My husband and I have been having this conversation since last week. I’ve wanted to go back to school for about a year, and the itch has gotten worse lately.
When I accepted my job as a marketing assistant for the local community college, I heard about their employee education program. They would pay a certain percentage of tuition for classes pertaining to my job. I knew the program was something I wanted to take advantage of in the future.
While I was in college, some professors gave me some advice about grad school that stuck with me. Journalism professors told me not to use grad school as a filler if I couldn’t find a job after graduation. They recommended waiting for two reasons, which I’ll share with you.
1. It’s worth it to work a few years in your area of interest to see if that’s what you really want to do. Sometimes you begin a career and decide it’s not for you. It’s better to find out earlier, before you spend the money on a master’s degree, that you want to change careers.
In my case, grad school is appealing because I’ve known since high school that journalism is what I wanted to do. I completed enough internships and experienced enough different types of journalism to know I would be happy with that career. A big draw for me is that I’m working in marketing but studied writing in college. I found a program where all the classes catch my interest, and all of them sound like they’d help me in my career.
2. Wait until your employer will pay for it. This advice was new to me because at the time, I didn’t know employers did that. As I mentioned above, one of the perks of working for a community college is they care about education. They have a program that allows employees to go to college and be reimbursed for some of it as long as the degree pertains to their work. This helps cut the cost of tuition and reduces the amount of loans you might have to take out to pay for it.
Also something to consider is how going back to school will affect your ability to give both school and work your full attention. One of the things my husband pointed out was that I tend to come home from work tired. How would I foresee handling school on top of working full time? My solution was to take only one or two classes at a time. Plus, it’s an online program, so I would be able to set my own schedule.
How would going back to school affect your relationships? My husband posed this question, too. Fortunately for us (and also not so fortunate), my husband is an energy broker for a solar company and tends to work evenings. He meets customers for appointments to go over solar options, and most of those appointments are out of town at night when people get home from work. Because of that, he’s often gone when I get home.
For us, going back to school means I would have something to do until he comes back from his appointments. The conflict between doing homework and spending time with him wouldn’t be that much of a problem.
Are you in grad school? How did you make a decision about the right time to go back to school or whether you should go back at all?