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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

Why You Are Never Too Old for College (And How To Make It Work)

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Why You Are Never Too Old for College (And How To Make It Work)

Today’s jobs require continuous learning. Consider how the current pandemic forced the whole world to switch to remote office work overnight. Suddenly, all in-person meetings went to an online format. Now, many employers are telling their workers to stay home and work remotely

After there is a vaccine, perhaps life at the office will return to the way it was. But it is more likely that there will be more flex time, more staggered schedules, and less travel to see clients. All of this requires learning new skills, and college is a fantastic place to learn these skills.

If you are old enough to work, you are young enough to go to college. The only thing required is curiosity, an active mind, and the desire to learn.

As the world reshapes its ways of working together and industries prepare to adapt, now is a promising time to enter into higher education and become immersed in the incubation of innovative new ideas.

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Here are some reasons why you are never too old for college.

1. Going to College Keeps You Competitive

Especially in today’s rocky economy, you could find yourself competing with someone 10 or even 20 years younger. Armed with fresh bachelor degrees, your competitors have an edge unless you get your degree, too, or pursue an advanced degree.

If you find you are at a dead-end in your career, going back to college can help you acquire the skills you need to switch careers. And, just as you are never too old for college, you are never too old to take up an exciting new career.

Advancements in technology, for example, are making some careers obsolete. If you are in a declining industry—which these days spans the gamut from travel agents to postal workers to mortgage brokers—and foresee an inevitable move to automation, you will be better off retraining for a career better aligned for the future.[1]

Now, it is not just people in their late teens and 20s going to college. Today’s college students are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Some 40 percent of people obtaining a college degree these days are adults.[2]

Class cohorts of mixed ages can benefit both young and older students alike. Generational attitudes toward life and opportunities can be shared and perspectives of other generations’ viewpoints will broaden your own.

Additionally, when you go on a job interview, you can make the point that you are comfortable working across all generations.

2. Going Back to School as a Bucket List Item

Maybe you got a great job after high school or couldn’t afford to go to college directly after high school. Now, you have decided it is time to earn the degree you have always wanted to pursue. You may be at a crossroads in your current career, ready to take on a new challenge, or looking for more financial stability.

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Earning a college degree can be a way to fulfill all of these dreams.

When you feel that the time has come to take the leap into higher education, be sure to look into degree options and their return on investment .[3] Getting a college education can be a time-intensive and pricey proposition, and you will want to make sure the cost and the effort will pay you dividends in the future.

Or, if you simply want to augment your knowledge with a few skill-based courses, you are never too old to go to college to hone your expertise. Given how many of today’s careers are rapidly evolving, it is to your credit—and your company’s benefit—that you take initiative in improving your skills to keep up with the economy of the future.

Additionally, you are never too old for college classes to expand your interest and your knowledge in an avocation. Several colleges and universities offer not-for-credit courses on an array of topics—from current events to genres of literature to music appreciation and more.

3. Do the Legwork to Make It Work

Know in advance what skills you are after, and research the type of certification you need. Make sure the schools that you are investigating are accredited.[4] Often, a community college can provide a certificate program that will be all that you need to put your new career goals into motion.

Look into the requirements for admission. If it has been decades since you took a college admission test—as in an ACT or SAT—you may need to take one again. Be sure to make use of the online practice tests to help you prepare. But you may also be able to skip this step (some colleges are waving these requirements in light of the current pandemic).

You may also need to call up your high school and request that they send a transcript to the colleges to which you are applying.

Higher education institutions have several options for pursuing degrees with scheduling flexibility—through online or evening courses, accelerated-track programs, or self-paced programs. And while you are never too old for college, you are too for dorm living.

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Adult students—often labeled “nontraditional students”—in some cases, may never need to set foot on campus. Depending on the nature of your degree, you could feasibly complete it entirely online. However, if you are interested in the sciences, for example, chances are you will need to complete lab work on campus.

Make full use of the institution’s resources and particularly of those serving in the roles of admissions counselors, academic advisors, and financial aid advisors. They offer a well of resources and are there to make your transition into college easier.

If the college offers you the option of having a peer mentor, accept the offer. A peer mentor has already navigated the complexities of adjusting to college and can provide you with insider tips.

As an adult learner, career advancement may well be your key motivator in going back to school. Be on the lookout for any opportunities that can bolster your resume or expand your business network as you immerse yourself in your program.
For example, it may mean that you team with a professor on a research project—and hopefully, add your name among the authors. Or, it could mean presenting a paper at a conference related to your prospective industry. Take on the added work to stand out or make a positive impression.

All these stretch projects can help when you ultimately begin looking for employment with your newly minted degree.

How to Hold Down Your Job While Attending College?

If you intend to straddle the demands of both work and school—which is the usual scenario for adults earning a college degree—you will need to do some careful planning. Recognize that as an adult learner it may take you longer to complete some of the assignments. You will have to organize your schedule to find the time to study.

First, determine whether you can cut back to part-time work and go to school full-time. If you can make happen, you will be able to finish your degree more quickly.

But if you need to maintain a full-time job, find out in advance the minimum course load for enrollment. While part-time enrollment can make your work life more manageable, it may not allow you to be eligible for financial aid.

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It is best to tell your coworkers and boss that you are going back to school—unless it is your intention to switch careers. This will show them that you have the drive to better yourself. When they know what you are juggling, they may be more understanding when you have to leave work early to take an exam.

Some employers have tuition-reimbursement programs to help with paying for the cost. Check with Human Resources to find out if your company offers any reimbursement for attending college.

It Is Never Too Late to Pursue More Education

The attitude that someone could be too old for college is outdated. Fortunately, students attending college in their later years are dispelling these old assertions.

Unlike some students in their early 20s, older students know what they are after, and are better focused on attaining it. If you are an older student, it is more likely than not that you are on a mission and no one can dissuade you.

You are never too old to create a life you love.

More Tips to Help You Go Back to School

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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Vicky Oliver

Author of 6 best-selling books on job-hunting and job interview questions, business etiquette, frugalista style, advertising, and office politics.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2021

How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

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How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

Doesn’t matter whether it’s a 9 to 5 job or you work in shifts; is it a satisfactory job?

Ain’t you tired of the monotony or should I ask:

Did you ever feel like quitting your unfulfilling job or changing your unfulfilling career?

Realizing your materialistic needs is important but do you love your means to earn bread?

Too many questions… I’m sure you want to answer none.

But don’t worry, most people are on the same leaky boat!

Wondering what’s wrong?

As a teenager, you dream; you aspire. You are exuberant enough to chase those crazy dreams.

But as you grow older, the zeal seems to fade away. That drop-down in intensity level sets a foundation for a compromise.

You don’t persist with even one dream.

What’s worse, you give different names to your choice to back out. You blame people and situations as per your convenience.

Alas! those vivid dreams lose to your sub-conscious mind.

But before you get disheartened, here’s an interesting fact:

The real Col. Sanders was an entrepreneur who didn’t become a professional chef until he was 40, didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62, and didn’t become an icon until after he sold his company at 75.[1]

So yes, though it’s tough to quit your tiring job; it’s easier than you think.

And when you have realized your existing job is not leading to happiness, it’s time to change!

Desperate for super easy solutions?

Here’s a list of 19 simple actionable steps to quit your unfulfilling job and follow your aspiring career:

1. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

One big reason you are compromising today is your repulsion to challenge the boundaries of your comfort zone. You don’t want to raise the bar.

You move on subconsciously making emotional adjustments and self-harming sacrifices.

Not anymore; it’s time to challenge it!

The clock is ticking and you need to flow with time. That is how you welcome the new. It is one of the major steps in breaking the monotony of an unsatisfactory job.

Not sure about stepping out of your comfort zone still? Read this article: Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

2. Get Rid of the Memories from Your Existing Job

Most of the times, it is your past which doesn’t allow you to liberate yourself in the present. Your memories from the current job are dominant over your memories you want to create.

Come on! You are stronger than you think. You need to detach yourself from those sweet-sour memories. Only then, you could take a big leap towards self-realization.

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Here’s the deal:

A beautiful future awaits you where every moment is so blissful you’ll not recall the past to trigger a memory.

Learn how to let go of the past: 7 Ways To Let Go Of The Past And Live A Happy Life

3. Listen to Your Gut

The problem is everyone has access to the locker of your right-wrong beliefs, but not you. You listen to everyone and lose your conscious decision.

Why don’t you back yourself?

If you don’t love what you are doing and you want to quit your unfulfilling job, QUIT.

Why do you restrict yourself?

Only you have the answers to your uncertainties. Stop seeking answers from others. Ask yourself receptively. You’ll unlock all the mysteries about yourself.

Here’s some advice for you: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice

4. Get Excited to Fail

Sounds silly? It’s not:

Success is an elusive mask covering many lifeless faces of failures.

In case you don’t know, if Thomas Edison hadn’t failed, he might not have become America’s most well-known and prolific innovator.[2] And there are even more examples like this: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

The pursuit of your dream career is full of struggles and failures. And unless you are ready to fail many times, you are ineligible to succeed.

Only if you settle with your current job which is unsatisfying will you be a real failure. The excitement to fail on the other side is unmatched. Worth a shot!

5. Disallow Social Environment to Control You

If there were no cameras, every soul would tell an interesting story.[3]

I’m sorry but your social environment is bullying you. You have become a puppet to people.

People define your journeys and destinations, and you are losing big time.

Wake up call!

Cut the chord with your social environment which is not only polluting your personal but also your professional environment: Managing Your Social Network Addiction

6. Do Not over Analyze, Execute

Intelligent people are particularly prone to the overthinking that can cause analysis paralysis and lead to a failure to make decisions or take action.[4]

Yes, you are intelligent but you need to be smarter! Never allow your intelligence to become a hindrance in quitting your unfulfilling job.

Thinking and planning are important aspects of a visionary, but never allow overthinking to take a toll on the execution.

Take small steps rather than thinking about giant leaps. Divide your goal into small targets; make sure you achieve them.

Here’s how: Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today

7. Make Your Family a Part of Your Dream

If you are fortunate enough to live with your family, you owe responsibilities towards them. After all, they are your father, mother, siblings, life-partner.

Maybe your dream career is something they haven’t heard about, but relax. Don’t expect magic overnight!

Be courageous enough to make them understand why you want to quit your unsatisfactory job.

You may fail big time but don’t lose hope. This is the absolute test of your endurance.

When you convince them, you don’t have to search for a support system in your failures. And a few applauds from them in your small wins keep you up and running.

8. Spend Time with Like-Minded People

To challenge the now and dive into the new, I’m afraid you’ll not find many people standing by your side.

But that’s fine!

Keep a close watch on people with whom you spend your precious time.

What you need to ask yourself:

Are these people your motivators or the ones who constantly try to put you down?

When you get an answer, trust it and go with the flow. You may lose people but you’ll discover yourself.

9. Prioritize Inner Happiness over Monetary Happiness

Possibly, there’s a big fat cheque between your unsatisfactory job and your aspiration. The choice is difficult!

You’ll agree money is not everything but the first thing to be happy. But if your job is not reviving and is killing your happiness, what are you waiting for?

Maybe your dream career isn’t as materialistically rich as your current job, but assuredly, it’ll make you spiritually content.

You have found out what will make you happy, so just go out there and get it: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

10. Learn to Say No

‘No’ is just a two-letter word, ever measured its intensity?

It is loud enough to make you a warrior. However, we don’t use it often.

Being on the receiving end of a no can be brutal, but saying yes to everything isn’t going to make up for that.[5]

Learn this art to quit your unfulfilling job! Not only with others but use it often with yourself. Any denial or a small sacrifice for your own good is a gateway to self-love. It boosts your self-esteem to disallow the negative influences to entice you. You find reasons to listen to yourself.

Leo Babauta has some suggestions on this: The Gentle Art of Saying No

11. Accompany Yourself in Your Alone Time

You encounter many moments in your daily life when there is no one around. What do you do in that alone time?

Either you retreat to the past or you drive to the future. What you don’t realize is your present requires an introspection.

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This ignorance is making you incomplete. Neither you are self-aware nor there is a clarity in your thought process.

The secret is when you spend alone time with yourself, your dream becomes your mission, and the inroads make way for beautiful roads. Your journey doesn’t need a navigator. And your questions have answers.

Use your alone time to do some self reflection: How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

12. Feel Fortunate for the Blessing

When most of us are fighting for the necessities of survival; you discovered your dream.

Where most of the people don’t get solitude time, you know what makes you blissful.

Yes… you are fortunate! How could you dump this wonderful opportunity?

There are many people who might replace you in your unfulfilling job. But make sure no one replaces you in the work you do the best.

13. Never Lie to Yourself

Confidence is imperative but if there is no transparency in your thought process, only confidence is a big disaster.

Self-acceptance is supreme in pursuance of your dream career.

You need to acknowledge your current standing and future goals.

You need to be brutally honest to yourself. Only then, there’s a clarity in your thought process.

Don’t blindly run towards your dream’s realization; walk on your aspiration-driven path consciously.

14. Become an Inspiration for Others

Amidst your uncertainties, someone is closely watching your actions and reactions.

Maybe your close friend or your younger sibling, there’s someone relating to you. They are curious about your next move.

But what do they seek from you? They silently urge you to take one brave move to open the floodgate.

Only you can break the shackles of their boring monotony. Because when you execute, they feel happy and liberated like you.

You become their unsung hero!

15. Realize Your Current Job Is Saturating You

Your current job is unsatisfactory. It cannot get worse. It is tiring and boring, it doesn’t release serotonin anymore.

And you know it!

You even know your exploration begins only when you quit your current job. What else can motivate?

Always remember:

You may do well in your existing job but you will create wonders on the other side. Go all in!

16. Segregate Your Dream into a Passionate Movement

You have a dream career in mind. But to follow it, you are not resilient to do what it takes to reach there.

You lose hope quickly!

Look:

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Neither dreaming is enough nor quitting your existing job is easy.

Only your passionate will is powerful enough to withstand the test of time. Let that fire burn inside you until your dream coincides with reality.

17. Pen down the Possible Positives

It’s super easy! But you are probably wondering:

How could such a small step be beneficial in quitting my unsatisfactory job?

Yes, it’s a small step but immensely powerful.

When you list down how quitting your unfulfilling job is a boon, trusting your decision becomes easier.

Any apprehensions at any point flush out when you recall those jotted positives of leading a dream career.

18. Break the Rules

There is no thumb rule or a particular mantra for success. It’s good to have idols. There’s no harm in following them. But what’s wrong is you compare your journey with them.

What you don’t realize is that you may share the same goal but the approach has to be different.

Never kill your originality trying to become like them.

Define your own journey. Never set a rule or a predefined path for success. Break-free!

19. Presume the Worst-Case Situation

Try to question yourself:

What will happen if you quit your unfulfilling job to lead to your dream career?

Is it your financial stability or an emotional dependency you are losing on? Whatever it is, imagining the worst-case scenario enables you to loosen up.

It provokes a nothing-to-lose attitude where there is no fear of anyone and anything. You move forward wholeheartedly with authority and devotion.

Your self-motivation is at cloud nine; you don’t fear the consequences anymore.

I hope any of these actionable techniques revive the feel you were about to lose.

Final Thoughts

You are a blessed soul who knows a couple of things more than most of the people:

Your current job is unfulfilling, and that you have a career-oriented dream.

But knowing about these isn’t enough!

Set yourself free as an individual and dive into the competition where your only competitor is you.

Life is too short to regret! Now when you have tasted the feeling of your chips being down, you deserve the magical feel to be on the other side of the table.

Always remember:

You are wrong only till the time you are struggling. But if you keep moving and taking those hard punches, one day you’ll realize your dream. With you, people realize everything about you were (and are) right!

More Useful Career Advice

Featured photo credit: Leonardo Yip via unsplash.com

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