Going Back to School: Becoming a Student Again after a Break

By Brandon Swenson October 21, 2021

After more than a year of upheaval in nearly every area of our lives, we’re all eager for a sense of normalcy again. And with the fall season upon us, it’s the perfect time to head back to school to better prepare for your future.

But if you’ve been out of the classroom for a little while (or even a long while), you may be wondering whether or not you’re ready to hit the books once again.

At University of Arkansas Grantham, we’re dedicated to helping students find success in school, in their careers, and in their lives. That starts with helping them decide if it’s time to invest in their education and enroll in a postsecondary program.

Here’s what to think about if you’re considering a return to school.


Should I Go Back to School?


There are a lot of reasons you might want to pursue a postsecondary program after an education break. The truth is that earning a degree—or another degree!—can be one of the best ways to advance your career, begin a new path, or meet other professional goals.

That’s especially true given the big changes that industries from health care and technology to retail and financial planning have seen over the past year and a half. With rapid evolution happening all around us, there’s no better time to invest in an education that can help you prepare for what might be ahead.

Ask yourself what your end goals are: Is it a new role? Work in a new industry? A change on your current career track? Are you seeking a specific title, salary, or responsibility? Then work backward to figure out how you can get there. If you haven’t reached your goals yet, it’s likely there’s a piece missing. Is it a skill, certification, or degree?

Going back to school could be the right way to put yourself back in the driver’s seat and make progress toward your professional goals.


Is Now the Right Time?


Deciding to enroll in a postsecondary program is a commitment. Do you have the bandwidth to take it on? Remember that it’s not just the time spent watching lectures or completing assignments, but also studying for exams and participating in discussions. Consider your current work commitments, family responsibilities, and other requirements on your time: How will becoming a student affect these things?

These are important questions to ask! Still, it can’t be denied that the more quickly you begin investing in your education, the more quickly you’re likely to see the benefits of that decision. Starting sooner rather than later can also be a great choice if you want to pursue your program at a slower pace, giving you a little extra time to complete your courses at a speed that works for you.

And if you’re one of the millions of workers whose role has transitioned to remote work or to a hybrid model, this fall can be a great time to take advantage of that newfound flexibility to get back to school. The effects of COVID-19 are still being felt, with event delays and cancellations still occurring—so why not use the extra time to learn something new? There may be no better time than right now.


How Can I Get Started?


Deciding to go back to school starts with a simple yes. But preparing to become a successful student will involve some additional conversations. Discuss your plans with your employer to determine whether they offer tuition reimbursement programs or other benefits that can help you more comfortably go to school while holding down your job.

Talk to your family, friends, and coworkers to let them know about the journey you’re about to embark upon. Ask them for their help in picking up the slack with household responsibilities, respecting your time when you need to hit the books, or offering motivational support when you hit a rough patch.

There are also plenty of details you can begin to get started, from setting up a study space in your home to creating a course calendar and study schedule. Think about all the new skills you’ve picked up over the past year—and how you could put them to use as a student! Working from home instead of in an office, adapting to new digital tools and platforms, multitasking even in chaotic times: these can all help you succeed in the virtual classroom.


How Can I Secure My Success?


If you’ve been out of the routine of school for a semester or two—or even a decade or two—you might be worried about getting back into the swing of things. Going back to school is a big decision, and it requires dedication and time management and a willingness to, well, learn.

If we’ve learned anything over this past year, it’s that there really isn’t anything constant except change. But you don’t have to be unprepared. Earning your degree can help you meet your goals and improve your future.

And luckily, going to UA Grantham means you’ll also have an entire school of dedicated faculty and staff to offer you support starting on day one and continuing well past graduation. We offer flexible 100% online degree programs, not to mention a wide variety of student support services that you can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—no matter what else is going on in the world.

We’ll help you understand your course content with tutoring services, answer your technology questions, provide information about our no-cost laptop to help you do well in a virtual learning environment, and prepare you for tackling the job search with help from our Career Services team. All at affordable tuition rates.

It's natural to think about school as fall rolls around, and today is a great day to take the first step. If you're ready to grow your future, consider furthering your education at UA Grantham. Terms at UA Grantham start monthly which means you don’t have to wait long to start classes.  We’d love to talk to you about how to get started: Contact us today to learn more!

About the Author

Brandon Swenson
Brandon Swenson, communications manager, is on University of Arkansas Grantham’s editorial board. A veteran and college graduate himself, he understands the benefits and intricacies of government education programs, such as veteran education benefits. Brandon earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City toward the end of his nearly two-decade tour in the United States Marine Corps.
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