Getting more education is one of the best things you can do for your career. But, it’s not always easy. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to fight those back-to-school blues.
It can be quite an adjustment to get back into the groove of being a student. This is especially true if you’ve been away from the classroom for a long time, maybe even decades. But, readjusting to the routines of being a student can be a challenge even when you’ve just had a summer break. Thankfully, no matter where you are in your educational journey, there are some great ways to combat those back-to-school blues.
Know that you’ve made an excellent decision
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
First of all, it’s absolutely essential to always keep in mind that you’ve made a great decision here. Returning to school to get more education is one of the best things you can do to improve your career and your life in all kinds of ways. Here are just a few proven advantages of advancing your education:
- Higher career earnings. As data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics definitively shows, more education means higher earnings over the course of your career. In 2017, workers with at least a bachelor’s degree earned more than the $907 median weekly earnings of all workers. Folks with a high school diploma but not college made just $712 in median weekly earnings. Workers with a bachelor’s degree earned $1,173 on average per week. And, those with a master’s made $1,401 per week on average. When you learn more, you earn more.
- More options. Getting a better education isn’t all about making more money. You’ll also have more professional and career options as a result of your decision to return to school. Your education will qualify you to do different things and play new roles within your chosen field. Or, perhaps you’ll begin working in a new field or industry. Whatever the case may be, you’ll have the credentials you need to take on new jobs and new responsibilities as a result of heading back to school. Options are a wonderful thing to have in life. And, education affords you that luxury in a way that nothing else can.
- Better job satisfaction. More education means more options, and it usually adds up to better compensation too. So, it’s not difficult to understand why education is correlated with higher job satisfaction. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2013 found that 56 percent of college graduates reported being “very satisfied” with their jobs. Only 44 percent of folks with a high school diploma or less said the same.
- Better job security. Attaining more education helps to improve job security. A Pew Research Center study from 2016 found that 39 percent of workers with less than a high school diploma (about 4 in 10) say it’s very or fairly likely that they could be laid off within the next 12 months. Only about 7 percent of folks with a bachelor’s degree said the same. Additionally, workers with college degrees are generally less stressed about how automation will impact their job. Only 11 percent of those with at least a bachelor’s degree say it is possible that their job could be lost due to technology. But, 20 percent of workers with a high school diploma or less say they worry they could be replaced.
There are so many awesome benefits that come with getting more education. Knowing that you’ve made a great career choice by opting to head back to school should help you to lift your spirits if you’re feeling down, or maybe overwhelmed, about all you’ve taken on. Remind yourself of the rewards that you’ll enjoy in your future career as a result of the efforts you’re making now.
Tips for beating the back-to-school blues
Heading back to school can be a big adjustment. Even when you know that you’ve made the right choice, it can be difficult to adjust to the scheduling demands and the workload. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to help ease the transition and beat those back-to-school blues.
1. Feel awesome about yourself
Keep in mind that, despite all of the advantages, a lot of people don’t get the schooling that they need in order to pursue their desired career path. You, on the other hand, are doing it. Allow this awesome, impressive and exciting fact to serve as a mood and confidence booster and hold your head high. Know that you made the right choice when you decided to go back to school. That alone should help you to begin to reverse those blues and feel confident and strong.You should feel great about your decision and about yourself.
2. spend some time on organization
Going back to school is challenging on a lot of levels. First of all, it’s a time-management challenge – to say the least. This is especially true when you’re trying to balance school with a full-time job, not to mention a personal and family life. In the same way, heading back to school is also an organizational challenge. How can you best prepare for everything you need to do in a given day? How can you quickly and seamlessly switch between different roles you need to play and tasks you need to accomplish?
It’s not easy to get and stay organized when you’re super busy. But, having all of your ducks in a row, so to speak, will help you to feel more relaxed and on top of things. So, take the time to manage your materials and your space. Clean your desk at work and your office at home if you have one. Commit yourself to a calendar or another organization system and utilize it every single day to set your schedule.
Get organized, and invest time and energy into keeping it up. This is one of the best ways to effectively manage everything you’re juggling. That should go a long way toward helping you to feel more energetic and positive about being back in school.
3. Don’t (just) work hard
There’s a lot to be said for hard work. It’s important to be diligent and invested in the tasks you’re charged with both at work and in school. However, our society emphasizes the importance of “hard work” so much that other essential elements sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
Sure, working hard can help you get ahead. But, so can working joyfully or working creatively. The idea that you have to toil away in order to advance professionally could work against you if you forget these other components.
Focusing on working happily and in an engaged way helps you to enjoy the process and relax into whatever you’re doing. It encourages you to apply your best efforts and abilities to the task at hand. Research has proven that happy workers are more productive, effective, collaborative and more creative. So, if you want to be at your best, don’t just focus on working hard. Instead, prioritize working with joy and passion, no matter what you’re doing. You might get where you’re trying to go even faster than you would otherwise. And, you’ll certainly enjoy the journey more no matter what.
4. Get to know people
Going back to school can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to work it into an already full life. As a result of all this busyness, making new friends might be the last thing on your mind. But, don’t underestimate the value of making new pals. It can make a big difference in your overall enjoyment of your school experience – just like having friends at work helps you to be happier.
It might seem like you’ll get more done, and you’ll get it done faster, if you keep your head down and stay focused on your work as much as possible. But, in order to reap the full benefits and rewards of going back to school, you need to interact with others. Building relationships with other students, and your teachers, will help your learning and your enjoyment of the learning process. And, forging new connections also allows you to expand your professional network. And you never know what kind of opportunities that might lead to further down the road.
5. Take care of yourself
There’s a lot to manage when you’re newly back-to-school. But, there’s no use in getting overwhelmed. Staying on top of things, having a good attitude, and simply putting one foot in front of the other is a better approach. In order to do that, you need to take care of yourself.
Prioritize things like sleep, exercise, and healthy eating when you want to beat those back-to-school blues. And, don’t forget to take breaks once in a while and give yourself a rest. Have fun with friends and family members doing something totally unrelated to work or school once in a while.
Keep in mind that being “ready for class” isn’t just about getting the work done. It’s also about taking care of yourself by eating well, getting enough sleep, and being thoughtful about the topics you’re working on in class. It’s not just about getting through the assigned reading, for example. You’re meant to really engage with it and use your own interest and experience to build your understanding. Taking good care of yourself can be really helpful toward those aims.
Always remember why you made the decision to go back to school. Keeping that motivation close at hand will help you to hold your head high and enjoy the process of achieving your goal. Going back to school certainly isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. But, it’s a great choice.
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