Why I’m Going Back to School

Guest Post by Gary Hansen of Pounding the Pavement

I’ll be honest with you: my favorite parts about my time within the hallowed halls of academia had very little to do with actually attending classes, taking notes, or pulling all-nighters cramming for exams. It might come as news to the overachievers out there, but for me and many other undergrads out there, the actual “formal education” thing was a necessary evil that allowed me the opportunity to enjoy the things that, at the time, I felt that college was really meant for. Don’t get me wrong, I was decent student. I did alright for myself, but I definitely had extra-curricular priorities during my five year tenure as an undergrad.

So it was not a natural decision when I began to think about going to graduate school while working full time. This would be like school without all the fun, social parts. But as I think seriously about furthering my career and preparing myself for success, this idea has been persistently hard to ignore. I’ve spent time weighing the pros and cons of committing my time and a large portion of my finances towards continuing my education, and when it comes down to it, I think it’s worth it. Here are a few of the reasons I’ve decided to take a risk on grad school.

I’ll Have a Better Resume:

This is perhaps one of the most obvious things to consider. More people are heading to college after high school, which means more people with whom you will be competing for jobs will also have the bachelor’s degree you have. Certain industries are more competitive than others, so you don’t necessarily need to get a master’s degree to get ahead, even a part-time certificate program can help you stand out from the other applicants in your field.

I’ll Be Better Equipped:

Our world is rapidly changing. Advancements in technologies and methodologies are being made all the time. The things you learned in school 10/15/20 years ago may be obsolete soon (if they aren’t already). Going back to school affords you the opportunity to get caught up on the cutting edge of your field. If you’re already in a career, the insights you learn from furthering your education could make you an even more valuable asset to your employer (so much so that they may even be willing to help with some of the costs – don’t forget to ask).

I’ll Be a Life-long Learner:

Remember how after a summer off from school, it would always take a few weeks to get back into the rhythm of having your mind stretched with new concepts and ideas? Being a student engages your mind to think critically, and it reminds you that you don’t have all the answers. Being a life-long learner is a healthy approach in work and in life, and that doesn’t have to come strictly from a classroom setting. However, going back to school is one way to get you back into the groove of exploring and evaluating new things.

Going back to school is not for everyone. Depending on your career goals and current life situation, pursuing further education may not make a lot of sense for you at this time. These are a few of the things that made sense for me, and I’m finding that despite the cost and time, I’ll be receiving a good return on my investment.

What about you? What are some of the factors that have swayed your decision making for or against going back to school? Join the conversation in the comments section and weigh in with your insights.

Gary Hansen is a guest blogger for the up-and-coming career blog, Pounding the Pavement. He has every intention to finish his Masters degree sometime this decade, but in his free time, he tackles topics related to technical schools for Guide to Career Education.