Going Back to School Later in Life

Going Back to School Later in Life

I adore this short clip on Youtube. In it, Betty Reilly, an 85-year-old woman shares her story of graduating college in her old age. Even though I’m several years younger, it’s extremely encouraging on those days when I’m not all that enamored by the thought of returning to school.

Irrespective of your highest level of education, perhaps you doubt the idea of going back to school now that you’re older. If Betty’s story doesn’t ignite some fire under you, here are three things to keep in mind if you’re unsure about obtaining a formal education, a little later than usual.

  • Leveling up. The new addition to your resume will do wonders for your career or business goals. While you don’t need a formal education to be successful, backing up your skill set and experience with additional knowledge might be just what you need to get ahead or stand apart from the crowd.
  • Socializing and expanding your network. Focusing on a topic of interest for an extended period of time may introduce you to new people in your field - you might even make new friends! If you need a change of scenery and want to connect with people outside of your usual circle, a new course might offer the social boost you need.
  • When you know better, you do better. I don’t know what’s kept you out of the classroom so far, but I have a sneaky feeling that all things work out for the best! Maybe you’ve since learned how to deal with peer pressure and get your weekend habits under control. Perhaps you have a family now and very clear reasons for picking up the books. Maturity is a distraction repellent, and though it doesn’t always come with age, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you’re doing OK in that department!
  • Studying is good for your health! If you’d like to do your bit and fight the mental decline that comes with aging, learning is your friend! (Source)
  • You’ve got options. When you’re newly graduated from high school and thinking of college, chances are that you’re thinking of a physical building upstate complete with dorm rooms, social and recreational activities. While that may not be a desire of yours later in life, you are still spoiled for choices. Many universities have online programs, night school or the option to take fewer modules while you work part-time. Even if you’re not thinking of an accredited program through a higher learning institute, there are loads of courses online to suit your needs and budget.

  • The points above are great, but here’s the thing. If you’ve always desired to obtain a degree (or additional degrees) then that’s ALL the motivation you need. You might need to work a little smarter, but being the oldest in a classroom pales in comparison to the feeling you’ll get when you walk across that stage like Betty.

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