligibility to receive a grant to return to school! Whether you’re financially capable of handling the costs on your own, or you’re in need of some help… it never hurts to fill out the FAFSA form and see what you may qualify for.

The less student debt you wind up with upon your graduation, the better!

 

3. Job Mobility–

How might returning to school affect your success in your current position? Will going back to school aid in your quest to obtain your dream job, even if that dream job is outside of your existing field?

If there’s a chance that going back to school will provide you with an opportunity to advance in your career – and your current field is the place that you truly want to be when all is said and done, then great! Go for it!

Who knows? If the degree you have in mind will benefit you professionally, then you may be able to get some assistance from the company that you currently work for. Check in with your HR department or supervisor to determine if there are any programs in place that will help you tackle some of the costs of college…

After all, any skills you gain by going back to school that might benefit you as a professional will also be beneficial to those that you work for!

 

4. Purpose / Passion–

If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your current field as a professional, then maybe it’s time to refocus your energy on the things that you’re truly passionate about.

What is your Personal Mission Statement – that is, the North Star that guides you in life?

On this week’s episode, Tiffany Sorya emphasizes the importance of honing in on our strengths and our passions when it comes to navigating our education… And while our conversation touched mostly on how to help our kiddos navigate school by focusing on the things (subjects) they’re most passionate about, as an adult learner, it’s imperative that you have a handle on your strengths and passions, too!

If returning to school will provide you with a degree and career opportunity that is truly in alignment when your mission statement, your purpose, and the things that you are most passionate about in life, then why not take the plunge and give school a try?

If the reward you receive upon graduation brings you that much closer to leading a life that you truly love and that leaves you feeling joyful and fulfilled at the end of the day, then I say… Go for it!

 

5. Results–

This one ties into what we spoke about in the last section, but it’s definitely something big to consider as you contemplate whether returning to school is right for you at this point in your life.

What might the end result be of your returning to school? Will those results allow you to truly enjoy the life you’ve been given? Will it open up doors for you that, up until this point, you felt would always remain closed? Will graduating put the smile back on your face that you feel like you’ve been missing for X number of years?

As difficult as returning to school may be when you consider the time, money, and energy that it will require of you as you work your way through to your new degree, it’s just as important to consider what the results of your scholastic endeavors will mean to you on a personal level.

If returning to school will cross of a major goal you have set for yourself and will provide you with happiness and peace of mind… then maybe all of the “difficult stuff” will be well worth it in the end.

Imagine how you’ll feel once you have that degree in your hand, and let your intuition guide you in your decision-making!

If your gut is telling you that returning to school is the right choice, great! If it isn’t, then it might be time to get back to basics and set some new, fulfilling goals.

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If you recently made the decision to return to school, I want to know: What were the deciding factors for you? What helped you make the choice to go after that degree? Share your decision-making process and your experiences as an adult student so far in the comments below…

And definitely check out Episode 128 to hear all about what Tiffany Sorya had to say about how we can lessen the stress that often surrounds school and the workload that comes with it!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton