Making the Transition from Workplace to School
Whether you’re working full-time, currently out of work or somewhere in between, you might be considering going back to school. This decision could be based on a number of factors that could have you feeling butterflies in your stomach. It may only have been a few years or it may have been a few decades since you were last going to class, studying for tests, and doing homework at night. This can leave you feeling somewhat out of place when it comes to getting back into the educational groove.
Here are a few thoughts to consider when heading back to school in order to better prepare you to make the transition a little easier.
A Shock to the System
Even if it’s only five or six years, you may find a surprising difference between yourself and the younger students in your class, especially if you’ve been out and working in the real world. Having a job, career, and the responsibilities that come along with such work can age you quickly when it comes to things like professionalism, attitude, expectations, and the knowledge of how things really work when you’re out creating a career and life for yourself. (An online degree might be right for you if you are more comfortable working on your own.)
To some extent, you might find that you must restrain yourself from laughing or commenting upon some of the things younger, more inexperienced classmates say or do. While you may have a superior knowledge of subjects you are studying or discussing, you don’t want to ostracize yourself from your classmates by putting them down or acting if you are better than them. Instead, you might consider relating experiences you’ve had or telling stories about how it was in your workplace. They might find it helpful and interesting to hear a perspective from someone who has actually ‘been there and done that’.
A New Schedule
The new schedule that arrives when making the transition from the workplace to school might also come as a bit of a shock. You probably won’t be able to just come home anymore and slouch down in front of the television. You’ll likely find that your spare time, which may largely have been your own when working, is now packed to the brim with things to do.
Whether studying for a test, catching up on homework, or reading ahead for next week, when you pair the needs of your studies with all those extra items that might clutter your to-do list, time can become even more valuable. This can leave you having to make more efficient use of your time, start looking for ways to multitask, and using calendars and lists to better organize your life.
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A Monetary Change
Whether you’re continuing to work or not, a monetary adjustment might be needed with your transition from the working world to that of education. With tuition, books, fees, and all the other little extras that might accompany a college education, it might put a little more stress on your finances.
If you are going back to school full-time, and aren’t planning to work, it might be advisable to have a few backup forms of income available to you should things get a little tight. Savings, student loans, and a possible job option — should it be needed — might be considerations. You may also have to consider tightening the belt and readjusting your financial priorities when it comes to expenses and entertainment items, which could be a bit difficult, especially if you are used to having a steady income that has allowed you to have some spending cash available to you previously.
A Lifestyle Change
It might take more than just a few monetary adjustments to get yourself back into the old school routine. By this time in your life, you may have a family to care for. The little ones might have a tough time understanding why mommy or daddy be locked away in the bedroom to study rather than reading them stories or playing ball outside. While it can take time for you to adjust to these new circumstances, it will likely take them time as well. This can make for a significant adjustment for a partner or spouse as well, as they find themselves having to pitch in more and possibly pick up some of the slack.
Even if you don’t have an immediate family, you might still have to adjust certain aspects of your lifestyle. Going out to the bars or clubs may have to be replaced by going to the library. Watching mindless television or playing video games might have to be replaced my studying, memorizing, and coming up with those pneumonic devices you thought you would never need again once you left school the first time.
These adjustments can take some time, and some of them might cause frustration for you and your loved ones, but with time and a little perseverance, you’ll hopefully find that it is well worth the effort to continue furthering your education.