Many nontraditional students (people going back to school after a break) operate from a base of fear. They are afraid to go back to school and do not want to make even the first step towards their personal goals. How do I know this? Because I was that way.
These people may say to themselves (like I did): “I’m not smart enough,” “It’s been way too long since I’ve been in school,” and “I may as well not even try.”
They also might say: “I will never fit in,” or “I will be a failure.”
Tough questions can come up, too, like “What if this doesn’t work out?” “What if I fail a course?” and “What if I find out what I take in school isn’t for me after all?”
Some nontraditional students just give up before even trying. But they don’t have to. If they can find the courage and self-esteem inside themselves, they CAN succeed and go back to school.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF SUCCEED:
Take just one class to get your feet wet. You can brush up on your study skills, get in good habits, and experience what it is like to be a student again. If you must go full-time back to school, you can always take the minimum amount of hours. Just see how it goes.
BUT WHAT IF YOU GET A GRADE YOU DON’T LIKE?
If this happens, you can always take the class over, or take another class later. It is important not to let the fear of what MIGHT happen stop you from even trying. You CAN conquer this fear. And who knows? You might do very well in your classes.
WHY IS IT WORTHWHILE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL?
You can improve your job prospects, for one thing. That is a very worthwhile goal. You can get a needed diploma, certificate or degree that will make the difference for you in the job market too. You will also learn a lot about yourself. Also, you will increase your self-esteem by going back to school, by proving to yourself and to others that you CAN do it.
WHAT IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT WHAT CLASSES YOU WANT?
Sometimes you can substitute one class for another. If you are taking college courses, you can even take a subject, complete it, and then take another one. In fact, many people do this. Some may discover another subject that they like even better than the first one. This is okay, because it means that they are going to be more excited about school because they have found something even MORE interesting to them. They simply change what classes they take next, if that happens.
People who are completing a professional program or finishing high school can find that going back to school opens up even more choices for them. A better job can require finishing high school, going to trade school, taking further training or going to a college or university.
Also, people might not like the job they have. They want to work at something that makes them feel fulfilled and isn’t just something they do because they HAVE to.
This all relates directly to you – because you also may not like the job you have right now, either. I believe that working at a job you love is not really like work at all – it becomes more like fun. So finding a career that is right for you will make a huge difference to your life.
SOME MORE THINGS TO THINK ABOUT…
Trying something new might not be as hard as you think. Sometimes it just takes courage to get out a rut and try new things. One thing that can get you out of your rut is to be positive in your attitude One way to do this is to tell yourself positive things, like “I CAN do difficult things,” and “I know I am a smart person.”
You can also make that first appointment with the college Financial Aid office (for college courses) or at your local Employment office (for training programs or high school GED courses). You can look up other programs in your city or town or at the library. You can also talk to other nontraditional students who have gone back to school. Who knows? There may be a grant or a special back-to-school program for you that you don’t even know exists. You can’t find out if you never try.
HOW TO THINK AND TALK IN A POSITIVE WAY:
Just telling yourself positive things about yourself and your abilities can improve your self-esteem. You can even look in the mirror and say positive things to yourself. It can really help, especially when you don’t have a lot of people around you that are giving you support. What can you do about these kinds of people? Well, one solution is not to any people who bring you down and are not positive.
Another helpful hint about being positive is to be kind to yourself. You can be your own best friend, and this will help you feel more positive too. If you find yourself saying things to yourself that are negative, try to change those words into positive ones. Be your own encourager and be good to yourself.
If you do these things, you can work through any fear of change that you have. Even though it may be hard for you, you CAN overcome your fears and go back to school if you really want to. Be brave and try it. You might find you like it!
And then you can say, I did it!
FIND OUT MORE:
Here are a couple of websites I like that are helpful to improve self-esteem and courage:
A Self-Esteem Questionnaire.
The Steve Pavlina Site (This website features Steve’s podcasts, which cover many personal development subjects).
Good luck overcoming your fear and increasing your self-esteem! And the very best of luck in your educational journey.