If you’re like me and you're finding yourself at a crossroads in life and have also decided to go back into education, there are probably all kinds of questions and uncertainties weighing on your mind. Here, I’ve listed some of the best tips for any adult going back to school…
When you come back to education after a long break from it, it can be a very daunting prospect. If you’re in your 30s (or 40s like me!) and about to go to an institution that’s full of people much younger than you, it’s pretty common to suddenly become much more introverted than you thought you were. When I was in college, I remember having classmates much older than myself... and it was the coolest thing! They were our favorite classmates because they were already working and so could tell us all about the professional life.
So it may be a little scary at first, but I strongly recommend you come out of your shell. By developing a network of good friends and acquaintances, you’ll do a lot to enhance your experience, and have someone to fall back on when the actual grind of education gets tough. Having people who you can discuss coursework, exams and assignments with, and borrow or trade notes with when you miss a class, will make the whole experience both easier and more enjoyable. It's just like being in college again! Except you have more money, experience and wrinkles now haha.
Manage your time.
Being able to manage your time effectively is essential for any student, particularly adults who are coming back to education after a long break. This is even more important if, like adult students, you’re having to juggle your education with providing for a family and various other commitments. This is actually the only thing holding me back now. I don't have the time yet!
In school, whether in a campus or online, you’ll be supplied with a timetable for your classes of course, but it may be helpful to create your own, setting aside times for all your commitments outside of education that you need to stay on top of. Over time, you’ll learn what needs to take priority, and how to accept the fact that you simply can’t do everything in some instances. Of course, if you need to be on-call as a parent and partner around the clock, it can mean your options are even more constrained. Fortunately, there are ways around this. A lot of popular majors, such as bachelor’s degrees in business administration, are run through online programs that allow you a lot of freedom to move your personal timetable around.
Use technology at every opportunity.
One great thing about education is that it allows you all kinds of opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills, even in things that have nothing to do with the subject you’re studying. If you’re looking to improve your career prospects through further education, then the one thing you should make time for is using all the technology that’s available to you. Basic IT, and everything it’s evolved into, is used extensively at modern educational institutions, and there’s bound to be some way for you to try it all out. The more clubs you join and credits you can obtain related to modern technology, the more impressive your CV will be by the time you go looking for the next big step in your career.
I thought my CV was impressive enough but apparently it isn't anymore. With the world rapidly going online, my extensive experience in print publishing just isn't cutting it anymore. So I need to go back to school, working mamas! If you have tips on which online school or campus is good to old folks like me, please do tell!
*image from Flickr