Going Back To School As An Adult Doesn’t Have To Be Scary

going back to school

Not everyone has a plan. Not everyone can say where they want to be in five, 10, or 20 years; and those that can, might not have a clue how to get there.

Sometimes you just take life one day at a time. You graduated from college, got a job in your field, and every day after that you worked to move up the ladder, confident that you were absorbing all of the knowledge you needed to make it in this world.

Then may come the day when it all stops. You’ve gotten as far as your degree will take you at your company. Or you’ve reached a crossroad and realize you want something different from your job. Compounding your anxiety over your stalled momentum is the realization that you don’t have what it takes to cross that career chasm. That’s when you reach the conclusion that it’s time to go back to school and embrace adult education.

By making the decision, you’ve already cleared one hurdle, and now you can start sorting out your priorities. Among other things, you’ll have to find the right program, plan your budget, and figure out when you’ll have time to study and work on your assignments.

But even after you’ve solved the cost and time commitment conundrums, how do you get over the intangibles? How do you get past the worry that you’re too old; that you won’t fit in? After all, you haven’t been to college since Robbie Dupree had a hit with “Steal Away” back in 1980. Who’s going to even remember that?

Everyone has their own way of dealing with these anxieties. Consider these suggestions:


Don’t worry about the wrong things

Worrying that your classmates haven’t been exposed to history’s greatest musical influences won’t get you any closer to a degree. Besides, technology has transformed the modern classroom into an online learning experience where your focus will be on your assignments. If you still feel out of place, you shouldn’t. According to U.S. News and World Report, several of their “Best Colleges” rankings included schools in which the majority of the student body was 25 or older.


There’s no time to waste time

You’re there to learn. That’s all that matters. You might have partied harder than “Bluto” Blutarsky during your first college experience, but now you’ve got some wisdom. Your party days are behind you, and you’ve learned time is a valuable -- and irreplaceable – commodity. So chances are you’ll stay motivated and work harder than ever to get through school, earn your degree, and start the next chapter of your life.


Think about the lives you’ll change (not just your own)

You’ve made the decision that your degree is your ticket to get ahead in your current career, or start a brand new one. But consider the impact on your family and friends. You’ll be an inspiration to them when they see what you’ve accomplished at this later stage of your life. And you’ll join a community of lifelong learners who hope to motivate others through their success.


Watch “Back to School”

The plot is simple: Rodney Dangerfield doesn’t want his son to become a college dropout, so he enrolls at the same school and hilarity ensues. Along the way he romances Sally Kellerman, performs a ridiculous diving stunt, and inspires a generation. Not only will the story motivate you, but you’ll also arm yourself with hilarious comebacks if anyone claims you’re too old to learn something new.

The bottom line: don’t be afraid to learn new things. Adult education doesn’t have to be scary. You’ve already convinced yourself it’s necessary to get you to a better place. School wasn’t forced on you, and it’s only going to help you gain the knowledge or skills you need. Stick to your plan, stay on top of your studies, be prepared, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.


Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education

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Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.