Should you return to school?

Hello everyone:

Sometimes folks who are widowed, divorced, or otherwise suddenly single ask me if they should get some additional schooling. It depends on the field you are in or are considering going into. There are some issues to think about:

Will you ever make back the money you are investing into additional education? Be sure to check out the job market ahead of time. What are trends saying about the field you are thinking about? When I started my Ph.D. program, full time faculty positions were competitive but available. Five years later when I graduated, many schools were only hiring adjuncts, which meant low income and few benefits. Will I ever recoup my investment? Yes, but it is taking longer than I thought.

What is your reason for returning to school? For me, it had been my lifelong dream to complete my college education, so it was definitely worth it for the self-esteem boost it provided. If you dread the thought of doing homework, don’t want to invest the money and time, or have some other ¬†negative reason for not doing it, then don’t. One lady who was in a Saturday morning class I taught told me that she thought that, by taking a Saturday three-hour class, there wouldn’t be any homework. I told her “Welcome to college. We have homework.” ¬†Are you willing to commit to studying two hours for every one hour of class? That is pretty much what it will take to be successful.

What will you do if you don’t return to school? Will you be forced to take a minimum wage job (or two or three) just to support yourself and your family? Then the investment would be worthwhile. After all, you may be old now but four or five years from now you will be four or five years older and you will either have that degree or you won’t. It’s your call.

I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address, just ask. When making a comment, please use my name so that I will know you are not a robot. I get a lot of spam and delete it. I don’t want to delete you!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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