Whether you’re a young adult who entered the job market early or a parent who is sending their own children off to college, it’s never too late to start thinking about your continuing education. And while college may seem intimidating (especially if you’ve been out for awhile) there are many reasons why you owe it to yourself to return to school and get the degree you’ve always wanted (but never thought you could have).
1. Invest in yourself. You are worth it! Nothing in your life is more important than you (no matter what your boss, spouse, children, or the blood bank would have you believe). So whether you’re going back to fulfill a personal goal or in order to better provide for your family, make sure you use your return to learning as a way to focus on yourself for a change.
2. Increase your earning potential. There is no better way to break the proverbial glass ceiling and boost your salary than to earn a degree. There are even online MBA programs you can enroll in if you are interested in the business world. If you already have work experience in the area you’re studying, you will learn more about your field, not only increasing your dollar value, but also improving your odds of success.
3. Do something new. Are you tired of toiling away at the same job you’ve had for the past ten years? Or maybe you’ve gone as high as you can in your chosen profession and no longer find it fulfilling (or even interesting). Now is the time to think about a career change. And it is said that the happiest people change their occupation several times throughout their adult life. They also say variety is the spice of life. Well, they can’t all be wrong. The best solution for boredom is to try something new.
4. Follow your dreams. Some dreams are not attainable. You may never make it to the moon, dance for the New York City Ballet, or start the company that will knock Apple off its throne. But if your goals are a bit more realistic, say a degree in psychology, then what the heck are you waiting for? A college degree is well within your reach, so stop making excuses and go for it!
5. Conquer your fears. Okay, a sea of 18- to 22-year-old kids can be a little scary if you’re starting to get a little long in the tooth. But don’t let them intimidate you. They may be younger, bouncier, and far more idealistic, but they’re just people trying to find their way in the world. If you enter college with the firm belief that you have just as much to learn from them as they do from you, there’s really nothing to be afraid of.
6. Start a business. Tired of working for the man? You must have learned something in your years of work experience, for example, what you enjoy doing. So why not do it? Go for a business degree and minor in your field of choice. If you can put together a solid business plan by the time you graduate, you are well on your way to becoming your own boss.
7. Meet new people and network. This is important whether your goal in returning to school is intellectual or financial. After all, meeting people, forming friendships and partnerships, and exploring new avenues are not only part of business, but part of life. Everyone we allow into our circle can offer us new ideas and insights that will help us to grow as individuals. However, networking becomes much more important if you’re starting a business. Who knows, you could meet the person who will someday invest in your company.
8. Improve your self-esteem. It’s easy to get beaten down by the cold, hard world. Attending college can help you to see yourself the way others do, as an intelligent and caring person that has something of value to offer.
9. Set a good example. If you’re insistent that your kids plan for college, you’d better be ready to put your money where your mouth is and do it yourself. The best way to get result as a role model is to lead by example.
10. Learning never ends. Our brains are hard-wired for learning. Every day brings new sensory input that must be filed away or discarded, and much of it is meaningless drivel fed to us by the media at large that simply goes in one ear and out the other. So take a targeted approach to information gathering. Go back to school to retrain yourself as a thinker that can chew over and digest information rather than just swallowing it whole.
This is a guest post by Ryan Patridge, a writer for Grants for College. Ryan also gives advice on the pursuit of higher education and career options for young adults.