It happens to the best of us. You’ve received your Bachelor’s degree and now you’re working full time. You find yourself loving your coworkers, getting a paycheck, and attending those social happy hours you’re kind of sort of forced to go to to be the team player. But there’s a catch: you hate the job you’re at after you graduate. It’s okay! It’s normal. It happens to the best of us. But there is something you can do. Go back to grad school.
Sounds crazy, right? But it’s totally doable. If there’s something out there that really catches your interest and you know you would be able to advance your career, go for it. Whether it’s moving up at the job you hate to get a job you love or leaving altogether to move on to a new industry. It’s possible. I did it!
After trying out real estate and hating it, I knew I had to get something going. I was working part time at a staffing company (loved the people I worked with but wasn’t a fan of the job) and wanted to move on to something new. I had attended a brunch with my moms coworkers who were all nurses. After some conversations, one of them suggested I look into informatics. Healthcare and technology. Huh. I never thought about it. I love technology and healthcare. So after doing some extensive research, I looked into programs and signed myself right up for a Master’s program.
I always told myself I’d never go back to grad school but here I was. HA! Jokes on me. As soon as I got accepted into my program I did an even crazier thing. I told my employer I wanted to work full time instead of part time. They were more than okay with it. I told myself that if I go back to school I have to work full time. I didn’t want to be sitting at home when I knew I could be making money. But I knew I also had to be strategic in how I did both simultaneously. I love a good challenge.
So here’s how I did it. Worked full time and went to grad school full time.
- Set a schedule. You can’t get through grad school without it. All of my courses were 4 weeks so I knew I had to stay on top of it. I love Google Calendar. You can book everything on there and you can change colors of anything you put on there. For example, workout classes were purple, anything school related was yellow, social events were blue, etc. It’s a lifesaver. I would set when discussion boards, essays, quizzes, and anything I needed to turn in was due. Then I would also put the class in my calendar too because, you know, attendance is important.
- Learn to work anywhere. I think this was one of the reasons I was able to get through grad school fairly easy. I work really well under pressure and I love deadlines. I would bring my laptop and book with me to work almost everyday and I would do my work for school during my lunch. I would either read a chapter during my 30 minute lunch or take a quiz or write a discussion board. Anything to help take time off of my plate for when I would be tired when I got home. My commute was 45 minutes each way so I would always be tired coming home after working 9 hours. I also went to coffee shops (shoutout to Better Buzz in PB, the best chai in the world) instead of going home sometimes. Then I would say “Okay I have 2 hours here at the coffee shop and then I’ll go home and relax”. I found that being outside of my home environment really made me work more.
- Have a social life. Yes. Have a social life. It will help with the stress of school! Seeing friends and getting out of study mode is a great tool to freshen up your mind. But, you also have to know how to say no as well. If you have a paper that you haven’t started and it’s due in three days but your friends ask you to go out for drinks the day before it’s due, you should probably say no. Easy one. But if you’re on track with all of your work because you’re using that Google Calendar so much to plan, go have a drink and enjoy.
- Look at grad school as a positive. It’s a huge investment. Not only money wise but also an investment in yourself. If you’re having a sleepless night, think about why you’re in grad school. Look at your end goal of where achieving that degree can get you to. It’s stressful, there’s no doubt about that. Especially when you’re working 40-50 hours a week, trying to maintain a social life, getting school work in on time, and anything else life throws at you. But it’s all worth it. I would know. I ended up landing my dream job at a company I had said I wanted to work at when I started the degree before I even finished my program. And I moved to a new city for the job too. The end goal should always be in mind.
Long story short, you can totally do it.