Adult education is a wonderful thing, but for many people, there is the fear or feeling that it’s not for them. This is a shame, as going back to school can help those angling for a career change, enhance the possibility of climbing the career ladder, and improve knowledge that will benefit working practices. So what are the reasons people make for not returning to education? We will look at some of them here, and if you relate to any of the following reasons/excuses, we also have some handy tips to help you think differently.
Reason #1: I’m too busy
A valid reason, considering many of us live busy lifestyles. Not only are many of us holding down a part/full-time job, but there may be other commitments on our time, including family responsibilities and other life pressures. However, this reason can also be invalidated. Sometimes we have to make the time, and there may be areas in our lives that take up too much of our time, unnecessarily. If we want to better ourselves or go for that career change, we need to prioritise the time we have and move things around. And besides, going back to school doesn’t have to be so time-intensive anyway. Local colleges hold evening classes, and certain qualifications, such as this online rn bsn can be taken flexibly online, negating the need to worry about not having enough time to complete the course requirements.
Reason #2: I can’t afford the expense
When you have bills to pay and a family to feed, it’s understandable that the expense of going back to school can be an issue. However, there are ways to work around this. For starters, not every course costs the earth, so consider what you would like to do and shop around. You may find workshops and tutorials that are free, whether online or in your local community centre. Certain courses allow for a flexible payment plan, so you can spread out the expense over a number of months. Adults are also entitled to some of the same grants and scholarships that are available to younger people, so check with your local college and government office as to what you may be entitled to. And as we mentioned in our point around ‘time.’ Sometimes we need to prioritise our lives to get what we want, and in this case it means setting a budget. Sacrifices need to be made, so cut back on those non-essential items while paying for your course of study.
Reason #3: I feel terrified
Going back to school can be an intimidating experience, especially if you had a bad experience of education in your younger days, or you haven’t set foot in an educational establishment for years. Then there is the thought of dealing with homework again, working under authority, and having deadlines to complete. All common fears, and all very natural. Still, sometimes we need to conquer our fears to get what we want or look for workarounds. If you really don’t want to set foot in a college environment, take a course online. If you are worried about the workload, speak to your tutor and get yourself involved with a study group. If you are concerned about interacting with other students, remember they are in the same boat as you and probably have similar fears. Help is available. Then remember why you want to go back into education in the first place – keep that career change, promotion, pay rise, etc. in mind to help you stem your nervous fears. And besides, quite often, our fears are unrealistic. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you may discover that things aren’t as bad as you thought they would be.
Reason #4: I don’t know what class to take
We don’t always know what we want in life. Rather than dive headfirst into something we aren’t sure about, we procrastinate and err on the side of caution. Instead of doing something, we do nothing! Sound familiar? It’s in these moments that we need to step back into self-reflection and to ask ourselves those important questions. What do I want out of life? Where do I want to be in five years? Then we need to consider our skills, or rather, lack of, and work out what areas in our knowledge need to be improved. By reflecting, we may come to a natural answer. We should also speak to those around us; the people who can point us in the right direction. Your employer may be able to direct you into the relevant courses for your chosen profession, or a careers guidance counsellor may be useful, helping you work out what path to take in your life, and how to achieve your goals of a dream job. Alternatively, take a risk. If there are multiple options ahead of you, at least try something rather than missing out on any available possibility. You may take the ‘wrong’ course but end up in a new direction that you rather enjoy. So, assess your needs, seek help, and try something, anything, to enhance your life and career prospects.
Reason #5: I’m too old
You are never too old to learn. Even if you have passed retirement age and no longer in need of a job, you can still take courses for ‘fun’ or to increase your knowledge and wisdom. Don’t assume education is a young person’s thing, either. There are more people than ever before returning to education as an adult, whether that’s to enhance their careers, start off on a new career path, or simply for the social aspect in being with other people. Education is for everybody, and as Henry Ford put so eloquently, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty,” so remember that the next time you try and use your age as a barrier for your learning.
If going back to school will help your life, in any capacity, don’t let any of the reasons above put you off. There is an old Chinese proverb, ‘learning is a treasure that will follow it’s owner everywhere.’ Education can enrich your life, so don’t delay going back to school if it something that will add value to your present and future.