How to Overcome Your Fears About Going Back to School
If you’re an adult considering going back to school and earning your degree, you are likely trying to overcome a variety of fears. If you’ve never gone to college before, there is the fear of the unknown. If you started earning your degree but didn’t finish, there is the fear of failure. If you are a parent, husband or wife, there is the fear of being able to balance school with family and work.
Then there’s the fear of choosing the wrong school. How do you know which one is right for you? Will the school you select be well-respected by potential employers? Will the value of the education you receive be worth the money?
The list of unknowns and fears goes on and on. However, by taking a few simple steps you can gain the confidence you need to overcome your fears and move forward.
Take time to plan.
It’s not unreasonable to feel overwhelmed with your current responsibilities and wonder how you’ll possibly fit going back to school into an already full schedule. Take some time to do your homework and get organized. Write all your current activities and obligations in a calendar or day planner so they are in front of you in black and white. When you start looking at schools and degrees, make a note of the class schedules and time commitments required for each.
Many schools, like Southern Wesleyan University, offer degrees you can earn fully online. Online degrees are super flexible, allowing you to schedule coursework around your life and work towards earning your degree at a pace that is comfortable for you. Take classes in the early morning, on your lunch break, or in the evenings after the kids are in bed.
Find a sense of community.
It’s much easier to make the decision to go back to school when you don’t feel alone. Even when earning your degree fully online, it’s possible to still feel a sense of community and support from your university. Faith-based universities, like Southern Wesleyan University, are known for providing supportive environments where students can achieve professional, personal and spiritual growth.
Make the decision to invest in yourself.
One of the most common fears around going back to school is the cost. The expense of college tuition can seem overwhelming. However, when viewed as an investment in your family’s future, career or earning potential, the cost becomes much more palatable. Instead of looking at the short-term cost of tuition, consider the value that degree offers you in the long-term.
If you have a university you are interested in, contact their financial aid department to inquire about available scholarships, grants and loans. In addition to institutional scholarships and grant programs, federal and state governments offer loans based on financial need.
Recognize your work experience as a strength.
Adults returning to school often worry that they are out of practice when it comes to being a student. While you may not have had to study for a test in quite some time, you have had real-world experience. For many adults, the skills they gain at work cross over into the classroom. Adult learners are often able to ask more informed questions and complete coursework with more ease than students without prior experience.
As is typically the case with anything worth doing, earning a degree as an adult won’t be easy. However, for many adults, the benefits far outweigh any perceived risks. Whether for career advancement, to gain a personal sense of accomplishment, or to set an example for your children, if you focus on your motivation for returning to school, rather than your fears, nothing is impossible.