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Beyond The Books: Writing My Next Chapter

In my mid-forties, I found myself at a career crossroads, wondering how I wanted to spend the last of my pre-retirement years. I know it seems early to be thinking about that, but it was time for me to decide how I wanted to spend my time! I craved freedom and flexibility in pre-retirement, to call my own shots and do work aligned with my values.

My undergraduate psychology degree from the '90s felt a little dated, so I decided to study something contemporary and interesting. I chose a postgraduate certificate in leadership and management. Being a fairly new empty nester, I welcomed the distraction.

As coursework unfolded, I faced the inevitable hurdles of time management and juggling multiple responsibilities. Days blurred into study nights, and weekends became dedicated to hitting the books. Studying gave me focus and purpose. Delving into subjects aligned with my career aspirations and infused purpose into each assignment and lecture. I began to see how I could use these new skills and knowledge for a future career. Imagine starting a new career at almost 50 years of age? I could definitely see it happening!

Approaching the final semester, I felt a mix of anticipation and satisfaction. Completing the last subject marked the culmination of lost weekends, late nights, and unwavering determination. Completing this journey opens doors to new possibilities. 

I've learned that there are no limits to learning and that age is just a number when it comes to pursuing knowledge and goals.  As I prepare to close this chapter, I am excited about writing my next chapter on this midlife journey.

Thinking about returning to study in midlife?

Here are my tips:

Clarify Your Why

Reflect on why you want to return to study. Understanding your motivation—whether it’s career advancement, personal growth, or pursuing a passion—will provide a strong foundation and keep you focused during challenging times. 

Identify Your Goals

Clearly define what you want to achieve with further education. Whether it’s advancing in your current career, changing fields, or exploring a passion, having a clear goal will keep you motivated and focused.

Research Your Options

Look into various programs and courses that align with your goals. Consider the format (online vs. in-person), duration, cost, and the reputation of the institution.

Embrace a Growth Mindset

Believe in your ability to learn and grow, regardless of age. Adopting a growth mindset will help you tackle new challenges with confidence and view setbacks as opportunities for development, not as failures.

Visualise Your Success

Imagine the benefits and positive changes that completing your studies will bring to your life. Visualising your success can boost your motivation and provide a clear picture of the rewards awaiting you, making the effort feel worthwhile.

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