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Why do people go back to school, sometimes years after they have completed their formal education and have worked for some time in the job market as a professional, blue collar worker or common laborer?  The reasons are numerous and varied.

I’m what you might call a perpetual student.  I love learning but I need to be interested in the subject.  I am consistently going back to school, not necessarily in an actual campus, classroom setting but frequently have some new study before me.

It quite often begins when something I’m involved with, a job, a volunteer position, my hobbies, something I see in the news catches my attention and is presented with a new twist.  Now I’ve got to know, learn about it and sort out the truth from the fiction for myself.  A lot of the studies I do now are not in an actual classroom and most are certificate courses not particularly geared toward a degree in any particular field.  I take “on line” courses, courses through our local Community College, courses through Adult Continuing Education and mail order” courses and in a variety of different fields ranging from science to the arts, whatever peaks my interest and I think I may in some way benefit from or by knowing may be a benefit to others.  It also keeps me from growing old too fast.  It keeps my mind sharp and alert.  I like learning new things or old things from a new perspective.   There are many reasons why people go back to school.  These are just a few of mine.

I’m retired now but I’m still learning.  I keep going back to school because I like to learn new things.  There was a time when I was going back to school because I had to learn new things, new skills for my jobs I have had, new skills to meet certain social and family demands.  These were all reason to go back to school and I have enjoyed it for the most part.  Now I am retired and I spend most of my time doing research and writing.  I’m still learning and writing down what I have learned.  I’m trying to write it in such a way that others will find it interesting and appealing and may want to learn more too.  That’s why I write.  That is why I keep going back to school.  It makes me a better, stronger, more knowledgeable person.  It helps me better understand the world around me and improves my living skills.  I believe that continued learning and growth is as much a part of living as is breathing, eating and sleeping.  People who continually challenge themselves to learn something more and are willing to learn about new ideas, philosophies, skills, are people who are fascinating to be around.  It gives me a sense of fulfillment every time a new thought is introduced and I make the effort to learn about it. It does not mean I have to agree with it but it broadens my view and helps me to better understand where others are coming from.  That seems as good a reason as any for going back to school.

People go back to school for other reasons as well.  They go back to school to pursue interest that they may have had to put aside when they were completing their formal education to enter a specific field of endeavor and now they have the opportunity and they act on it by going back to school to learn those skills or knowledge they missed out on years ago.  Maybe it is something in the field of arts or specialized crafts, a study in a philosophy they have always been curious about or some other special interest, maybe ballroom dancing or line dancing or maybe they want to learn martial arts or take some courses in physical fitness, dietary health, naturopathy, ancient cultures, theater, photography, cooking or cake decorating, wherever their interest lies. People go back to school and take a variety of courses for a variety of different reasons.  The world is constantly changing and there are constantly new things to learn about, new techniques, and new twist on an old view.

With the economy and employment situation the way it is today people are finding they need to go back to school as they change their career path to make it possible for them to find employment in our ever changing world and to be competitive in the job market.  You go back to school to learn new skills of employment so you are employable.  People go back to school to improve their qualifications so they may stand a better chance of getting that promotion in their chosen field or to learn specific skills that will help them climb the proverbial “corporate ladder of success.”  It is the old philosophy of the more you know the higher you go though that doesn’t always hold true.  Good social skills play as much a part in climbing that ladder as does formal education in the field.

As we grow older, especially as we grow older we discover that we really know very little about anything beyond our own circle of endeavor and we go back to school to broaden our views, give us a wider perspective.  It is more for personal growth than any other reason.  Once you stop learning and growing you begin to stagnate and decay.  If I ever reach the point where there is nothing new for me to learn I will probably be dead.  I think that is why people go back to school, to keep themselves from dying.  If you are still busy learning and growing, who has time to sit around wasting away unto death.  People go back to school because it is a smart thing to do.  And some go back to finish the degree, get that piece of paper and the prestige that goes with it, just so they can frame it and hang it on their wall and sign their name PhD or whatever.