Aug 232017
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Continuing education is a tough decision! There is so much to consider.

I recently made a big decision for my career; I decided to go back to school for my Master’s degree. A little background: I graduated from nursing school 21 years ago with my Associates degree. I had always maintained that I never had any intention of going back, and for years I didn’t. Then I interviewed for a job I REALLY wanted and I didn’t get it. I realized then that having my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) would make me much more marketable and increase my chances of eventually getting the job I wanted. Within 3 months I was enrolled and I finished my BSN in June of 2016. On the last day of classes for me, I got offered the job I wanted (2 years after I applied the first time). Coincidence? Maybe, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. And now that the learning bug has bitten me, I can’t get enough.

Maybe you’ve thought about going back to school and are unsure. I’ve talked to many people about this over the last several years. Some tell me they are too old, others tell me they don’t have the time, and some tell me that just the thought itself overwhelms them. It IS a huge decision.

I know many people who have degrees and want to make a career change; others never went to school and want to start careers now. Whatever the reason, there is a lot of work to be done before even applying to schools. Where do you start? What things need to be considered? How will you pay for it? Will you have time?

Continuing your education can be a tough decision

I worked a full-time job (and picked up overtime on the weekends) and I am a single mom, so going to school full-time wasn’t an option. I considered traditional colleges, but going to class 1-2 nights a week was going to take too much time away from my son. After considering online programs, I determined this was the best option for me. I thought that online classes might be a bit easier, but I was very wrong. I literally did schoolwork every night of the week for 5-6 hours a night. I was lucky in that my son was 12 at the time and didn’t need my constant attention. The program I was in had 5-week sessions, so there was a lot of material to cram into those 5 weeks. My Master’s program has 10-week sessions. Each school is different so it’s worth doing research on several schools and figuring out what is best for you. Online schooling also requires a lot of discipline; some people need the structure of traditional classes.

How will you afford it? Some companies offer some form of tuition reimbursement. I was lucky that the company that I worked for reimbursed up to $2500/year. It’s not a huge amount, but every little bit helps. I was also awarded a company scholarship and that helped a bit as well. There are many scholarships out there but you really must do your homework to find them and put a lot of work into getting them.

Of course there are also student loans; you can get federal loans or private. There are pros and cons to both, but most students inevitably end up with some student loans. At the undergraduate level, there are also grants are available to qualified applicants. This will be determined when your financial aid application is processed.

What will it do for your career? Will it help you earn more money? Sadly, money makes the world go ‘round. College, or any schooling, isn’t cheap. Will the cost benefit your career? If not now, will it in the future? The sense of accomplishment you will feel is amazing but it won’t pay those student loan payments, so hopefully graduation means more money for you.

Obviously, there are a lot of things to consider when making such big decision; these were just the main things I was concerned with. Have you thought about going to school? What are your concerns?

About Rachel

My name is Rachel and I'm the single mom of a 14 year old boy. I am a Registered Nurse nurse caring for our nation's veterans. I'm a amateur photographer and a self-proclaimed "adventurer"; I am always looking for for free and inexpensive ways to enjoy life.

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  72 Responses to “Thinking About Going Back to School?”

  1. Wow that’s so great! I also do believe that everything happens for a reason. But going back to school wouldn’t´t be an option for me personally. I love my free time too much 😉

  2. I’ve had some friends go back to school after their kids graduated college. Some of them even made a complete career change! I have to admit, I’ve considered it myself !

  3. Good for you, Rachel! Advanced degrees help with, well, everything. It takes your career to the next level. Difficult? Yes. But you list tons of options.

  4. I have considered in the past because I’m so close to graduating but at this point I really don’t think I will. My husband on the other hand is seriously considering it I will have him read this post really might help lead him in the direction he needs to go.

  5. I’ve often thought about going back to school. I still haven’t pulled the trigger yet, because I’m so darn busy.

  6. I went back to school when I was 36 and I too studied nursing. Best decision I ever made and I have not once regretted that decision.
    Congratulations on both your new job and your new degree!

  7. Great post! I finished my BA when I was pregnant with my 2nd baby and I’m so glad I did. I often think about going back, but have held off because all the kids were at home and I just couldn’t find the time… With everyone going to school this year, it is definitely an option now…

  8. Good for you for continuing to pursue your dreams, as it is never too late! I have considered going back to school for my Master’s in the past, but have since become a self employed small business owner, which is my true passion.

  9. My daughter is trying to go back to school. I will show her this

  10. I don’t think I ever want to. I went to college with a few older people and I think it’s great if you need to get a certain degree.

  11. I thought about it a lot in the past few years. I feel like it would be so fun and intesting! BUUUUT I did that once!

  12. i always believe in continuous learning ! i myself is back to school however, im enrolled in an online campus which allows me to have flexibility and and accessibility anytime anywhere! there are so many ways to learn this days so school is always a good option!

  13. I went back to school for a Business Management degree after having 3 kids, well I went back when both sons were in diapers. I say think about if you have kids, what stage they ear in because that can help you actually finish or not 😉

  14. I went back to school for a Business Management degree after having 3 kids, well I went back when both sons were in diapers. That wasn’t really a great idea, I hope to go back and finish some day! Great tips to share!

  15. I have considered going back to school. I go back and forth–do I really have the time? Is my brain capable of it? I might though! We shall see.

  16. Congrats! I wish you well on your future endeavors. Going back to school was a major decision.

  17. I think it’s amazing that you were able to go back to school and get the job that you wanted! That’s pretty fantastic, and impressive. I’m always impressed with woman who can do it all!

  18. Online college is so crucial for so many people! Traditional college doesn’t fit into everyone’s lifestyle. Congrats on getting your dream job!

  19. Sounds like a great option. Never to late to go back to school to better one self.

  20. Awesome! Good for you! That must have been really challenging, but worth it in the end.

  21. What a wonderful decision to make for yourself and your career! It’s a little scary at first but you got this!

  22. Such a great post, I always think what it would be like if I went back to school. I wouldn’t even know what I would study.

  23. This is such a great post, especially for those wanting to go back to school. I personally love what I do, but wouldn’t mind going back to school for a few classes.

  24. Congratulations on your decision to go back! There are a lot of scholarships offered through an organization called P.E.O. Check them out! I got my PhD at 55 so one is never too old to do it!

  25. I’ve certainly thought about it, but not for my career. I would love to learn a craft!

  26. Congrats to you for making the decision to go back and get your Master’s! And for being focused enough to continue your education for a second bite at the job apple. It’s hard to make the time, but I think it would definitely be worth it.

  27. I’ve often thought about going back to school but I don’t know if I could deal with the classroom, homework or tests. I think I would be more motivated if I knew it would help my career.

  28. Congrats on the decision! I currently have two master’s degrees, but I finished my second one right before my first was born.

  29. My daughter Ashley is 25 and graduated from her university as an engineer. She decided to go back to school while working full time. She just began her second year of law school. It’s always fabulous to keep plugging ahead and attaining new goals. Congratulations on earning your masters in nursing. So darn awesome!

  30. You’re never too old to go to school. I take university classes from time to time to keep my brain fresh…it’s also nice to see how young kids think these days, it keeps me young 🙂

  31. I went back to school when my kids were little. It was tough but well worth the extra effort and work to pull it off.

  32. A while back I did attempt to go back to school one university course at a time. I find I don’t have to discipline to stay focused doing it at home. I would need to actually attend classes.

  33. I am planning to go back to school maybe next year. And I appreciate a post like this because at least I know how it’s done. It’s definitely not going to be easy, I have four kids to look after while studying too.

  34. Very encouraging to hear how you went back to school and afterward received the job offer you had always wanted. We are never to old to continue learning.

  35. Wow well done you for never giving up Rachel I too believe that with hard work and perseverance your dreams can come true. I might do a masters in the future too as its never too late to go back to school!

  36. Oh wow how exciting for you – I hope it all goes well if you do go back to school. My Dad has just decided to do something similar now he has retired.

  37. I’ve thought about going back SO MANY times, it’s a thing for me. Well done, you.

  38. I absolutely love going to school. First I work in education – that is an added bonus for sure. But going to school and taking classes allows me to do something to improve me and sets a good example for my children.

  39. Congrats on going back to school. I have thought about it myself. It’s an investment and it’s a matter of doing something for me.

  40. Hi Rachel. Congratulations! Definitely a great news. Nursing has a lot of career opportunities. I am glad your taking the big move. I remember few years ago, if I should do it or not. But definitely worth it. My (CRNA) anesthesia school decision is so far the best decision I ever made.

  41. Well I might have thought of going back to school if I am not married yet or not pregnant… But now I have loads of stuff to take care of, so no plans for back to school 🙂

  42. I went back to school two years ago to get my degree and I don’t regret a thing! Of course it can feel overwhelming at first to get back into that environment but it’s so worth it

  43. Congrats on your decision of going back to school. I haven’t given it much thought but I’ll be interested to take up art courses. Not for career wise but more as a hobby.

  44. I thought about going back to school to get my PHD and the more I thought, I just couldn’t do it!

  45. Going back to school is a huge decision, I decided a year ago to go back and do my masters which I am hoping to complete next year.

  46. Yay good on you! That’s a big decision. I’m big on school and continuous learning. Hope you enjoy it!

  47. Great going for you!!! So proud! I am probably forever in school as I always find short courses each year. Last year I got my PMP credential and passed the PMP exam. Nowadays I am contemplating on getting my MBA. Haha!

  48. If I could afford it I would also go back to school! Tuition is SO pricy though – I wish I was rich, and if I was, I would probably stay in school for my entire life because I love learning.

  49. Going back for my masters is something I only ever slightly consider. I live in Spain now and university is very cheap. So likely I would consider going to school over in Europe over the US.

  50. I have a friend who recently decided he wanted to go back to school. He doesn’t regret it one bit. Being older and knowing what you want to do in life makes schooling so much easier.

  51. Pursue and achieve your dreams no matter how long it takes. There is nothing wrong with going back to school as age shouldn’t be a restriction for your education.

  52. First I have to say the name of you blog always gets me to giggle. I love it. My husband is currently going back to school and when he is done I will be.

  53. Both of my kids will be in school fulltime this year and I have thought about what I will do with myself! Perhaps, I should look at school.

  54. I know a woman who went back to study when she was in her 50’s and loved it! In fact, she hasn’t stopped!! My sister also recently went back to study after having her two children.

  55. I sometimes wonder if I should go back to school but worry about not finding the time. I think online classes are a great option.

  56. I almost went back to school at one point, but a family member passed away and I had so much on my plate. Then by the time we had kids, I was overwhelmed with parenthood. Things are still crazy hectic and I can’t imagine going back to school on top of all that. What a great opportunity to be able to go back!

  57. I have one year left in my Masters program and I always thought I would go back in the beginning years.. but then I kind of left it there and never got down to it. Maybe one day, maybe never. It’s not really bothering me at the moment as I’ve so much more to live for now, but I really hope I won’t look back at it one day and regret not finishing it.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  58. Going back to school would be amazing! It would be hard….but this season of life is only going to last for a minute……might as well put in the work now so the next season is awesome.

  59. I went back to school for my Masters Degree in Management, but I had to quit because it was difficult to raise kids, run a household, and attend to a full time 8 hour job. I did complete my masters’ degree through an online university. That worked well for me.

  60. Am thingking of going back to school to earn my Master’s degree. However my time now doesn’t permit. Anyway I can still earn it as along as I am able 🙂

  61. I’m less than a semester from finishing my degree. I left school early to take a job (and had failed a couple of courses!) I’d love to go back … but I have visions of Rodney Dangerfield running through my mind!

    You’re giving your son a helluva example by doing this!

  62. Some people aren’t lucky enough even if they wanted to go back to school because they don’t have time. If I’m given a chance, I will definitely grab the opportunity as well!

  63. I have considered going back several times. Honestly, I have wanted to check out quite a few different programs but I have never had the guts! Perhaps it’s time to set a great example for my kids like you are.

  64. I have thought that going back to school to get a more advanced education would be a positive thing, but it would definitely be an adjustment! I don’t think I would have the guts to join a classroom with 20-somethings.

  65. This is good information. Funny I read it now..I was just telling my husband the other day that I was thinking about going back to school. I have an associates but I will like to get a bachelors.

  66. Congrats on all your accomplishments! I know how hard it is to be a single mom in school. I have two bachelors, a masters degree and a law degree so I’m all done lol.

  67. I have justice and psychology degrees from ASU and really thought I would be working in a field utilizing that educational background. Clearly not, I’m a social influencer. My daughter is the SeaWorld kid blogger and because of that we get to experience amazing opportunities learning about ocean conservation and many different projects to protect animals. We have worked alongside incredible scientists and people committing their entire life to science. That has me seriously reconsidering what I did in school. I’d love to go back for a marine biology degree!

  68. With time and requirement, one has to work on new skills. It is good thing that you are thinking of it. Education always pay.

  69. We must always work at improving ourselves and if going back to school would help us acquire a better job, then go ahead! I decided that distance learning/online classes from reputable universities would work better for me, because I could complete my tasks at my own pace. Thankfully, I earned my master’s degree this way while I was taking care of the needs of my family too.

  70. I have been thinking about going back to school. It is so hard to take the plunge, I always seem to find a reason not to.

  71. It’s great that you were able to go back to school and got the job that you wanted after graduation. It’s not easy juggling a family school and bills all at the same time. Never stop learning!