Our new weekly advice column Ask Constance answers your questions. If you’d like advice from Constance, contact us.
I’m heading into my last year of college and college has been a struggle along the way. It’s taken me 5 years and there have been a lot of problems. I’m trying to figure out what I can do now to make my transition to the working world less messy. I’m in an in-demand degree field (not really my favorite area but the job prospects are good) and I want to make sure that I don’t keep making the mistakes of the past and set myself up for a better future. If you can think of a problem I’ve had it! My schedule is always screwed up. I can’t get up on time. I’ve failed classes and had to re-take them. I’ve been through a couple of relationships too. All in all, adulthood is not going well. I feel like I’m working really hard to overcome these challenges in school and in my personal life. What do I do?
Sincerely, Struggling College Student
Dear Struggling College Student,
We usually get these letters in may right at the cusp of graduation. I’m glad to be reading yours now! You’re already making a good decision by thinking about this sooner rather than later. College is a tumultuous time in our lives. For most people, it takes place from 18-22. We grow so much during that time and yet, it is a time in our lives when we are making so many choices and decisions that will affect the near-term future. There’s a lot to unpack in your letter. It sounds like you’ve had a tough time and that could be for a couple of reasons. Are you really passionate about this future job? Often, when we’re doing something that we just don’t want to do or aren’t interested in, that can be a huge barrier to getting it done and getting it done well. It might be hard to change course at this stage and it might seem counter-intuitive to make a change. However, you might feel better and find more success if you do change to another program that aligns more with your passions and how you want to be in the world. You might find that many things in your life will fall into place. It will change your whole mood.
Should This professional Go Back to School?
I’m a mid-career professional and I’m considering going back to school. I’m married to a wonderful man and we have a daughter. I lucked out and landed a decent job right before the recession and managed to ride through the recession without too much trouble. But now I’m really thinking about either pursuing graduate school in my field or maybe even doing a BA in my field. I’m not really sure if I should do it. I’m worried how it might affect my family first but I’m also excited to pursue some education that will really get my career off the ground. I don’t think we’re planning on having any more children either. My daughter is in school herself so it seems like it is a good time to do it. What are your thoughts?
Back to school Momma
Dear Back to school,
This is always a tough decision! It does seem like it is a good time to go back to school. The key to making it all work is to look for a program that is perfect for working professionals and that offers flexibility so you can fit your study around your family obligations. You might want to consider scheduling things to make sure that you don’t love important time with your daughter or your husband. Make sure that you have a date night on the calendar and that you have dedicated hours of the day to spend with your daughter. If you can make that calendar work, you should be successful! As to which program you should pick (besides one that is flexible!), professionally, look to where you want your career to go in the next 5-10 years and see what education would be best for you. You can do this momma!