Have you been experiencing a nagging feeling about going back to college? Is it because you're unhappy in your career, or hit a plateau and need something new? Well for me, at least a decade had passed before I began to think quietly to myself about if I should go back to college to pursue a Master's Degree. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from The University of Michigan in 1996, and I thought I was finished with higher education for the remainder of my life. However, after a stressful series of unfulfilling jobs and experiencing several layoffs in a tough job economy, I realized that I needed to build up my resume with additional education to make me a more valuable asset and employee. The job postings that I attempted to apply to desired people with a Master's Degree and several years of professional experience in various fields. The starting salaries on average were at least $10k more than what I was earning at the time, so those positions really seemed attractive to me. Although the job prospects were exciting and I felt that my current work experience and education was good enough, apparently it was not because those positions required applicants to have a Master's Degree. According to the CensusBureau's 2009 Current Population Survey, only 7.9% of the adult population in the United States has a Master's Degree. As exclusive as that number sounds and wanting to be a part of that demographic, it was difficult to contemplate going back to college to get another degree and spend thousands of dollars in doing so, especially after being out of school for so long.
As fate would have it, the trigger that woke me up out of complacency occurred at work one day, in March 2011, when I became disheartened by the work ethic and extreme sales tactics of the company I was working for at the time. I was frustrated with apathetic co-workers, the job, the 110 mile round-trip commute, and the hours. It scared me where my life was at that point. I also became worrisome about the job hopping that was developing on my resume, to no fault of my own - company layoffs and financial woes. Consequently, living in Michigan during the worst recession in my life (2007-to the present), I took jobs to pay the rent while hoping to find a better job. I even thought about moving out of state, but I already spent five years on the East Coast, only to be forced to move back home after the events of 9/11 in my beloved New York City. However, by living in a state hard hit by the recession and suffering from high unemployment rates, that in of itself forced my hand and provided me the motivation to seek a better life professionally, and financially, by making the decision to go back to college.
In the back of my mind, I automatically knew which university to apply to, and what to study for. I pride myself in being a decisive person, so once the seed was planted in my mind, I knew what I had to do. Based on a hobby that I have been active in for the better part of a decade, writing online and participating in social media developments, I knew that the Communications field was the future career for me. I applied to Eastern Michigan University and got accepted and started my program in the Fall of 2011. As of this moment, I am taking 6 credits a semester, and after 5 classes thus far, while working full-time, and actively engaged in my personal social media work, I have a 4.0 GPA. I was meant to be back in college and I could not be more elated and feeling proud! I am scheduled to graduate with a Master's Degree in Communication in the Fall of 2013, and I want to create my own communications based online business, as well as work in the public sector in helping an organization with its communication and marketing needs. I only wish I could have made this decision earlier, but upon reflection, this really is the perfect time to be in school as I know 100% what my goals are, and I am much more mentally and emotionally stable to demonstrate the discipline that working full-time and driving to class at night requires.
It's very easy to tell someone that if I can do it, you can too. If you're reading this and some of what I have shared with you resonates with you on a personal level, and you're in a quandary about what to do with your life and career, then think no further and contact some universities that offer the program you're interested in, talk to a college advisor, and see if it's a match for your lifestyle (or better yet, make it happen), and just go for it. I believe that if you've come this far, why not take just a few more steps to be happier?