Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ask yourself - Should I go back to School?

7 Questions New Moms Should Ask Themselves Before Returning to School

This guest post was written by Kellen Thompson who has also written at length about receiving accounting degrees online as well as enrolling in online classes.
When I was seven months pregnant, I graduated with my Master’s degree. At the time, I thought that if I was blessed to stay home with my baby even for a short time while my husband worked, a Master’s degree would benefit me when I re-entered the workforce. My employer was also willing to pay a portion of my tuition. What I didn’t know at the time was that I would have two more children and ultimately be out of the full-time workforce for almost 15 years. I also didn’t realize back then that when I was ultimately ready to go back to work, I would not want to go back to the same career.
Now I am looking to go back to school to find out what I want to be when I grow up. My children are at the ages that they are more self-sufficient so I could devote more time to my studies. However, the baby that I carried the last time I was in school is now getting ready to go to college and pursue his own dreams. Will we really be able to afford for both of us to be in school at the same time?
There are several questions that moms, in particular, need to ask themselves before returning to school. The first question is how will my decision affect my family? Because, as a mom, our family is our first priority so we have to really assess how our decision to go back to school will affect our loved ones. Another question that we need to ask is will childcare be an issue? When you factor the cost of your education, you need to factor in all of the costs associated with your education, including childcare. The benefit in today’s educational sphere is that now we have the option of pursing an on-line degree and we never have to leave home. The world literally is our classroom and on-line degree programs are available in every possible field. Check out this link to find out more about these programs:
Another question that you need to ask yourself before enrolling in any program is why are you returning to school? You need to check your motive to make sure that it is the right motive, one that will sustain you in those times it may get difficult balancing school and family. And then you need to ask yourself who are you doing this for? Again, make sure that your motive is correct so that you won’t burn out halfway through the program. The right motive can provide the drive needed to keep going when you may feel like giving up.
Another question that I wish I had asked myself 16 years ago is will this degree give me some options. Everyone makes several lateral career moves throughout their lifetime and many of change careers completely at least once. I wish I had thought through my degree and asked myself what else I could do with the Masters I had chosen. For example, a Master’s in some disciplines will give you the opportunity to teach on a university level as an adjunct at some schools. This is an excellent option for moms who want to teach but cannot commit to a full-time position.
The next question you should ask yourself is how long do you want your schooling to take? Again, considering your family commitments, factor in all of your present commitments and set a realistic goal for yourself. And the final questions you need to address deal with finances. How much do you want to spend on your degree and how do plan to pay for your schooling? If you research different options, particularly distance learning versus traditional college, you will find that many institutions and degree programs vary in cost. An assessment of your personal financial situation can help you determine which program is right for you.
Going back to school at any age, at any time in your life is a big decision. But it is also, in my opinion, one of the best decisions that you will ever make. My kids tease me that I have a Master’s degree so that I could change diapers. But in reality, my degree has opened many doors for me that have allowed me to pursue other dreams that I didn’t even know I had 16 years ago!
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1 comment:

  1. Another thing you need to consider if you get an online degree is whether or not the college is recognized by the State Government or the United States as an acceptable school if applying for government jobs with the degree you got from them. Not all are.
    Even on some local government levels like a small developing town they may not be. I know of such an instance that happened locally. So ask those questions and get them in writing from the on-line colleges you may want to pursue a degree from. If not it might hurt your chances in the future or even cause you to lose a job in the governmental sphere, as did happen to someone in the community in which I live.