Why Go Back to School after 40

I am finally, after six years of studying, going to graduate this May with my PhD in Communication Studies. A lot of my friends are back in school, one friend just got his MBA last December. So, this is for the rest of you, here are some benefits of going back to school.

And…going back to school doesn’t necessarily mean to get a degree, or another degree. Taking cooking classes, or sharpening your presentation skills is a way of going back to school. It’s not the degree, it’s the learning process.

Reasons to go back to school when you’re supposed to be done with yer learnin’:

1. Because you can.

2. Your professors make more sense now than when they did when you were 19.

3. While your BS detector is more acute, you also have more tact.

4. What you learn affects everything and everyone who crosses your path.

5. You set a great example for the children in your life.

6. Your children may pretend to be embarrassed, but secretly they’re proud of you.

7. You meet interesting people and connect to them.

8. Learning always opens new opportunities for you.

9. You become an even more interesting person.

10. You have more things to talk about with people.

11. You become wiser in unexpected ways.

12. You appreciate more things in life.

13. Your self confidence blossoms.

14. You can earn more money.

15. It’s fun….sometimes.

16. You surprise yourself, in a good way.

17. You learn to trust yourself more.

18. You become more self-reliant.

19. An investment in yourself always pays richly.

20. Your studies put other things in your life in a different perspective.

21. You learn more in a shorter time than younger students.

22. You only live once.


3 responses to “Why Go Back to School after 40

  1. All excellent reasons! I’m just finishing my BA in Professional Studies at 42 after 18 long years and a layoff last year. If all goes as planned I will be starting my MS in Communication Studies (public/media) at 43. I’m often older than my professors!

    I find I get MUCH better grades than I did in my 20’s because I have the discipline now to actually do the work. Shoot, after working a 40+ hour week AND going to college, just going to college is a cinch!

    Wanted to ask you more about the PhD in Communications. My background is a bit different (coming from graphic design and cinema) but I wanted to get your opinion on some programs.

    • You’re right about going to college…compared to the contact sport of real life, is a cinch if for those of us who like school. Feel free to email me with questions about any doctoral program in Comm. Not that’s I’m the expert in that but I can share what I know. The real issue is your why: why would you pursue another degree. Take care!

  2. Dear Miss Displaced,

    Thanks for the information you emailed me. I love hearing from my readers!

    To sum up your reasons, would it be accurate to say that:

    You prefer to work teaching graphic design than doing it and you think you will make more money for less hassle by teaching at a junior college?

    That is fine. You can do the math. As far as learning communication, I would suggest that in our super-dynamic field (communication) you can learn more from non-traditional sources at a lower price than what you will learn at the university.

    My suggestion is that you find someone whose career seems to be what you want to do, and ask them/pay them to mentor you for a while

    Take care,

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