Have you thought about wanting to go back to school but were not sure if it was the right decision for you? In this two part blog post, I am going to look at first, the seven reasons why someone may put off going to school to prepare for a new career. In the second post, look at the steps needed to prepare to go back to school and start a new career.
Going back to school can be a major interruption to your life. Let’s face it, there are many things that need to change in order for someone to attend college. For example, a child may have to go into childcare, employment at a job somewhere may have to become part-time employment or even be ended. And, additional hours are spent away from family and friends which can add to the challenges of going back to school. These are all legitimate reasons to not go back to school. Fortunately, there are solutions to these common challenges someone might face.
One of the most common reasons people choose to not go back to school is the cost associated it. There are tuition costs, book costs, potential childcare costs and so on. As well, the notion may be that the program needs to be paid for up front. The good news is there are several options available like Canada Student Loans, lines of credit and other financial resources.
One common thing that gets overlooked is the opportunity cost of not going back to school. For example, let’s say someone makes $30,000 per year right now in their current job and the job covers most, if not all of their living expenses. Things are tight but manageable. Now, let’s say going back to school and choosing to become an Accounting Administrator will take 8 months to complete the program. The program costs about $11,000. Initially, it seems like the investment of time, money and lost wages seems bigger than what is gained from completing the program. Going back to school may not seem like a good idea.
Accounting Administrators make between $15 – $25 per hour. So this means the average salary of an Accounting Administrator is $20 per hour or $40,000 per year. In our example above, when a graduate starts their new career they have paid off their program costs and are starting to get a head financially after 1.5 years. Comparatively, the person who stayed in a $30,000 per year job is still in the same place financially and in their career.
It can be challenging not knowing what you want to do for a career. There are so many options available in the career world. Fortunately there are solutions to answering the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Some of the best ways to answer this question is to start talking to people. Asking them to help you identify your strengths and interests can be a big help. Doing research on the internet, visiting different colleges and employers all helps too. Information is power and it will help in making an informed decision about what to do for your career.
Trying to balance kids and school can be very hard. This challenge can make going back to school a real challenge. There are challenges of trying to find childcare, coordinating drop off and pickup’s from school, getting to kids activities and the list goes on. These are real challenges and hard to overcome sometimes.
Fortunately, there are some ways to make the family situation better. One idea is to look for childcare subsidies for people who meet certain income requirements. The Ontario government has a whole page dedicated to helping people out. More information can be found here. Other ideas to help with children are to ask friends or family to assist with watching the kids and helping with transportation.
I’m not going to delve too much into this point but it can be hard to leave a good job and I suggest weighing the pro’s and con’s. However, if the job is providing too much stress, not enjoyable or something that is a passion or interest, a career change may be a good option.
Making a change into a new field can be overwhelming, even scary if there was a setback in loosing employment. For example, in 2008 to 2010 when the recession hit and the automotive industry fell apart in Ontario. Many people were affected by the layoffs. Even though jobs were not available in the auto industry, people were reluctant to train for a new career and go back to school.
However, what people sometimes forget is a lot of skills, especially soft skills like empathy are transferable into new careers.
There is a quote that says “your past does not dictate your future.” However, we don’t always remember this and think that it does. Because of this fear that our future will be like our past, it holds us back from pursuing new things.
Sometimes, people thinking about going back to school get scared about how they will perform based on their past. The good news is there usually is some distance in years between when someone has graduated and when they choose to go back to school. The time away from school usually allows for people to mature a little bit, gain some new skills around prioritization of time, getting over the fear (or embarrassment of asking for help) and with this new found maturity, academic performance is not like the past.
Lastly, the fear of not fitting in with peers can be a real challenge. Because of this fear, it keeps them from pursuing their career goals. In some educational institutions, they are definitely some age gaps which can make things hard for someone to fit in. Some of the best ways to get over this fear is to visit the school being considered and ask for a college tour. This will provide an opportunity to see first hand to see what the school looks like and who attends. This may be harder to do at some places but at Canadian College it’s very easy to ask for a college tour.
There are seven reasons people choose to not to go back to school. Each one is unique. Some are affected by all of these reasons, while others may be only by some or one. The good news is there are ways to solve each of these challenges and pursue a new career.