Back to School for the Adult You

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, August 01, 2018
By Mirta Pont, LCSW,

Certified EMDR Therapist

In my last blog, “Parenting your college age child,” I spoke about how to shift your parenting style when your child goes to college. Well, one very good way to letting go of your child is to consider going back to school yourself. A parent who goes back to school in later life not only relates better to their children in school but also sets an example of being courageous and disciplined. The decision to commit to your education is a big one. It will certainly give you much food for thought as well as bring up different feelings.

Many adults either didn’t finish college, want to improve some skills or are considering a new career. Some didn’t go to college altogether. Acquiring a degree will make you more marketable or make you more money in your present job. Whatever the reason, It can be scary because things have changed from the time you were in your late teens and twenties to now— the adult you. But, remember, you are not the same person that you were years ago. You are more mature. You have life and work experience too. You may be paying for your studies yourself which will make you more self-motivated.

Many universities cater to adults returning back to school by offering online classes. These classes allow you the flexibility of not having to actually drive to a location as well as when you schedule to work on your material. Some people like the campus experience; however, so if you have time and are so inclined, places like the student and counseling centers are excellent resources.

Here are some tips to support your decision:

  • Research the field or the subject that you’re thinking about studying. Ask friends and colleagues that may have some experience with this challenge. Everyone is a well of information and you’ll never get that info unless you put yourself out there and ask. 
  • Make sure you don’t take too big of a bite. Start with one class to avoid feeling overwhelmed.  Remember to make time to balance work, family and personal time. Also remember to be patient and kind with yourself. You’re in learner mode now and you have no one to impress. 
  • Be supportive of your classmates as well as use them and their knowledge. Although they may be young and this probably is their first time around with college, they’re more tech and social media savvy than you and can help you out in this area.
Finally, the one question that keeps people from returning to college is: “How old will I be when I finish?” The answer is: “The same age I’ll be if I don’t finish!”