Sure, the thought of being better educated, higher odds at success and that of returning to school, sounds nice.
But bringing it down to reality, beyond wishful thinking, here are the top 5 questions to ask yourself before making the next move to go back to school.
1. Why Do You Want To Go Back To School?
It’s true: life demands different things of us at different stages.
Hence a good question to ask yourself before you go back to school is to determine the real reason you are considering going back to school.
Is it for self-fulfillment, career advantage, or a means to boost your business?
Also consider, if this a good time for you to go back to school.
Do you have the time you’ll need to attend classes and time to study?
Can you manage the workload?
Will you still have time to work, to be there for your family, to live your life?
Consider the things you might have to give up in order to devote yourself to your studies versus the motivation for you to go back to school. Is it worth it?
2. Can You Realistically Combine It With Motherhood?
Consider your current stage of motherhood and determine if you’re at a place where you can realistically add going back to school to the mix of motherhood.
Granted, the length of time it takes you to complete your degree depends on what you’re going back to school to study, and the credit load required for that discipline.
But you must take time to evaluate this and set goals that match your current reality.
If for instance, you’re at the stage of motherhood where you’re currently nursing a toddler and a preschooler, coupled with other professional and personal commitments, enrolling to get an M.A for instance in a year may not be realistic.
Assess the amount of school work you can reasonably manage in your schedule and progressively move forward by delaying until a more convenient time in motherhood, or signing up for a flexible, part-time program if you insist on going back to school now.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to time management and creating a plan.
Develop a routine in a structured environment by setting up certain dates and times to accomplish your educational goals.
Once you find your flow, which could be maybe an hour after the kids are in bed or a few hours on a Sunday morning, do your best to stick to it.
Yes, things will come up, and meeting up will be near impossible on some days; but finding the balance between life, work and school will be your key to success.
Depending on your stage of motherhood and other factors, you can slow the pace down or accelerate the amount of time you can dedicate to your school program.
3. What Mode (Online Or Physical) Would Be Best For You?
With a myriad of flexible options available today, the good news is that you can work towards your degree at your own pace, from your convenience point.
Higher education institutions are evolving by making degree program formats more flexible than ever.
Graduate and undergraduate students have the option to earn most degrees without physical proximity proving a challenge.
Some others offer degrees in a hybrid format, allowing students the flexibility of online learning while also providing some opportunities for face-to-face instruction.
This means you can choose the back-to-school mode that works best for you.
Do you think mapping out a few hours daily (as required) to attend a class online is something you can realistically do, can you manage distractions well enough to still be focused?
Or you’re the type of person that needs to be in the four walls of a classroom for it to feel like schooling?
Taking courses online does not necessarily mean the degree program will be easy; the same expectations apply to online courses as they do in a traditional classroom setting.
Plus, life does not stop because you are attending Uni.
You must still meet the expectations of work, life, and family, so understand any sacrifices you may need to take to meet your goals.
Seek out the schools with offers that best match what you want to achieve, find out what their admission process requires, and then get to it.
4. Ask Yourself: Can I Afford To Go Back To School?
Consider your finances— income streams, expenses, and all that—before going further on that wish to go back to school.
After all said and done, can you afford it?
Ask yourself if your level of desire is worth the cost. Do you want to go back to school bad enough to make the work and expense worth it?
On the bright side, however, in as much as school can be expensive, there is help out there.
If your need to return to school outweighs your financial incapability, do your research ahead of time, for financial aids available to you.
Find out how much money you need and the means available to get it. Loans aren’t the only option. Look into grants, scholarships, and pay-as-you-go.
As you begin deliberating ways to pay for school, you might speak with your employer about possible financial support.
More and more organisations are beginning to make available tuition assistance programs.
Investing the newfound skills and expertise you gain from advancing your education into a new position within your existing company is a win-win situation for both you and your employer.
Plus, some companies provide education allowances or offer to reimburse employees for the cost of education.
If your company has such perks, take advantage of the opportunity.
5. Do I Have The Support At Home, Work, Or My Business To Aid Me?
Be honest about whether or not you have the support you need to go back to school. Are there people in your life who will be your cheerleaders and show up for you when you need them?
Recognizing the expectations required for going back to school will only help you as you navigate the tricky balance of work, school, and life.
Is your spouse into the idea of you going back to school as much as you are?
Are you both on the same page?
Are your kids still around the age where they need someone to look after them while you do your school runs, if yes, do you have a relative, house help, or nanny for that purpose?
Will your company allow you to study during breaks and slow times?
In as much as no one is telling you to go do your homework, creating a structured routine off support from home and your business/office will help you cultivate the self-discipline necessary to achieve your goals.
Tell your family and the people that matter in your life. the type of commitment you are making –it will affect them all. An understanding, supportive family atmosphere; a spouse helping with the dishes so you can prepare for a test will help you achieve your goal.
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