Should I Go Back to School?

When I was two years old, I wanted to be a doctor. By ten years old, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist (yikes), and by the end of high school I was a volunteer EMT and wanted to be a trauma surgeon (again- yikes).

Needless to say, neither of those paths ended up working out, as I now work in admissions for a private high school- just a little different from the original plan.

So after making it through college and now through three years of bouncing around from job to office job in the working world, I’m wondering if I should go back to school. This time, rather than majoring in French and Political Science, I’d be studying Nursing. Back toward the original plan, decided by a two- year- old. But should I do it?

So here’s the question- does it make sense to go back to school and radically change careers in your twenties?

Simple answer- – – – – I have no simple answer.

I think it really depends on the situation. Does it make sense to hold a job, even if it’s not your dream job so that you can pay your rent and bills? Yes. Does it make sense to try to find the job of your dreams while you’re young so  you can have as much time as possible to enjoy that job before you’re at a stage in life where it’s time to retire? Also yes.

So how does this ultimately work out?

  • Figure out what degree you’d want to get. The time and money and stress levels can be different depending on whether you’re aiming for an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate.
  • Take stock of everything.
    • Take a look at what it costs to pay your bills and what it costs to enroll in classes (don’t forget the added costs of fees and textbooks).
    • Take a look at how many hours of work you have each week and realistically how much time you’ll have to study. Include in that how many hours you spend doing other things- going to the gym, walking the dog, second jobs, sleeping so you can function as a semi-conscious human, etc. Every hour matters.
    • Take a look at who’s closest to you. If you have a significant other or close family, figure out how you’ll see them. Really SEE them, not just have them in the room while you’re studying. Remember that they need your attention, too.
    • Take a look at the future. Do you see yourself finishing school and starting your career? Do you see yourself having children or other responsibilities that might make it more difficult to continue this career path, or does it still seem doable? Consider other factors that may interfere or help with this path.
  • Get set in what you want. This decision is a large one, so be prepared for things to change if you jump in.
  • DO IT.

These bullet points can seem intimidating- particularly the ones about taking stock, but ultimately the decision to go back to school is up to you. If you see your future lining up in a different way than the path you’re currently on and it makes sense, then jump in!

As for me, I completed my first semester of classes for nursing school and did okay! I am taking this semester off because I am currently planning my wedding, which would be the same week as final exams and I am prioritizing enjoying getting married over pulling my hair out trying to get everything done at the same time! Having a full-time job that I like well enough for now allows me the flexibility to take my time in going back to school and take it semester-by-semester, evaluating as I go if this is still the right path for me.

I’ll keep you updated on whether or not I finish it out, but in the mean- time, if you’re struggling with the decision to go back to school, take a look at the factors in your life and if it makes sense, jump right in and reach for your dream life!

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