Should I go back to school this year?
January 2, 2013 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Should I go back to school this year? I know I should be figuring this out myself, but so far I can't...

I'm 27, and I dropped out of college when I was 19 when I got married and had a baby. I'm divorced now and I haven't really had a chance to go back to school until now. However this is also the year I plan to expand my writing business, which is very important to me and will make me a lot busier than I am now. I don't know if I should do one or the other, or try to do both, because I'm scared that my efforts would suffer if I try to do too much. On the other hand, if I put school off another year and next year I am really busy with work, I might end up putting it off another year. I don't know...opinions please?
posted by Cybria to Education (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Serious question: Why do you want to go back to college? What do you expect it to do for you?
posted by jbickers at 8:29 AM on January 2, 2013

College is not an end in itself. It should be a means to an end. Why do you think you need to go to college?

40 years ago I dropped out of college. I never went back, and I never regretted it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:29 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Why go at all? Does your business require it? What about writing do you need to know from college that you can't get from reading and doing?

I say expand the business.
posted by inturnaround at 8:34 AM on January 2, 2013

How well are you doing with your writing business? If this is your main source of support, and you're doing really well with it, then focus your efforts there.

If your writing business isn't your main source of support, just a really engaging hobby, then it might benefit you to go to college, even if you have to scale back on your writing business for awhile.

Another question is: How much will going to college cost you, both in out of pocket expenses, but in missed opportunity of making money?

Another factor is: Will acquiring a college degree allow you to make more money in the future? If so, HOW much more?

Really, this is a math problem.

If not going to college allows you to save the money you would have spent doing so, plus, it allows you to earn money with your writing business. Then clearly, going to college would not be the thing to do.

If going to college is fairly inexpensive in the grand scheme of things, and you will be acquring a degree that you will need to earn a living (such as earning an RN, or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering) that will allow you to greatly improve your standard of living. Then go to college.

So we need more information to help you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:35 AM on January 2, 2013

At your age, I would only go to college if my employer was paying for it, or at least subsidizing it. You're pretty unlikely to earn enough more after a degree to make taking a big loan worth it.

Have you looked into taking something at one of the free college course sites like Coursera instead? They're serious classes, and you could do a practice run for a semester to see how much your writing business suffers from taking a full course load.
posted by empath at 8:39 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go back to school. Without question. Take one class first, and add classes as you feel comfortable. The most worthwhile thing I did was get back in school after already having my four year degree and thinking I was done. As soon as I got back into classes the only regret I had was not having started sooner.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 8:49 AM on January 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't think anyone here has enough information here to advise you. How long do you have left in school, what are you aiming for a degree in, and most imporatntly, how is this being paid for?
posted by DarlingBri at 9:11 AM on January 2, 2013

I am normally pro-going back to school (I did it and I love it!), but you need to go because it will get you further professionally. If you have a business that is really going to be viable, what's your reason for going back?
posted by DoubleLune at 9:15 AM on January 2, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your answers. When I first started school, I was undeclared. I earned ten credits, and now I've decided I want to major in nutrition and minor in English. I'd be going to community college and in California you can get your fees waived if you have low income (which I do right now). It's not absolutely necessary for me to go back to school for my business to be successful. However I do want to be a dietician and having a degree would lend some credibility to my writing when I start writing on nutrition. However, like I said, it's not vital for me to go back to school right now. Maybe I should just take one class this semester like GooseOnTheLoose suggested.
posted by Cybria at 10:21 AM on January 2, 2013

Response by poster: Wow, thanks empath! :)
posted by Cybria at 10:50 AM on January 2, 2013

Best answer: With your update... yes. Do it. You've already figured out that it's something you need to do in order to succeed professionally, so don't put it off. If you're able to enroll this semester (for a community college perhaps you can sign up for classes without being an officially enrolled student? -- for most schools, you'll need to be applying now to start next fall) take one or two classes to get your feet wet and back in the game. That was the hardest thing for me. I'd work on your business at the same time.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:13 AM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I finished undergrad around 30, with a kid and a job and a life. You just reprioritize things. Heck, my mother got her degree in dietetics and became a dietician when she was 40 (dietitian is spelled with 2 "t's" and no "c's" - helpful tip). It's not easy, but it's very temporary. Just be willing to reprioritize and ask for help when you need it. I have had some tough months where keeping people fed and clothed was literally all I could do in terms of housekeeping.

I'm in a great place professionally now, and I never would have gotten here without the degree.
posted by jeoc at 6:40 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great advice, I really appreciate it. I enrolled in class half time (6 units). I think that will leave me enough time to work on my business.
posted by Cybria at 12:17 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

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