I always wanted to go back to school. I made the mistake of stopping over 15 years ago after I received my Associates Degree in Fashion Merchandising. (I foolishly thought it would get me far enough. I was wrong). I even started to go to F.I.T in New York City. I would take the train from New Jersey, lug my books to the campus from Penn Station and explore the streets on my lunch breaks…I felt like an adult! It didn’t last very long though, my train rides started to feel longer and longer and I soon grew tired of roaming Chelsea, it wasn’t as hip and trendy then as it is now.
I then again had the chance to go back to school 6 years ago while living in Florida. I got laid off from my job and was able to go to school for free…what did I do? I chose to get my Cosmetology license. I thought I would rather be in a salon than be in a cubical. I was wrong about that too. I am not saying that I did not enjoy beauty school. It was actually quite fun. I also am forever grateful that I can do my own hair color, wax my own eyebrows and achieve the perfect salon blowout. All very necessary I say and worth the 1200 hours I spent washing mannequin heads and rolling perms. However, years later I still regretted not having my Bachelor’s degree. Fast forward to 2013 and here I am. Registered for online schooling. I was scared, I felt like I did when I was a freshman in high school. I didn’t know what I was in for. I wasn’t even sure if I made the right decision! I read reports on how bad the job market was, how candidates were taking their degrees off of their resumes so they wouldn’t look over qualified… (great). Mindy Kaling’s advice to all the girls reading her book was to go to school-get your bachelor’s degree (Ok!) at a university though, not an online school…oh… (Blow #2). Things were starting to look bleak for me.
Now I was really scared. More like terrified. What if I spent all of this money and it didn’t help me one bit? What if I didn’t get the job I wanted? I would be so disappointed. (So would my husband, who grimaces every time a new semester starts and it’s time to pay). It would have been a waste. Was this the way to further my career? I slept on it, I spoke to my mom, my husband, and got feedback from others who did online schooling. I convinced myself-yes! I decided though, if I was going to go for it- I was going all in. I chose Psychology as my major. Talk about reading words and writing about concepts that I never heard before! Mid term exams and final papers (in APA format no less), these were the very things I was afraid of. I needed to do it though for my career, for my mind and for myself. After a while, you know what? I felt better about myself, I felt…dare I say– smarter? My self-esteem was building. I felt myself speaking out more and even standing taller. I was pushing myself, working my brain. I was choosing staying home and reading over going out and having a good time. I was becoming a nerd…. and you know what? I liked it.
So why did I feel the need to say all of this? Well, maybe there are some women out there that are thinking about taking the “back to school leap”. Stay-at-home-moms that want to get back into the corporate world or women like me who dilly dallied around for I don’t know-say 15 years or so and find themselves stuck in a major rut, career wise and just in general. My advice to them is Go for it. If you don’t have your associate’s degree, get it. If you want your bachelor’s degree, don’t wait another minute and if you are toying with the idea of a master’s degree, well, what is holding you back? Whether you enjoy the classroom setting or the piece and quiet of your home office like I do, there is a perfect scenario for you. Just Do It.
Your brain and your self-esteem will thank you.
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