Should I quit my job and go back to school?
I’m 30 and I really want to go back to college again (I already have a master’s degree and a good job). Should I quit my job and go back to school or just continue my work?
I agree with some post here that you have to search inside yourself. Nobody (especially people on the internet) knows you, your life story, and your struggle to get here, better than you do. Sometimes it is hard to imagine at this moment whether you would regret not going back to school or not. We simply don’t have the privilege of hindsight which is always 20–20. And sometimes if we wait too long, the opportunity has passed. I think the beauty of life is that we always manage to come out alright and move on, no matter what sort of mess happens in between. I know it sounds cliche, but sometimes you really do have to follow your heart. Everybody goes back to school for all different reasons that justify their pursuit. What are the reasons for you?
Should I quit my job?
I am in a more convoluted situation because I already know I want to go back to school but I don’t want to quit my job until I have an admission offer in hand. FYI, I am in my mid-30s and have been working for over 10 years. Last year, I sent grad applications to 5 universities and I got rejected from all. I knew that my work productivity suffered when I went through the application preparation process. And I also knew that I was not able to devote 100% of my time to research for my ideal programs, polish my CV, clearly articulate the research purpose in my statement, talk to professors of interest, study for the GRE to get 95th percentile score, etc. Isn’t it funny how multitasking works? You try to do everything at once, and therefore you cannot do well at anything!
The only positive outcome from last year was that I still have a job because I didn’t quit. Now I am trying again this year in hope to improve my application, but I am suffering from the same experience. I am not able to fully dedicate myself to the grad application process due to a high workload that drains me completely by the end of work day. And when I am at work, I keep worrying about things I should do to improve my application this time around. I feel that if I want to give it my best shot this year at grad school, I have to do something differently, i.e., quit work. Still struggling with this option because although the time to prepare for an application is now, school will not start until next year in September. That’s a year of not working which doesn’t sit quite well with me at this time… but we’ll see.
Learning is a continuous process… to be done every year of your life in the workplace, every bit as much as in the university or college.
If you want another diploma to frame, to put on your wall, then quitting your job to study again would indeed be a good option. (And I say this seriously… I know there are people who enjoy this, and why not?)
However, for most people, building up the “Work Experience” section of your CV (resume) once you are over 30, is probably more persuasive to a future employer than yet more diplomae in your “Education” section.
(The compromise position, of course, is to do both… to study part-time, while still working for your employer.)