School Work

Become more marketable. More and more companies make having a Bachelor’s degree a requirement. Bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma. With more and more companies using database searches for recruitment you may not get a chance to even show your portfolio if a college degree is not a part of your resume. 2. Learn new skills. When you work you often don’t have time to devote to learning new skills that aren’t directly related to the task at hand. Yet, this can be personally and professionally rewarding. I learned video and even got a chance to show at a couple of festivals. . Get into teaching or management. Bachelor’s degree is a requirement for teaching and management positions, at least in big cities. Of course, there might be exceptions but those are few. A degree doesn’t guarantee you’ll become an art director but at least you’ll be in the running. 4. Experience college life. Or not. Your experience can vary depending on whether you live on campus or not, how much free time you have, and other personal factors. Do whatever you feel comfortable with. 5. Change career focus. Maybe you worked in print for over ten years and you’re getting bored with it.

The grass looks so much greener over in the web design field. Although you can make the switch without a degree, the knowledge and experience from college certainly won’t hurt. You’ll have more credibility and confidence. Twentysomething: Be responsible, go back home after college By Ryan Healy – According to Monster. com, 60 percent of college graduates move home with mom and dad after graduation and the trend is on the rise. The statistic holds true with my friends from the class of 2006. More than half moved back to the suburbs to start adult life, much the same way they ended high school life — with their parents.

A lot of people say generation Y needs to grow up and take some personal responsibility and that we have been coddled by our helicopter parents (see the comments section). But when you look closely, it is glaringly apparent that moving back in with parents is one of the the most responsible things a new college grad can do. By sucking it up at home for a year or two, young people give themselves the opportunity to take control of their career, take control of their finances and transition from the care-free college fantasy world to the real-world of work, marriage, kids, mortgages and car payments.

Take control of your career To live comfortably in a big city like New York, students are forced to take a high paying, but less than satisfying job. Often, top graduates end up working for the best paying investment bank or law firm. I’m sure you could find a small minority of conservative students who had dreams of becoming an I-banker since middle school, but for the most part these jobs are going to the top tier students who are trying to make a quick buck before they retire at 30 (or so they say). By moving home after graduation, you have little or no rent which allows for more freedom when searching for a job.

There is no need to sell out to an investment bank if your real goal is to work with underprivileged children. Depending on where your parents are located, you are probably missing out on the big city night life and social scene, but you have lots of opportunities to find the perfect job, regardless of pay. If ditching the social scene for career sake doesn’t demonstrate responsibility and independence, I don’t know what does. Take control of your finances Real wages today are lower than they were for the past two generations of workers.

Couple that fact with today’s insane housing costs and an increase in contract workers not receiving benefits, just getting by on forty or fifty thousand a year in a major city is nearly impossible. Attempting to save any reasonable amount of money the first few years is a joke. However, moving home with mom and dad will immediately save you about $700 a month in housing costs. At least there is some extra cash flow. In two years, you can save up enough to move out on your own without worrying about going into credit card debt for basic necessities like fixing your car or buying groceries.

Take an appropriate adjustment period between college and the real world People really do struggle adjusting from college to the real world. A good friend of mine just fulfilled her life long dream of moving to New York. She still loves the city, but she is overwhelmed and doesn’t exactly like her day job. Sure, many people go through this tough transition period, and chances are she will eventually enjoy it, but the transition from child to adult is different, and oftentimes, more difficult for today’s youth. This period is not a transition, but an actual life stage, according to Jeffrey Arnett, associate professor at University of Missouri and author of Emerging Adulthood: A Theory of Development from the Late Teens through Early Twenties . Arnett describes the period between college and adulthood as, “a self- focused stage where people have the freedom to focus on their own development. ” Notice he calls this period of stage in development and not just a transition between two stages. So why do we still try to go from adolescent to adult in a matter of weeks or months?

Moving home for a while enables an appropriate and productive transition. Rather than focus on rent, bills and kids, emerging adults living at home with their parents have the ability to focus on the most important aspects of emerging adult life: figuring out who they are and what career is right for them. Ryan Healy’s blog is Employee Evolution. After taking a serious re-evaluation of my life over the last year, I finally realized what I should be doing with it. I want to be a nurse. I attended college several years ago, but I majored in English Lit and didn’t finish my degree.

How can I plan for this financially? Going back to school is a pretty common goal that people have. In fact, my mother-in-law went back to nursing school when she was in her forties because, after many years working in a research lab, she realized she had a calling and a gift to interact with and help people. Along those same lines, I have actually considered going back to school to work on a degree in political science, as I’m moving more and more towards being involved in local and state politics.

I’m mostly interested in such a degree to help me build upon the connections I’m already making in the local community and get a firm grounding in how politics work. If you’ve come around to the idea of going back to school in order to reboot your career (or extend it), here are the steps I’d take along the way. First, do the personal investigation to find out if this new career you want is really right for you. Talk to people that are already in the career that interests you and simply tell them your story. Ask what their actual workdays are like. Ask about the education that was required or them to get their job. If you’re heading towards a completely new career track (as I would be if I followed up on the political idea), it’s a good idea to contact multiple people at various points along the career track to get some input. For example, for a political person, you might want to talk to campaign staff, state legislators (and their staff), members of local boards, and so on. If you can, dabble in this track in your spare time. Do volunteer work, or get involved in organizations where you can meet people who are involved in this career track.

You may find out from this alone that the career path isn’t for you. I know, for example, that I’ve mentored at least one writer who decided that the day-in day-out research and creative efforts were too much for him. Don’t do this lightly. The decision to leave your current career and find a new one is a serious leap and likely a very expensive one. Don’t simply jump from one career that doesn’t excite you into another one. Find out as much as you can from the outside first, until you’re highly confident that this new career is the right one for you. Next, critically evaluate the educational needs of that career track.

What sort of schooling or degree do you actually need to get your foot in the door. For example, with nursing, a degree is essentially required in order to practice professionally, but with politics, a degree is far from required to get involved – it’s merely a way of building a strong base of understanding. The way to do this is through research and also through asking your contacts what education is required. Look at job listings and find out the minimum requirements for the types of jobs you would apply to at the start of the career path. What do you need that you don’t already have?

Once you’re sure you want to follow this new path and you know what you need to do, then start worrying about the costs of education. Start evaluating institutions that are available to you and get a realistic cost estimate. Depending on the amounts, you should start saving cash in a 529 plan set up to match the target date that you expect to start attending school. If the date is close, the cash will be invested largely in very safe investments (cash, bonds, etc. ), but if you know that school is a long time off, the money will go into more risky investments with a larger upside (stocks, real estate, etc. . There is one thing that’s more important than anything else along the way, though. You have to get started. Now. If you have a dream burning inside of you, don’t just let it sit there and idle. At the very least, take that first step. Find out more about what it actually entails. Find out what that career would actually be like. Then, take that information, do some serious soul searching, and figure out for yourself if it’s right for you. If you let your dreams just sit idling on the runway of life, eventually those dreams will run out of gas and never take flight. Take that first step right now.

Do some research about that dream career and find someone to talk to about it. Even if you realize it’s not for you, you’ll never regret having taken that first step. Top 5 Reasons You Should Go Back to School by Amelia GrayLooking for reasons to go back to school? Look no further. Upgrading your education with an advanced degree can mean honing your skills, learning new specializations, and coming back to work a stronger, more versatile employee. Even if you’ve been away from school for a long time, the benefits of advancing your education can be worth the commitment.

Check out the top reasons to get back into the classroom. 1. Get a Degree, Earn a Higher Salary Do you ever wonder how much more salary you could be earning? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, associate’s degree holders have median weekly earnings of $715. Each year, individuals with bachelor’s degrees earn approximately $15,400 more than those with associate’s degrees, and those with master’s degrees earn $12,800 more than those who have bachelor’s degrees. | 2. Become More Marketable Beyond a salary boost, an advanced degree could be a bargaining chip in the promotion process.

In general, hiring managers offer higher entry-level salaries and more promotion opportunities on average to those with higher education. Employers may even help fund your degree if you intend to stay with the company. 3. Advance Your Career You may already be aware of the career advancement possible within your industry. Management and supervisory positions often require a bachelor’s degree or higher, and many high-level managers hold an MBA. Specialized positions could require an additional associate’s degree or certification. 4.

Keep Your Skills Sharp Whether you’re in a skilled industry making the transition to high tech devices, or in a healthcare or teaching profession requiring constant re-certification, it’s traditionally important to stay current in your education. Degree programs typically evolve to include new technologies, meaning you can always learn something new. 5. Use a New Degree to Change Careers Even if you already have a degree and an established career, changing fields does not need to mean a fresh start. A new degree can add specializations and qualifications you can use to change directions.

In true “try it before you buy it” form, many students use a degree program as a way to learn more about potential new fields before committing to a career. Think of your education as a savings account. With every educational investment you make, your long-term career plans can grow. Over time, your investment may pay out in the form of a challenging, interesting career that values your skills and knowledge. Recessions can be a persuasive case to reevaluate your current career path, your income, even your current employment status.

If your career path hasn’t been as rewarding as you had thought, it might be time to change careers. If your income seems too low, a college degree or graduate degree will definitely improve your income. Finally, if you’ve been laid off as a result of the recession, going back to school can perhaps be the best investment you might make. Let’s go over the top 5 reasons people have reported for going back to school. #1 – A Recession is Temporary, an Education is Permanent Recessions never come at a good time as their unpredictable nature is not something we typically plan for.

However what is predictable is that recessions are temporary – typically 2-3 years; just enough time to finish that degree you might have started on. If you haven’t started it, now is definitely the time. An education is permanent and will carry you throughout your life, both financially and intellectually. And it only takes 4 years to almost double your income. The average high school graduate will top out at $31,000 per year while a post graduate will earn more than $75,000. 2 – There’s No Better Time to Build a Better Future for You and Your Family A recession, particularly a layoff, provides a ripe time for some reflection on your achievements and how they relate to your ultimate goals in life. If you find yourself without further opportunity, then it’s time to create that opportunity. To do so, you need to be competitive and increase your skills and knowledge with a degree. Employers value degrees that add value to their organization and reward them proportionately. #3 – Find Yourself with a Career Change During your elf-reflection, you might find yourself asking whether your career is emotionally and intellectually fulfilling or if you even enjoy your current industry. Too many people go through life in misery of their job and it’s completely unnecessary. All it takes is a little planning and commitment. First find your passion, and then find out what schools and degrees can train and validate your career change. #4 – College is More Flexible and Affordable than You Might Expect Universities are becoming more and more flexible with class times offering morning sessions, evening sessions, even weekend classes.

These same institutions are also offering full programs online eliminating the need to actually attend class in person. Furthermore, although a 4 year degree is increasing in costs, with careful planning you can achieve your education without sinking into debt. Testing out of classes with CLEP is certainly one of the most effective. Finding and obtaining scholarships from Fastweb and the Financial Aid Resources page can help tremendously. Finally, Federally Subsidized Stafford loans are a huge benefit to consider as the Government will actually pay your interest while you’re in school. 5 – Insulate Yourself from a Poor Job Market A recession might just be the time to commit yourself to school full time. By removing yourself from the job market altogether, you can ride out the recession without the stress of trying to make ends meet. This might require more planning and perhaps more school loans, however depending on your circumstances and with a proper cost/benefit analysis, you might find that the debt incurred by such a commitment will more than payoff in the long-term. Ultimately you need to consider an economic recession as opportunity for advancement, rather than a gamble to keep your job.

If you choose to increase your skills and knowledge with that degree you’ve always wanted, you might just find that recession over before you know it while working in an emotionally, intellectually, and financially rewarding careerOnce upon a time I worked full time and went to college full time. And while I thought that was a busy time in my life, I couldn’t imagine doing it with kids! So I truly admire the folks that go back to college in addition to juggling a career and family. There are many reasons to go back to school. Some people do it for career enhancement while others may do it for a sense of accomplishment.

Here’s another reason:  To keep yourself marketable. I just caught an interesting article that said when a younger person and an older one interview for the same job, the advantage will go to the younger one even if they are slightly less qualified. (Does that tick you off as much as it did me? )  The article doesn’t specify exact ages, but I can get a pretty good idea. I’ve been pushed aside for a newbie out of college enough times to figure it out. However, the same article said:“… older workers may gain selling points from additional education.

Aside from fresh academic credentials, they also can show other qualities employers value from doing the juggling act of home, work and school: flexibility, time management, multitasking, self-discipline. ”I know when I went back to college, it was because I was at a point where I worked a zillion hours, had no personal life, and hated my job. I felt trapped. Going back to school did something to my psyche. I was easily one of the oldest people in my class but I suddenly felt as if I had more options. So it did give me the confidence that had worn away from years at a thankless job.

I was able to change my mindset, and the rest of my life changed for the better, too. Still, it’s difficult to juggle it all. On one hand, you show your kids that education is important, and on the other, you spend less time with your family. Is it a decision you’ve been contemplating? If you have gone back to school, are you happy with your decision? And if you’re thinking of going, what’s holding you back? Some parents must come up with sensible reasons for going back to school. They feel that they are under-educated and might not be able to help their children with their home work.

No parent wants to seem inferior when it comes to helping their child with work that will help them advance in life. Some children beg their parents to go back to school just so they can feel proud of them. The parents have difficulty managing the household budgets because they are incapable of adding bills up properly. Going back to school would prove very beneficial to the entire family because the money paid for past due account charges could be diverted to buying nice things for the family to use like new furniture, clothing and food.

Some parents might choose to go back to school because they want to learn a new career. They feel stagnated and trapped because they do not enjoy the job that they do and feel no real future in what they are doing everyday. By going back to school and learning a trade that they have a passion for, it is very likely that things at home will not seem so tough. The family will have more things to enjoy because there will be more money to spend after the parent earns a degree. There are some parents that go back to school and know that they will never have to sit in a classroom with students that are not in their age group.

They have found that they can spend time at home with their young children and complete online college courses at odd times throughout the day. When the baby takes a nap, the Mother could have time to finish off several chapters in a textbook and answer the questions because they have had time to learn the material. Some people have learning disabilities that hinder the possibilities of ever being able to go back to school. The accessibility of computers has been very beneficial in allowing them to use keyboards and attend classes through online college programs.

Many people with hearing disabilities are afforded the opportunity to transmit answers using their home telephone. These people cherish the opportunity to go back to school and feel like they have accomplished a major feat when they receive their diplomas and degrees. Children will be very motivated when they go back to school if they see how hard their parents study. They come to realize that anything is possible if enough effort is put in to achieving a goal. The parent’s routine might not change at all and the children will be amazed to see that their parent has their homework finished on time.

When the children go back to school, they will study harder and longer than they ever did before because they feel that if their parent can do it, there should be no reason that they couldn’t do it too. Education is a must to get a good start on life Imagine the future: All those bright young teens right out of high school, gathered on a college campus for a year or more of advanced study to prepare themselves for their future careers. All of them want to end poverty, raise literacy rates, eradicate diseases, reverse global warming, develop ventures for world peace – there isn’t any cause too big for them.

They have the energy and drive, they have a fountain of wisdom and connections and experience. Now, all they want is credentials and knowledge to take their leadership a step further. Don’t you want to be like those bright, young, shiny-eyed kids? Do you want to go out there and do something with your life but the pressure of searching for a good yet affordable college is just bogging you down? Well here are a couple of tips to take that load off you chest: How to go about choosing a good college? • Examine yourself and the reason why you want to go college – Before you start your search ask yourself why you really want to go to college.

What are your skills and abilities? What are your possible weaknesses? What do you want to become in life? – Do the answers sound real or abstract to you? Talk to friends and family and counselors. • Your college doesn’t really have to be bigger than your high school – Who said bigger is better? Most colleges have a population that’s fewer than 5,000. College time is the time to explore, since it is a smaller community than high school, it is more favorable to internal exploring. It isn’t about the number of people going to a college, but about the kind of people and communities that actually matter.

Most large universities have well established ‘honors colleges’ for these same reasons. • A renowned college does not guarantee success – Graduates and employers are looking for experience and exceptional skills, not a college thoroughbred. When you’re searching for colleges, enquire about student outcomes, and you will find that there are many so called ‘unknown’ colleges that have outperformed those reputed Ivy League’s and other renowned colleges. Visit the National Survey of Student Engagement for more information. College can be affordable – If you think that colleges are exorbitantly expensive because of the tuition, then you will be missing out on a lot. Try looking for other options and ask for advice and help in matters that perplex you, and you will find some very affordable options. Online websites and other financial aid workshops that are sponsored by high schools are freely available. University and college financial aid websites provide information and links too. | Good advice Trent! I did this last year… quit my cushy well-paying job to go back to school.

I want to be a doctor. Have for most of my life, but ended up an accountant, so now I’m doing the undergrad work necessary to get into med school. It’s expensive and rough but I LOVE it. The things I did to get ready included making sure I was completely debt free and having multiple avenues of financing available (working during full time school is not an option for me). I also made sure to “disaster proof” my world. What the heck do I mean? – full insurance on my house ; vehicle so that I pay for normal, routine, MINOR maintenance only. And I do that maintenance religiously. my appliances were all within 5 years of the end of their useful life so I bought new/newer ones… scratch ; dent sales are great places to find new energy efficent but cheaper appliances. – the roof, the furnace and the hotwater tank were all at or beyond their normal useful lives so over 2 years I replaced them all. Now I’m at a point where if anything goes disastrously wrong, it’s an insurance claim and I have a minimum of my deductible in an emergency fund. Oh, I think it also bears mentioning that I thought about this change for 2 years before beginning to prepare for it… and spent a further 3 years doing what I listed above.

This isn’t something I jumped into lightly and no one should. That said… Amanda, DO IT! You’ll be happier for it. Money isn’t everything – happiness is. Christine @ 11:16 am September 6th, 2008 (comment #1) You can also consider going to school in Canada! 🙂 In Canada you can get a private college education at a community college price. Success Professor @ 11:18 am September 6th, 2008 (comment #2) Trent, I have a degree in Political Science, and if you’re interested in being involved in community affairs DO NOT STUDY POLITICAL SCIENCE. Michelle @ 12:21 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #3)

I’m in politics, even with a degree in American Lit. Working campaigns opens up a lot of doors to working in politics, especially if your candidate ends up winning. I don’t really think you need a poli sci degree, it’s more having good instincts. Angie @ 12:29 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #4) Trent, as someone who has a degree in Political Science, don’t do if you’re interested in local and state politics. It’s much more about how the structure of government affects people. It’s very academic. You’ll spend a lot of time learning how to make computer models of rational choice theory.

If you’re interested in really doing something in government, try a Master’s of Public Administration. That’s where you’ll get into how government policy (different from the structure) affects people. And as an elected official, it will help you work with bureaucracy much more effectively. Seriously, if you want to talk about what a Poli Sci degree is all about, e-mail me. Don’t get me wrong, my Poli Sci stuff was fascinating, and I really enjoyed it, but as a background for public service, it’s not going to help you much. FYI. Michelle @ 12:29 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #5)

Unless you need a professional credential, like a nursing degree, medical degree, or law degree, I’d be wary of going back to school. A lot of people do this because they feel the need for a structure to their learning, and because they feel insecure and want to get more credentials before trying for a job in their new desired field. Because of the economy, even more people are going back to school to try to get a credential and get a better job. But except for the professional degrees, this just expensively delays the inevitable — that you’ll need to start at a lower-level job in the field and learn the practicalities on the job.

It’s a very expensive way of getting a not very useful degree. I teach at a university, and I see people returning to school and racking up debt every day doing this. I think it’s more sensible to start at a lower-level job in the field and have THEM pay YOU while you learn. Faculties @ 12:34 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #6) Another couple of things to consider if you decide to go back to school: First, don’t rule any school out until you have filed the FAFSA for federal financial aid.

The FAFSA determines how much the government thinks your family contribution should be, and quite often, an expensive private school will come up with aid to make it no more (or hardly more) expensive than a public school. So find out what your aid package will be, then decide which school to attend. I see a lot of folks who rule out certain schools out of hand, and don’t apply, assuming it’s unaffordable. Second, if you know you want out of your current field, and you don’t know what you do want, your local community college probably has free interest surveys and job information, along with friendly advisors to explain them to you.

Check it out. Life is too short to do something you hate. P. S. To Faculties: That’s great if you can do it, but you would not believe how many employers today require specific training in the field before they will consider you for any job. Then, of course, they tell you to forget everything you learned in school and do it their way, but it’s hard to get people to look at you with an unrelated degree and experience today. SBT @ 1:44 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #7) Trent, you might want to look into a degree or classes in public administration.

I was amazed at how often this degree came up when I was looking at job requirements for public sector positions. I was actually weighing the pros and cons of dropping out of grad school before I got into any debt in a degree I realized would have no professional benefit (as I had learned that teaching at the university level did not interest me). Anne @ 2:09 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #8) I went back to school at age 30. I had a masters’ degree in fine art but I wanted to go to grad school and study physics.

The first thing I realized was that I did not have to get another bachelors’ degree; I went to school part-time and took all the physics and math courses a physics major would take. That was enough to get into a pretty good grad school. Secondly, I was fortunate enough to get a job as a typist at the school I wanted to attend, so my classes were free. My bosses were flexible and let me work my hours around my classes (which technically wasn’t allowed, but I was a good worker and a good student). Because I already had a degree, it would have been impossible for me to get financial aid, so the free tuition was a godsend.

Finally, you might look into attending a school with a co-op program. Ideally, you would have a semester of classes followed by a semester of paid work in your intended field. This helps you pay for your schooling and also gives a taste of what the real world will be like once you graduate. Brigid @ 2:39 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #9) Folowing up on Faculties (#6): Trent, you are your own best example of how you can get into a desired field without going for an appropriate degree (unless it’s required, as for medicine or law or nursing).

An amazing number of people want to be writers and think the only way to go is to enroll in an MFA writing program, which takes two or three years and usually costs thousands. Then — ta-da — they will be certified writers. But you have become a real writer without first jumping the expensive hurdle of the MFA. You just went ahead and did it. And here you are. It didn’t take an advanced degree to get you here. Anna @ 2:42 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #10) I, too, have a degree in Political Science. While it was interesting, I would not advise going back to school to get a degree in it.

If you are interested in political theory, get some of the major thinkers (Locke, Rousseau, etc. ) from the library. I learned more about how politics works in actual practice by volunteering. Karen M @ 3:03 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #11) I agree with the “Do it now! ” – after two years out of university, working in marketing and PR, I realised that the job was slowly sucking the life out of me and making me into a person I didn’t want to be. I decided to leap ship and become an English and Drama teacher (high school level).

It can be difficult, I lost a less than supportive boyfriend along the way, but as a wise friend told me “There’s always going to be a million reasons not to do it and always one great reason to do it… this is your life, you don’t get to live it twice”. I spent some time at my old high school and knew it was the right career for me. I’ve done well in my english lit papers this year and have just received my acceptance into the teacher’s college! I feel so much more happier and alive following my dreams as opposed to running the corporate rat race 🙂 Scribbles @ 3:40 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #12)

Amanda, as a working RN I would advise you first of all to get a job as a nurse’s aide for a while. This will give you a taste of the worst of nursing. If you still want to do it after that and after talking with a lot of “real nurses” then I would advise you to get a job,any job, at a hospital. They are desperate for nurses and will pay your tuition most likely. Meanwhile work on getting your prerequisites out of the way. Nursing school is extremely competitive now, mediocre grades will not cut it. You may have to wait for some time to actually be admitted.

There are lots of people who think they want to be nurses without having the least idea of what actually happens during a 12 hour (yes, 12) work shift. This is not meant to discourage you but to keep you from becoming another nursing dropout. RN’s know all the ins and outs and will save you a lot of wasted time and money. Gayle RN @ 3:52 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #13) I recently graduated from nursing school in May at the age of 34. I decided to go back to school when my Journalism degree didn’t lead me down the path I wanted.

The best advice I have for anyone interested in nursing is to talk to local hospitals about their nursing needs. Here in Colorado, we don’t have the same nursing shortage as other states and I am finding it more difficult to get a job as a new grad nurse. Many area hospitals have scholarship programs that will help you pay for nursing school and gaurantee you a job when you graduate! If only I had known that BEFORE I graduated. Nancy @ 4:29 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #14) Hi Amanda. I graduated from nursing school in Canada a year ago. If you’re interested in #2’s suggestion of studying in Canada, you can ask me more about it.

My best friend in nursing school was an American who came here because of the cheap tuition – even though he had to pay much higher tuition than me as an international student. If you want to work the US, though, you should be aware that Canadian nursing school will not be a good preparation for the NCLEX. The NCLEX (and the American nursing schools are much more focused on factual stuff – physiology, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology etc. – than Canadian schools or our licencing exam. For some reason, the Canadian programs prefer to focus on airy-fairy “theory” bullshit.

I didn’t enjoy nursing school one bit, nor do I feel that it even remotely prepared me to work as a nurse, but getting that degree allowed me to become an RN and to improve my personal situation greatly, so it was worth it overall. I agree with Gayle’s suggestion to talk to nurses about the job as much as you can before starting school. If you can’t find many, here are a couple options: 1. The discussion boards at http://www. allnurses. com 2. The book “Tending Lives” edited by Echo Heron. It’s a compilation of many nurses descriptions of their work, and is very interesting.

Some of the stories are humourous or inspiring, but some are so horrible that they’ll destroy any romantic or sentimental notions of nursing that you might be harbouring (not that I’m saying that you personally have these notions, but lots of non-nurses do). Good luck, Marion RN rhymeswithlibrarian @ 4:55 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #15) As a long-time RN, I completely agree my sister nurse posters above. Research the field completely, it’s not for everyone. In fact, when I graduated and went to work on the “floor”, I was convinced I had made the biggest mistake of my life.

I was even considering going back to school to change my vocation when I was accepted into an OR training program. It changed my life and I’ve been an operating room nurse ever since. Definitely look into a hospital job prior to attending nursing school. Most have very generous tuition reimbursement programs. You’ll learn medical terminology, how the hierarchy operates, and you’ll learn very quickly if health care is really for you. It’s nice to think that you’ll be able to make a difference in someone’s life, and you can, but the reality of time and budget constraints seriously get in the way sometimes.

Health care is still a business, and there will be no shortage of bean-counters to remind you of that if you aren’t pulling the wagon. On the flip side, it’s full of wonderful, caring people with warm hearts and hilariously wacky personalities. That said, it’s been a great career for me, and I would welcome you into the fold. Best of luck to you. rjk, rn kingking @ 5:58 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #16) Amanda, the local nursing schools here in North Carolina require you to be a nurse tech(nurse’s aide) before you can start nursing school. It weeds out a lot of people who have no idea what nursing is all about.

Nursing involves dealing with a lot of unatractive aspects of bodily functions. Nursing also involves as much paperwork as it does patient contact. It is a great profession, and we need more people who truely care about people. If you think it is for you, a job at a hospital is a great place to start. There is a shortage of nurses here in North Carolina, and a lot of the bigger hospitals are offering to pay for your education to ensure a work force. Good Luck! And Good Luck to you as well, Trent. Darla, RN @ 6:57 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #17) Excellent article, Trent!

I returned to college in my late 30s. I decided I HAD to do it then and after some juggling and rearranging, I was in school several months later. It was the best thing I could have done at the point in time. Anni @ 7:35 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #18) If you are interested in working in politics or public service there is absolutely no point at all in getting a political science degree. As interesting as it is, it won’t help you at all in what you want to do. leslie @ 7:49 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #19) Good tips. Information interviews are IMPERATIVE!

And not just one or two…get as many as you can. People are usually only too pleased to meet with you to talk about their jobs and themselves. One other thing I would say is that sometimes you just have to make the leap. When you know it’s what you want to do, go for it. I freaked myself out before I went back trying to get everything sorted out. Paying off debts, saving some money, etc. Being prepared is one thing, but sometimes you just have to jump. One of the more interesting analysis for me was figuring out whether I should go full-time or part-time.

I chose the full and don’t regret it. antiSWer @ 9:10 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #20) College may or may not be the answer for everyone – for example, I have a student who gave up college to go to automotive repair school, and that’s great, because he’ll never look back. One semester in college was enough to convince him that it wasn’t for him, and he’s one step closer to finding out what is right for him today. Who knows if he’ll return in five years? But for today, in the moment, he’s found a path he feels is right for him, and that’s important.

However, if you think it might be for you, I have a few things to mention: 1) Colleges will give you “basic skills” tests – to test your reading comprehension, writing skill, and math ability. If it has been a while, you can brush up on these things. Many people walk in, unaware that they are going to get tested, and agree to take the tests without preparing. Don’t do that! You could end up wasting a semester on remedial classes. 2) If you have a major in mind, get in to a class in that major, but take some general education courses too.

If you discover, for example, political science isn’t for you, you can always discover during that same semester that you really like writing, or computers, or sociology. Or whiskey, but that’s a different aspect of education! 3) Introduce yourself to a faculty member in the major. Badger them. Full time faculty have office hours during the week, and you don’t have to be one of their students to visit and ask questions. Many faculty actually hope for this – the more students in their major, the more options they have in course selection, so it is in their best interests to talk to you a bit. ) If you’re starting at a community college – remember, once you get the associate’s degree, no one can ever take that away from you. You’ll have a degree, and you’ll be in the upper 33% of the US already. If you go to a four year school, and you don’t finish, you don’t have any degree, but one advantage (aside from cost) is that an associate’s degree at a community college gives you a middle point. Ask about transfer agreements, remember, they are competing for your business, and they better give you a seamless way to transfer to local four year colleges and universities!

Eric C @ 9:30 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #21) Amanda, as stated previously, working as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home or hospital will give you the foundation you need to know if you really want to dig in and become a nurse. It’s a great opportunity to get up close and personal with strangers; for example, like getting used to touching people where you’re not comfortable touching them and such. In addition, get your associates degree first. Save yourself a HUGE chunk of change and go to a community college for it.

Then if you truly like it, follow up with an accelerated bachelor program, or you risk curtailing your future potential greatly. The great thing about nursing is that employers aren’t concerned about where you got your degree, as long as the school is accredited. Stay away from LVN/LPN programs. While they often turn out quality nurses, the license is so limited now it severely restricts where you can go with your career. Jeremy @ 11:43 pm September 6th, 2008 (comment #22) Best of luck to Amanda! Great advice by the way.

Especially the first bit where you counsel her to check out the career before hand: I’ve seen it happen before where someone goes back to school and the job is not at all what they were expecting! I’m happy Amanda decided to return to school however; earning a degree or professional certification is one of the best ways to make more money in the long term. And it’s not all about being a doctor or a lawyer anymore; many places are desperate for professionals like nurses simply because no one is considering these jobs anymore (especially in Canada!. I go into detail about this in my article “How Can I Make More Money? which can be found here: http://www. btgnow. net/2008/07/how-can-i-make-more-money-part-2-work-smarter/ Good luck Amanda! BTGNow. net @ 12:10 pm September 7th, 2008 (comment #23) Another way to go back to school is on someone else’s dime. In my case, filling out a few forms and following some well established procedures let me get a Master’s degree using tuition reimbursement money from my employer. Sure, it was “only” $5K/year, but I was able to find a decent master’s program that would keep me under that limit so I was able to do it with no debt at all, while working a full time job.

It took a little longer than going full-time, but not that much because I would take summer session classes, too. J @ 10:23 am September 8th, 2008 (comment #24) Trent, an undergrad political science degree will not provide you with the kind of connections you need to get into state and local politics. A Masters of Public Administration would be a little better, but is more tailored to someone who wants to be a bureaucrat. The best place to go to meet the people who are going to be mayors, county council members, state senators, and governors? LAW SCHOOL. The halls are crawling with politicians’ kids.

If you’re not going to use the degree, then it wouldn’t be worth paying all that tuition, but find a reason to attend free events that a law school near you offers, and use the opportunity wander the halls yourself – you’ll see what I mean. Eve @ 12:28 pm September 8th, 2008 (comment #25) Another quick note – I took a look at fastweb recently and found a number of scholarships for returning students. I am taking some courses at the community college presently, rebuilding my resume and portfolio of experience because I am planning on a major career move in a few years.

When I am ready to go full time I am planning on applying for every scholarship I can get my hands on! Dawn @ 2:44 pm September 8th, 2008 (comment #26) One of the best ways to get involved in local politics is to volunteer with the campaigns and political action groups in your area. It’s a lot cheaper than getting another degree, and volunteer positions can sometimes turn into paid positions. And even if your aim isn’t necessarily to get paid, you’ll still meet a lot of the movers and shakers in local and state politics. BW @ 8:49 am September 14th, 2008 (comment #27)

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