Returning To Study? Here Is What You Need To Think Of
If you are looking for a complete career change, or are after a shift in the gears within the sector you currently work in, you may have decided to go back to university to study full time. There could be any number of reasons that you may want to do this later on in life. Studying when you left school may not have been an option for you.
University study is known to be expensive, and as such can be very prohibiting for many people. It may be that you were unable to for personal reasons. You may have decided to concentrate on starting a family, or that you wanted to head straight out into the jobs market and build your career up through experience. There is also a chance that you were unsure of what area you would study as you did not have a thorough career plan. With the costs of university, certainty is essential and it is often quite prudent to put off going to university until you have that level of clarity.
You may have gone to university though, and have worked your way up in a career after finishing your course. Now, to move to a higher level you may need to undergo postgraduate study. Or, you may want to open yourself up to new career options by doing a completely different course of study.
We are all different, and our circumstances are our own. Whatever journey you are on, you make the choices.
Deciding On The Course Of Study
Once you have made the decision that you will return to studying, the next decision that you will need to make will be about what course you will take, where you will do this, and also what format it will take.
There have never been so many options for studying. The levels of flexibility offered by academic institutions are unbelievable. For example, you may want to study for an online political management degree at George Washington university which will fit around your current job. Or, you may want to fully immerse yourself in a full-time course of study within the actual institution itself.
The quality of the study that you will find online is very high. With many ways to share course materials and engage with your tutors and the other learners, the viable option of completing a degree or postgraduate study online is both attractive and practical. Nowadays, academic qualifications obtained in this way do not hold the historic stigma and are in no way less worthy than a full-time taught degree.
Getting Used To The Level Of Study
Getting used to university study is going to be a challenge. There are no two ways about it, the workload associated with degrees and postgraduate study is hard. While many people assume that students have it easy, this is simply not true, and if you want to leave with the knowledge, skills, and experience that you need to take your career to the next level, then you will need to knuckle down and work.
That will mean being pro-active and adapting quickly to self-directed study. Creating a strict schedule early on it your study will mean that as the pressure mounts up and the dates for papers, dissertations, and exams move ever closer, you will be ready.
Much of your workload will be research-based. Don’t make the mistake of seeing the essay or assignment word count and believing that all that the work involves is sitting and writing the work. For each essay or paper, you will have to put in a considerable amount of study.
Working With The Age Gap
You may have concerns about going back into the classroom and being around lots of younger students. Even if you are only a few years older than you, you may have concerns about the cultural difference. You will have been in the workplace earning money and developing a more serious approach to life, or you may have gained responsibility in raising your family. It is often regarded that younger students will be less likely to engage with the course and may just be there for the lifestyle associated with being a student.
Many of these myths are false. Younger students are often some of the most hardworking and driven people you will find. Many really take their personal development very seriously. With the cost of study being so high, students generally need to take out loans to pay their course fees and living costs. This will result in them being in debt for many years to come. For that reason, they will need to get great jobs to pay off these debts. Pushing themselves to succeed is therefore vital for them.
The other myth with age gaps is that universities are full of 18 to 21-year-olds. However, you will find that there are more and more mature students entering the education systems. Your course may have a mixture of age groups, and also a strong culturally diverse mix of people too. University is a great opportunity to work and make friends with people from all different age groups and backgrounds.
Balancing Your Life
Getting your work, studies, and home life in balance is crucial. You will be putting yourself under a lot of stress and this may have a serious impact on your physical and mental health as well as your relationships. By making sure that you allow time to spend with partners and children, you will ensure you do not let your relationships suffer as a result of your commitments.
Take the time to look after yourself too. Get plenty of exercise, fresh air, and eat and drink well. Try and get a full eight hours of sleep each night, and avoid working until late in the evening. All of these things are vital if you want to keep yourself mentally sharp with a high level of concentration, and also to prevent the effects of stress on your body.