8 Ways to Make Going Back to School a Reality

Why having a family or a career shouldn’t prevent you from pursuing further education.

Everyone aspires to live a personally and professionally rewarding life. We do it for ourselves, and we do it for our families—to be good examples for our children to look up to, and to have something to strive towards in our careers.

Regardless of whether you have a family or other commitments, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a career you love. Instead, you should strive to do the exact opposite by setting professional goals and establishing practical ways to achieve them.

And what better way to grow professionally than to continually learn new skills that you can put into practice? According to Statista, 15.5 per cent of all students enrolled in higher education are over the age of 30. This is because further education doesn’t have to be the all-consuming, head-in-the-books style of learning you might expect. In fact, it’s often a more practical and resourceful experience.

In order to fulfill your career goals — whether it’s earning more, getting that promotion or staying current in your field — and maintain a happy family life, you’ll need flexibility, balance and strength. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to achieve all of this while still transforming your career and your life.

Manage your time well
If you take one thing away from this article, this should be it: Rome may not have been built in a day, but they definitely had a timeline for when and how it was going to be built. It’s no secret that busy people are the ones who get more done. What is a well-kept (and simple) secret is the skill behind their success: mastering the art of scheduling. Your time is precious. Use it wisely and you’ll have people wondering how you manage to fit all of that productivity into a single day.

Have a support team
Whether it’s your significant other, your parents, your best friend, or even your neighbour, external support is crucial to success. No one is an island. Say yes to offers of help and discuss things with your support network to help them understand your situation. But most importantly, don’t forget to listen to them when they tell you to take a break.

Find that flexibility
According to Statistics Canada, 25 per cent of graduate study is now done part-time. Going back to school to further your career shouldn’t feel out of reach. Universities like Royal Roads value and respect students from all walks of life and educational backgrounds and want to ensure that education is accessible for everyone. That’s why they consider life experience (not just grades or education) when evaluating a candidate’s application. There are oodles of courses available in-person and online (or a mix of both) that make finding a learning plan that works with your busy schedule a breeze.

Set goals
This is the best and simplest way to keep on top of everything you’re juggling and ensure that you don’t fall behind. Take control of your life by setting goals throughout the year and checking in with yourself before (and after!) each milestone to make sure you’re on track.

Get advice from others who have done the same
You may have rose-tinted glasses about going back to school, or you may be more stressed than necessary. The best way to anticipate what’s to come is to talk to others who have been in your shoes before. This includes coworkers, mentors and academic counsellors.

Talk to your manager
Before you make any decisions, talk to your manager about what and where to study. They may shed some light on what will help to further your career and professional development, as well as what is most needed at your company to make you indispensable.

Choose a practical course
There’s a strong connection between theory and practice. What you learn in the classroom directly translates into the skills you bring back to the workplace. Ask to see a sample syllabus and make sure it aligns with your goals. Take a course where what you learn can be implemented into your work life to make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Develop a professional network with your classmates
This could be the key difference between succeeding and failing a course. Socialize, form a study group and get to know your professors. The people you meet and the networks you create here could be the stepping-stones to the biggest opportunities in your career — or even just the basis for some lifelong friendships.

Whatever field you’re in, practical further education can help you create a life that’s financially, professionally and personally fulfilling. Find out more about the diverse course offerings at Royal Roads University at royalroads.ca.