So, you want to be a middle-aged graduate?

Going back to school later in life is a nightmare idea for some people, but for others it is the pinnacle of their ambitions. Whether or not you decide to get an undergraduate degree for the first time or you decide it is time to get a graduate degree going back to college, later on, has its challenges.

Making a career change

The way it is supposed to work is you finish school and get into the college of your choice, where you finally specialize in a degree topic. Abracadabra you’re supposed to be set for life. But it doesn’t always work that way.

Sometimes you get the urge to change direction, or you find you have a passion for something completely different. Deciding you want to take your life in another direction is a great reason for going back to college.

There are good reasons to add the credentials – an older graduate will probably ear 5-10% more than a regular aged graduate in the same role. It turns out there is some value in experience after all.

Being a mature student is not for the faint of heart

There’s a reason we do college straight after school. We might not know it at the time, but it is a luxury to have studying as your only task.

For the mature student who needs to balance study with housework, shopping working and collecting the kids from soccer practice, dancing lessons and everything else. Well, you get the picture – you will have a lot to juggle.

As a graduate student, this will be intensified because being a graduate student is not like being an undergrad. You will have your own workload and potentially some teaching work to do as well as all the domestic chores you’d have on a normal basis.

Working out how to be a student

It is a big adjustment becoming a student again. You will have to learn to raise your hand again. You will also have to learn when to keep quiet. The one thing you know the 20-somethings don’t is what life has taught you. It can help but it can also hinder. It’s not good to know more than the tutor. Remember, tutors want their students to see their great wisdom. They are supposed to be the smartest one in the class. Turning on your observational skills will help a lot here.

But the rewards will flow

For one thing, you will realize in a way you never would have just how lucky you are. You will love being back in learning mode. The actual learning will be a fulfilling action in its own right. You will be motivated to do it in a way the younger ones aren’t. Like it or not, you will raise the bar in the entire class.

Just do it

At the risk of sounding cliché, it is going to be worth taking the step and going for it. The worse thing possible is you learn something, and that’s never wasted.