Many people we talk to are at a crossroads in their working life. They’ve gone as far as they can, or they’re simply bored with the path they are on. Some have decided that postgraduate study would help them to climb the corporate ladder, but just don’t have the time or money to pursue it. No matter what’s stopping you, there are ways forward if you’re committed.
Most research done on the subject confirms that making the decision to study later in life not only helps reinvigorate your career, but your life as well. While further study might be necessary to achieve a desired career transition or next step, it can also help boost your career in other ways by improving your problem solving skills, inspiring the creative side of your brain, and developing your ability to think innovatively. So what’s holding you back?
- Confidence: While learning is a lifelong process that many of us embrace, the thought of formally applying your mind to study brings many people out in a cold sweat. Further study can help you uncover skills and qualities that you had all along, or achieve long held personal goals. The fact is, you may feel out of your comfort zone initially, but most people gain huge amounts of confidence once they begin, and undertaking some form of formal study usually does wonders for your self-esteem in the longer term.
- Mental Capacity: You haven’t studied since high school and don’t think you’ve got what it takes. Research indicates that our brains continue to grow and change in positive ways until we hit our early 30s – the bad news is that after that it does begin to naturally deteriorate. The good news is that research has also proven (time and time again) that by exercising our minds, we can counteract this effect and improve (or even grow) our brain. If you think you don’t have what it takes, think again – start using your brain and your capacity to learn will naturally improve.
- Time: you’re just too busy. If you have a family, there is the added pressure to spend as much time with them as you can, but the options for study these days are endless. If you’re worried about your workload, you can choose to study one subject at a time, or alternatively many institutions offer a wide range of flexible study modes including internal, external, online, intensive and mixed. This means you can fit your study around your other commitments. If you find at any time you’re not coping, or you encounter some unexpected life event, you can usually take leave and pick up where you left off at a later date.
- Cost: once you have been working for a while, and especially once you have a family, there may not be any spare cash to spend on further study. It’s important to think here about the long term impact. Short term pain = long term gain. These gains don’t necessarily have to equate to increased pay but could mean an improvement to your lifestyle or happiness by being able to change careers and work in a role that you enjoy. Many courses don’t require payment upfront, although of course, you will have to pay at some stage, so it helps if you can part pay fees as you go. The government offers various programs including: HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP or VET FEE-HELP to assist in deferring the upfront cost of further study.
- Fear of Failure: often people who study later in life enjoy the process far more than when they were younger, but taking that first step can be difficult. Research indicates that mature age students are highly motivated, have better problem-solving skills, are more independent, and better able to articulate original ideas than their younger peers. This all equates to greater success.
So what are you waiting for? The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be finished. Start today and make a difference to your career and life for tomorrow and beyond.
Would you like help deciding whether or not to undertake some further study from a Career Counsellor? Are you unsure about what direction to pursue? If so, please see our Career Advice and Career Counselling Services.