Back To School And Adult Learning

A Perspective On Returning To Education

A number of years ago I took the plunge and went back to college to complete a night-time degree. While it is good to have the qualification and it was certainly beneficial to me in my career, that road is fraught with difficulties and it is not one that any potential student should take lightly.

Study of any kind, done properly, is time-consuming. Much of the first and second years of my own course involved organising my life around my studies. With many lives taken up with families and careers, managing the study becomes yet another task in your life.

Before signing up for a course there are some important issues to consider:

  • Take your time deciding what you want or need to do –

We are quite happy doing a flower-arranging or woodworking class for 10 weeks but a 3 or 4 year course needs careful thought. Make sure it’s something you are really interested in. Why do you want to do it? Is it for work, pleasure or some other reason?

  • Be Realistic –

Look closely at the course you want to do. There is really no point in taking on an engineering degree if you have always hated maths.
Do you think you will be up to the challenge?
Do you have the basic abilities to do this course?
What other course might better match your abilities and interests?

  • Look at the limitations of your time –

For those with families and other outside commitments this is essential. Consider how often you need to go, the outside work – the homework and any other projects. How much time will they take up? Will you actually have the time to do it?

  • Think of the possible effect on family and those closest to you –

The family and those we spend our lives with, need reminders that we haven’t forgotten them. The study is about them as well, as they are affected. They will need attention, maybe a bit more than usual as you focus on your studies.

  • Look after your health –

For many people stress can be a big problem particularly as they have probably been out of education for a very long time. They worry about assignments and other projects. They fret about their ability. They also have much longer days due to the classes. Consequently there is a need to look after your health a little more, with exercise, good food and enough sleep and all those other recommendations health professionals give us.

Is it worth it? Yes I think so. There is a great sense of achievement and it clearly shows that we can take on study at any time of our lives, once we have the will and the time.

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