Thinking of Going Back to School? Here are 3 Things to Consider First

Image by: Derrick Coetzee
By George Lamb

So things aren’t going the way you want them to in life and you’re thinking about trudging through a few college courses to make everything better. Well, it’s great you have ambition and crave to improve the quality of your life, but before you go ahead and register for late start fall courses, ask yourself just a few questions: What career do I want to pursue? Will I have the discipline to follow through and complete these courses? Am I willing to go thousands of dollars into debt over a sheet of paper ( i.e. a degree)?

If you answered yes to those questions then you deserve many pats on the back, but if you’re still on the fence, I’d suggest you to weigh the pros and cons of jumping into such a time consuming and life altering decision. Because if you’re not prepared to live up to the task, and you find yourself regretting ever signing those loan papers, then I can imagine your future self might hate the current you very, very much.

#1) Are You Choosing The Right Career?

I’m not trying to fill the roll of academic adviser with this article.  I just want to urge you to evaluate your entire life so you can come to a viable conclusion as to what you want to do for the rest of your life. Think about that for a second: What you want to do for your entire life! Not two years, not four years, but forever–until you die (or retire at least.)

Imagine you spontaneously decide you want to become a lawyer, then you go to school for eight years and  fulfill that desire, but upon the first month of working you realize you don’t want to be a lawyer after all, you want to be a doctor. Yea it sounds irresponsible, but we can’t change the fact that as humans we often change our minds about things.

Studies have shown that at least 50%to 70% of students across the U.S. change their majors at least three times before graduating. With that amount of students changing their minds, it wouldn’t surprise me if most people despise the professions they end up falling into.

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that you may not necessarily need school to navigate the avenue you’re trying to pursue. If you’re a writer and have no degree, but you have the greatest novel ever written in the history of man, than I’m sure readers wont give a crap about a B.S. in English. However, in order to develop and hone your craft, school can certainly aid you in that.

But what people forget is the entire point of school is to learn. And believe it or not it is possible to learn without paying thousands of dollars and sitting in classrooms. What is this magical way of learning that seems so obsolete these days you ask? It’s called discipline. Learn on your own by reading books at your local library. It sounds boring, but at least its cheap.

#2) Will You Follow Through?

I’m pretty sure you know yourself far better than anybody else, and I can assume that upon a moments notice you will be able to determine if you are a school person or not. Most people who attend college right after 12th grade actually despise school, but have been so coaxed by the media into attending that they enroll anyway.

Now you may ask yourself why would someone attend college if they hate school? Well the reason is simple: it’s because an outside influence—parents most likely—are making you.

Society wants you to go to school, parents want you to go to school, and most likely your grandparents and everybody else as well. But, before you sit down with that guidance counselor, ask yourself, do you want to go to college?

You may think you want to go to college, but halfway through your first course you may find yourself asleep, texting, or ditching in favor of that cute blonde you met in the café.

I may not be the greatest advice giver in the world, but speaking from personal experience: DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE WANTS YOU TO. If you do this you will most likely end up drowning in debt.

#3) Are You Willing to go Into Debt?

There’s a stark difference between voluntarily going into debt and involuntarily going in debt. The former would be sensible if you appropriately classify your college endeavors as an investment you one day hope to reap benefits from, but the latter applies to the indecisive people who enroll into college because they felt they have to, or that it is the right thing to do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, just because you plan on enrolling into college does not necessarily mean you have to go into debt. There are multiple avenues you can pursue that doesn’t involve you owing an obscene fortune before you hit your 30’s, like trades, vocational schools and community college.

While there are programs in vocational and trade programs that cost a fortune, they also offer certain certification programs that can be taken in a short period of time for a little amount of money. So if you’re looking for a job fast you might want to explore avenues such as truck driving, personal training, welding or assisting nurses (CNA).

So that means if you’re lazy like me, and could never imagine spending 8 years in college to become a doctor, you may either want to consider a trade, apply at that Wendy’s down the street, or perhaps write that sexy novel that I mentioned.

Was school the best decision you every made in your life, or was it the worst investment you will ever make? I implore you to share your amazing experiences below? Perhaps someone else can learn from your mistakes!