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When people think of the career they’re going to do for the rest of their lives, they immediately think of the metaphorical ‘missed boat’ at the age of 18, right out of high school. We are conditioned to believe that our one shot at a life with a higher education is when we are fresh and young. It’s a common misconception that if you miss applying for colleges when you are in high school, you are going to miss a life-changing experience full of parties and friendships fused in the dead of night. This misconception can make those who have bypassed that age feel wistful and sad that they missed out on a coming-of-age experience. This feeling can leave people feeling that not only is it too late to apply to study something new but that they cannot study anything new ever again. It’s good to know now, that that is a misconception that you do not have to live up to.
If you look at the career and the life you have now, you have to ask yourself whether this is the one you wanted, or if you are just settling. If you are secure in your job and your role, then you don’t have any need to go back and try again when it comes to studying.Tweet This
If you didn’t go down any of these higher education routes when you were out of high school, it doesn’t mean you cannot choose to go down it now. It’s far more common now for younger people to head straight to college when they’ve graduated high school, continuing the thread of education while they still have the head for academic study. This wasn’t always the case. It used to be common that once those grad boards were walked for a high school diploma, people would head straight into the workforce, or even marriage. People have previously taken the option to sacrifice studying in the pursuit of a different dream, and this then leaves that nostalgic feeling that a chance has been missed. Looking back after a few years and being a position of wishing you had headed off to college and studied when you had the chance can feel like something is missing. The thing is, what if it’s time to stop wondering about what you missed and start doing something about it?
If you look at the career and the life you have now, you have to ask yourself whether this is the one you wanted, or if you are just settling. If you are secure in your job and your role, then you don’t have any need to go back and try again when it comes to studying. Then again, if you weren’t searching for what to do, you wouldn’t be reading this article. There are plenty of people who feel perfectly fine about the decisions you have made post-high school. But if you are not one of those people and you wish you had done more and given yourself the chance to have a higher education, then you need to read on. We’ve put together five reasons you have not left it too late to get back to school and study further:
1. Life experience changes the student experience
As a mature student, you have had time to live life and be in the real world. The time you spend in the working world can change everything, as it can help you realize a dream you didn’t know you had. Being a mature student means that you are choosing to study to actually learn something, rather than attend drinks parties and festivals that surround spending more time with a sore head than attending classes. That’s not to say that younger students take advantage of the party culture of college, but it does mean that a mature student is rather more dedicated to the studying they are a part of. The life experience that you have had – whether that’s in the working world or raising children – is often smiled upon by colleges as there is something new that you bring to the task. You can act as a mentor for the younger students and feel like you’ve found your purpose all at the same time.
2. Financial stability is ahead
Those who decide to embark on studying in later life are far more likely to be financially stable when they start out. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to start college completely flushed or anything, but it does mean you’ll have a better understanding of how far your money can get you in the real world. You will already know that you can hit a ceiling in the job you are in and what a degree could mean for your finances. Ideally, you would be able to pay for some of your degree up front because of the job you’ve had since high school, and you would be able to alleviate some of the financial pressure of studying.
3. Studying is flexible
When you apply for college while in high school, you have a straightforward option of going away with your friends and starting a new adventure. Most students don’t actually know that there are flexible study options. Education has adapted to the rise in the digital world, meaning distance learning is now something that is available to all without having to attend a physical class. Perhaps you went into the workforce in a caring capacity and it’s this that helped you realize that if you did a degree in nursing, followed by an online MSN, you could make a difference even more than you already do without leaving your job. This keeps your income current and means you are getting the education you have always dreamed of getting. It’s not easy to balance working and studying alongside a home life, but you do have to have an ambition to do it and better your life, and most mature students have that drive.
4. Studying makes you a role model
If you took the route out of high school to have a family while you were young, you may have decided that you want more from life than being a homemaker. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to raise and be there for your children, but children learn from their parents and there’s something amazing about knowing they are watching you achieve. If your children see you learning and pushing yourself to be better and do better in your life, they’ll aspire to do well in theirs. Returning to the world of education can make you feel like you’re going to neglect the children in pursuit of your own goals. With the fact that we mentioned earlier that online study is now a possibility, you can choose to study around the needs of the kids, freeing your time with them. Understanding that taking time to do something other than being a parent can change the lives of your children should be what drives you on.
5. Something for you to make you happy
Realizing a dream of an education is something that no one can take away from you. Your entire life, you could have spent too much time wishing that you had studied and got the degree you’ve always wanted. The sense of achievement that comes with it is something that cannot be replaced. People who go into work or a family after high school can often feel left behind if their group of friends has gone on to study. Having something that’s just yours that makes you happy is something to be cherished and if that thing is education then you should grab it with both hands. Graduating takes a lot of effort and is a long and difficult road for some, and embarking on that path means that you have the ambition to steer your life in that direction.
“When you first start out in the working world, it can seem like you want to go in a certain direction with your life and career. For many people, after working in a certain field for a period of time, it becomes apparent that this is not the career for them. There is no reason to be scared about switching your career path. As long as you are certain that this is the right decision for you, it’s something which you should go ahead with.” – How To Successfully Switch Your Career
You may have a career that you have settled into and you may be enjoying that, but you have to ask yourself if you feel like a piece of your life has been unfulfilled. We only get one chance to live life and you can’t live one of regrets. You may not know if you are going to enjoy studying again, you may not even know if the course you choose is the right one for you. But how will you know if you don’t try? Being the oldest person studying in the room also shouldn’t be a factor that puts you off. So what if you are among people ten or even twenty years younger than you? You all are there with the same goal of achieving an education that no one else can take off your hands. Sure, you may miss out on the social side of going to college, but usually, that’s not the reason that people are studying in later life. Anyway, you likely already have a solid social life that you can embark on outside of college!
Your education is going to shape your life, whether you have started early or embarking on it late and whether you attend classes or do it online. There will be challenges ahead, but ones that will help you to reap new rewards, so why not go for it now?