“Is it worth it?” This is the most-asked question after I put in my resignation letter. I’m leaving my job at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to pursue a master’s degree at University of Pittsburgh, and this has raised a lot of conversation at my workplace. Co-workers suddenly approach me to learn about the application process and cost for grad school. Managers randomly stop me to say that this might not be the right decision. I, on the other hand, am very excited to become a full-time student again, and I would like to show you how to make this transition.
Step #1: Have a good reason to get a higher degree
Let’s be real. You are giving up a full-time job (probably with a great salary and benefits) for graduate school, so make sure you put a lot of thought into this. Not only that, you will sacrifice a lot of money and lose time with your family. Ask yourself the following five questions. If you say “yes” to at least four of the five questions, then graduate school is probably worth it.
1. Is a higher degree required for your interested career field, or does it put you in a better position for career advancement?
2. Will a higher degree increase your salary potential in your career field?
3. If you don’t receive financial assistance, are you comfortable accumulating a lot of student loans upon graduation?
4. Is your family (parents, husband, and children) comfortable with you going back to school, and are they willing to support you financially and emotionally?
5. Do you want to learn, to think critically, and to accept the academic challenge?
Step #2: Do your research on graduate programs
You want to study at an institution that off...
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...ears, you must learn to become a student again. I recommend taking free online courses at http://www.openculture.com/ or watching educational seminars at https://www.khanacademy.org/ to become familiar with lectures and get into learning mode. Also, order your textbooks early and read the books before school start. Contact your program advisor to get more tips on how to prepare for school.
Step #9: Submit your resignation letter
This is probably the toughest and most emotional step if you love your job or love your co-workers. You can do it! You most likely have to attend student orientation, and you might want to take a vacation before school starts. I recommend submitting your resignation letter at least three weeks before the first day of school.
I hope these nine steps will help you make the best decision about furthering your career and your education!
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