Going to University after starting a family

eco-summerHaving a family totally changes your priorities, especially in terms of how you ear a living. Sure, there are  the practicalities of fitting your work in around school and childcare, but it also brings up other issues. In my case, I had a job that involved travelling and overnight stays – that was going to be almost impossible with two very young children.

It isn’t just the practicalities, though. Sometimes we realise that our old career had run its course and we’re ready for something new, maybe the economic climate has changed and jobs are harder to find with our skill set (hello recession and credit crunch!) or perhaps the babies arrived early and we hadn’t had time to go to university as we’d hoped.

The good news is that learning really is lifelong these days and you can – and probably must – retrain throughout your working life. There are many online courses which you can study flexibly around your family, even at the university level. If you’re thinking of going to university you may be able to get help with childcare, course costs and travel – see study after having a baby by Money Advice Service for more information.

So what might you study at university? Some mums use it as an opportunity to do what they’ve always wanted to do. Maybe they ‘fell in’ to their old career by accident when they were young and now they want to work in an areas that really matters to them or that they are passionate about. What have you always wanted to do? What interested you as a child? What do people tell you you’re naturally good at? These can all be ways of homing in on a new career.

If you don’t have the time right now to start a whole new career or study, why not talk to people who work in the field that interest you or maybe shadow them for a day? This would enable you to see what the job is really like before you commit to the time and expense involved in a university course.

Finally, a university course doesn’t have to be a three year full-time undergraduate course. If you already have a degree, there are many postgraduate diploma. certificate and masters courses you can study part-time that could launch a whole new career.

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