After I got my college degree, I honestly never thought I’d entertain the idea of going back to school. It was “been there, done that” for me; that chapter of my life, though it was a pleasant one, was over, and it was time to start my career. Then my fearless mom went back to school, and it opened my eyes. I realized that it is possible to further your education at any age and stage of life. My mom’s experience showed me that pursuing higher education as an adult not only can broaden your horizons, but it can open doors you never knew existed.
My mother received the Fulbright Award to travel to Japan on an educational trip for teachers after going back to school and successfully completing her graduate studies.
I stopped thinking of my education as “over” and began to consider the possibility that I might one day enjoy taking some additional coursework to make my dreams a reality like my mom did. Now that I am pursuing my career in digital media, the idea of taking courses to enhance my skills seems more relevant than ever. In fact, with technology evolving so quickly, it’s almost a necessity. The courses I took in college were wonderful, but back then I was using floppy discs. That won’t cut it in today’s digital environment. I am beginning to take a serious look at courses in the field of Information Technology to equip me with the skills I need to excel as a digital media professional.
But hold the (rotary) phone.
Becoming a student isn’t as easy as it was for me well over a decade ago. I’m a mom now with professional and personal responsibilities. How will college courses fit in with that? Going back to school is a considerable investment of time, but let’s assume you’re ready to make the commitment. I did a little research and talked with family and friends, and I came up with these 5 tips for going back to school if you are a mom.
1. Consider your needs. Are you ready for a new challenge? Perhaps you are seeking enrichment? If you’re like me, you want to build your skill set in the face of rapidly evolving technology. You might need the courses or even a new degree to stay current within your field, or you might need the additional training to qualify for a raise. Examining your motivations will build your excitement for your new endeavor and focus your mind on achieving your personal best in your studies. Define your goals and write them down, and re-evaluate them periodically as you pursue your education.
2. Get the support of your family. It’s so important for everyone in your family to be on the same page, and communication is key. Share the goals you have written down. Explain that this is for your personal enrichment, and an added benefit can be the new opportunities that will present themselves after you complete your studies, and ultimately enable a better quality of life. Going back to school may require some sacrifices, but they will pay off in countless ways in the future. Yet it’s important to focus on the positive and get your family on board, so that they can help you out with things like chores, meals and shopping, giving you time to study and attend class.
3. Lose the guilt! You are mom, and that is one of the most important if not the most important role in your life. Yet you also deserve to lead a balanced life, exploring your own interests, trying new things, and striving to be the best you can be both personally and professionally. If you are pursuing your passions and developing yourself to your fullest potential, you are setting a great example for your kids. In going back to school, you are in the process of building a significant way to provide for your family. Support your kids in their own interests and explore ways you might help them cultivate those interests.
4. Don’t let being a non-traditional student hold you back; instead, use it to your advantage. So you’re not a recent high school grad–that’s a good thing! Use the skills you’ve gained as a parent and (if you’ve worked) as a professional: you can focus, prioritize, and organize. You’ll have an enthusiasm for the material that younger students can’t rival. Enjoy this exciting new chapter in your life!
5. Take care of yourself. As moms we take care of everyone else before we take care of ourselves. My own mom has a favorite saying that comes from air travel: put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. If you don’t get enough rest, eat a good diet, and take time out for yourself to exercise and relax, how can you be at your best to take care of your family and your coursework? Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way down the road to success. Best of luck with your studies!
Whether you’re seeking further success in your current role or a new opportunity, Kaplan University can help you prepare for the exciting possibilities ahead.*
As an accredited university built on more than 75 years of experience,† Kaplan University offers a wide range of career-focused programs designed to develop the skills and knowledge leading employers seek. Our focus: to offer you the most direct educational path to achieve your goals.
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