Is Going Back to School Just Small Thinking?

For some of us (myself included), going back to school would be an absolute nightmare with a side of personal hell. Okay, maybe not that bad but, when totalled up, I’ve done about 8 years of formal post-secondary education and I am so not interested in more of those painful all-nighters, disgusting microwavable dinners, and the epic frustration of not being able to get my life started already.

A couple of years ago I was faced with making a career change, and the very last thing I wanted to do was hit the books again. Not to mention, I really really really wanted to get started making money.

I’m all for more education and I love school but just the thought of another two or four years of stress from writing essays and taking exams makes my young heart start pounding – No thanks.

For others, it’s the only option if a change is going to happen and we have to just bite the bullet…or do we?

Truth is, what seems like the only option may just may be your good friend FEAR running the show.

How so, you ask?

When I was starting my coaching practice, the thing to do was get certified as a coach. But, as I mentioned before, nothing would have made me more miserable than to hit the books again and fork over my day job money to yet another course.

On the other hand, a lot of people put a lot of stock in certificates and it makes me seem ‘more official’ and more trustworthy.   

But then, thankfully, I realized something about the current trend of over educating ourselves.

In most cases – not all – going back to school or taking more courses is simply a way of playing small and staying safe. Taking the course meant I could look the Universe in the face and say I’m taking action towards my dream but at the same time I’m safe from actually having to start anything on my own.

In other words, it was a way to keep me from just starting my business already. I was scared to start again and I was happy to use school as an excuse to stave off reality, which is the opposite message I wanted to give to my future clients.

The other thing I realized is that I’m not alone. It seems like every time I run into an old friend they’re busy taking courses to change careers. Nowadays its a big topic for a lot of people I work with and it does take a bit of consideration, depending on what you really want to do.

It’s still true that some career changes actually do require a certain certification. I am in no way urging alone to become a doctor or lawyer, for example, without the proper education [Yikes!]. In these cases, you’ll want to be sure that you’re ready for a commitment and you’re passionate about the course.

Here’s a quick and cool article about jobs that are worth going back to school for.

10 Careers Worth Going Back to School (Keep in mind these are US numbers).

And if you’re not sure if more school is for you, answer these questions for yourself:

1.  Are you taking this course to get only one specific job or can the skills you learn be applied in a variety of places?

My hunch is that you know what it’s like to put all your eggs in one basket, or you wouldn’t be here now. It’s just good sense to consider having more than one option at the end of all of it.

2.  Are you ready for the cost?

Investing in courses is a financial expense, yes, but it will also cost you emotionally. Are you ready for those late nights and microwaved dinners again? Is your family?

When you look at the big picture, is the cost in the present truly worth it for the return in the future? And don’t forget to look at how long it will be microwavable dinners until you make that investment back and more.

3.  What will you do if you do the course and don’t like it?

This is a tough one but it has to be asked. Try to dig deep and give a specific answer here. Draw out your detailed plan B – sometimes surprising things can reveal themselves here.

4.  Is there anyone who does your dream job without having the credentials you’re looking at?

I’m sure you could find someone. How different is your situation? Do you think having the credentials will make you better at what you want to do? (I personally didn’t). Make sure you’re not leaning on going back to school as a crutch or a way to waste time until you really know what you want. You’ll be more successful with your plan if you’re clear about your WHY.

And if your WHY is big enough, it might be possible to forego the certificate and impress people with your life experience, skills and passion.


If you feel like you should go to school, rather than really wanting to, I hope you do your research.  Not only should you find out about the job you’re in treated in and what kind of credentials are needed, but also research yourself.  Sometimes we have more skills than we think and, with a good resume, you an exploit these for any job you like.

Just know that there is always another way and if going back to school isn’t for you, don’t let that deter you from your dream – there’s always a way if it’s what you really want.

Need to discover your skills and see what you’re made of? Get in touch for personal success coaching at For more information visit

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