Nothing about the word school screams ‘fun’, let’s face it. So, returning to college after a prolonged absence, or just starting anew is very courageous for any adult to attempt. There doesn’t even have to be a reason to go back, in some cases, so it’s difficult to get motivated if you aren’t sure if going back to school is the right choice to make. Is it worth it?
In most cases, yes. Not all of us are employed or make a living doing our dream job. And some of us not only fail to have an actual career, settle for just a series of jobs. Anything to make ends meet is often considered a career. Some adults have families to support, some people are married and finally now have a chance to return to school. Some people are beyond middle age and are going to school so that they can achieve their goal in life, after they have lived their life already. So, how do you stay motivated to get your butt back in that college seat?
Providing a good example for your offspring
If you are a parent, or an aunt, an uncle, or even a grandparent, and you return to school, that speaks volumes about you to the younger people that surround you. Most kids aren’t thinking about college until they are at least a sophomore in high-school, so imagine the impact that your going back to school will have on the youngsters. My nephew is 11 and knows that I am going back to school. We have had a handful of discussions about why I am in school. He is aware that I want to be an author, and he often asks about careers that he should consider, tells me what he is interested in, and asks my opinion on what he would like. When any of my nieces or nephews ask me serious questions about their own future, I feel that I am showing them what they will be doing. They have been told that most people go to college right after high-school, that good grades are very important, and even that being good at certain sports will help them get through college. There is nothing better than a child that you love coming to you for guidance. Especially if you love that child and want them to have a better life than you had.
Know that you are doing something brave
It’s not easy to go to college, not just for adults, but for the majority of people. If you are going back to attain the goals you set for yourself earlier on in your life, that is highly commendable. Not everyone chases their dreams. Many people have goals that they never even try to follow up on. We all dream of being something, whether there is substance in it or not. Some adults might sing in the shower, while pretending to be applauded after rinsing their hair from conditioner, pretending to bow to the audience that loves them so. Some adults rehearse in the mirror the acceptance speech they will give after walking a red-carpet littered with roses and winning Emmy awards. Some of us practice the heartfelt interviews we will be giving when asked about our Pulitzer prize winning book. Who doesn’t want notoriety, fame, infamy, glory or, dare we mention it, money. Knowing that the more money one has the better (in most cases), you can remind yourself that when you are done with school, you will be making more money, hopefully in a job that you truly enjoy.
It’s incredibly easy to get frustrated with your classes and to ask yourself what in the heck you were thinking going back to school anyway? Remind yourself of how successful you are making yourself. If you are having a particular issue with a certain class make a promise to yourself. Say, “If I pass this class, with at least a C, I will buy myself a new dress (or shoes, or a Coach purse, or a vacation)”. Tell yourself that in the end, if you do well, and hot the targets that you make for yourself, give yourself a gift for doing so, Buy that fancy new laptop before next semester, or splurge at that fancy restaurant that is pretty expensive, or just go on a shopping trip and buy yourself something nice and frivolous. Treat yourself for your hard work. It’s even better if you excel past your expectations and make the Dean’s list! then you can hang that nice little letter of accomplishment on the refrigerator or put it in a frame.
Remind yourself of your goals
If, while in school you are still working (whether full or part time), and things go wrong at work, and you have ‘one of those days’, that is extra encouragement to get out of that environment and into a new one. School will become your salvation. You can say to yourself, “I can soon rid myself of this nonsense and get a better job if I keep trudging along in school”. Remind yourself that you are pursuing a dream job, and that even if you don’t get to your main goal, you will get awfully close to it. Shoot for the moon! Why not? You can attain any goal that you want, you can be anyone that you want, as long as you apply yourself. Lesser people than you have gone on to fabulous careers that you could be doing! Why in the world would you let someone else do the job that was meant for you?
Now that you have a few meaningful thoughts about getting yourself to take that leap, there are things to remember. Nobody can ever take education away from you. What you learn will stay with you and make you a deeper, more profound person. There is nothing more exhilarating than being knowledgeable, and being able to have a conversation that is intelligent and mind provoking.