Are you thinking about furthering your education, or career, but not sure how to go about it? Or perhaps you feel you’re too old to go back to school. You’d have to attend lectures, study, and do all those things you thought you’d never have to do again! If those thoughts are keeping you from advancing further up the ladder, you should rethink things. Today many educational opportunities are available that were unheard of even a decade or so ago. They’re only going to get better, and more plentiful, as time goes by too! If you are considering returning to school as a mature age student, here are a few things you should consider.
There’s the ‘all or nothing’ option. If you want a complete sea change in careers, and are considering quitting your current job and heading back to school full time, it could be risky. Perhaps you’re a volunteer fire fighter for example and you’ve decided to quit your regular day job and take up fire fighting professionally. Good on you but if you have a family and other financial commitments you’ll certainly have to factor those into your decision. However, full time study is certainly the quickest way to get where you want to go.
You can also look at attending night school. Most universities and community colleges provide night classes for all sorts of topics. These are ideal for people who want to, or have to, continue their day job whilst studying. Your fellow students will come from all walks of life. There will be other professionals like you, studying in order to further their career, or to qualify to move into a different one. There will be retirees just enjoying the opportunity to learn new things and keep their brains active. You’ll also find first time college students who simply prefer to study at night. Taking night classes can also build up a sense of community amongst students that you may not find in day classes.
Then there are online or e-learning classes. If this sounds overwhelming, it isn’t. You don’t need to be a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates to enroll in online courses. In most cases, all it requires is the ability to access websites, download information and course materials as required, and open emails. Plus a computer or tablet and Internet access of course. E-learning is extremely flexible and offers a lot of advantages over physically attending college or university. For a start, you can usually do your studying when and where it’s convenient for you. That may mean after the kids are in bed at night, or during your lunch break. You don’t have the hassle or expense of travel either.
The downside to e-learning is that not everyone has the self-discipline to take total responsibility for their studying. If you have difficulty finding the motivation to study, or you’re the type of person who learns better in a group environment with a teacher present, then online study may not be for you. If you want to pursue a fire-fighting career for instance, and you enroll in online Fire Officer 1 courses, you will require self-discipline. The courses are very much self-paced so the onus is completely on you to complete the course work. However, if you are up to the challenge then a very rewarding future is waiting for you!