Missing the Boat, Boarding the Boat: How Do I Know if I Should Go Back to School?
Things to Help You Chart New Course
By Katie Llewellyn
As adults, most of us have heard the idiom missing the boat. It indicates that one has failed to take advantage of an opportunity or missed a chance. As we move beyond high school, become more established adults and settle in to “real life” … family, aging parents, juggling full-time work … vision for our lives can potentially give way to drifting.
We may feel we didn’t pursue the right degree, get the right opportunities, or chase a long-held dream. We might wonder when we’ll have financial security or a fulfilling career. We can come to a place where, while there may have once been passion and potential, we wonder if maybe we just missed out.
Fortunately, humans are hardwired to have vision; to hope for better days ahead, for something to fully invest ourselves in. God has put that desire in us. Without vision, according to a wise proverb, we perish. History is loaded with moments where ordinary people, just like us, sometimes felt creeping doubt about their futures. But they understood this, and we must too:
God, who has designed us for vision, is a God of goodness and hope. He specifically addresses this concept in Jeremiah 29:11, where he says “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
So, if you’re concerned that you may have missed the boat when it comes to your vocation, perhaps it’s time to join the many people today who are bravely building margin to earn their college degree as an investment in their dreams and their future.
Some estimates suggest that 40% of the current undergraduate population at American colleges and universities are non-traditional (defined as any student who has dependents, is a single parent, is financially independent, is employed full-time, whose entry to college was delayed by at least one year following high school, or does not have a high school diploma).
Why are so many adults returning to school? There are plenty of reasons. And some may look familiar to you.
- To compete more powerfully in the workplace
- New technology and information require improving and updating your knowledge so that you maintain your competitive edge.
- To take advantage of more accessibility than ever before
- Hello, online programs! Some universities, like Regent, offer many degrees in a mix of both online and on-campus courses to suit both traditional and non-traditional students’ needs.
- To gain knowledge and skills to make a career change
- Earning additional qualifications may allow you to step into a brand-new field and boost your confidence.
- To gain financial opportunities
- Your education can positively impact your earning potential over the course of your career – especially once you reach the master’s graduate level.
These are but a few of the many reasons why pursuing your education may be the launching pad you need to reach your goals. So, even in the presence of obstacles and the reflection that may be required to make a bold move, rest assured that you have not missed your boat.
You have been given a calling.
Psalm 90:17 says “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hand for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.”
God is interested in our careers.
The word “vocation,” often used interchangeably with career, has roots in the Latin word for calling. How do we determine our calling, you ask? The following questions may help you figure that out.
- If money were not an issue, what would you do with your time?
- What do you love to do? What do you hate to do?
- What gives you energy? What drains the life out of you?
- Who are you drawn to help?
- What do you want to experience and learn?
Are you passionate about caring for others? Maybe consider a career in nursing or teaching. Do you have a deep love for creating order and managing a team? A program in business management may be up your alley.
You don’t have to make the decision on your own.
Big decisions require deep personal reflection and seeking out wisdom. James 1:5 says that God generous gives wisdom to all who ask Him. All you have to do is reach out and ask. Taking time to read your Bible, asking God to speak to you, and talking over your options with your family, pastor or a trusted friend are crucial in making the choice to pursue your education.
God will direct your steps.
Psalm 37:23 says, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
If you’re in the doldrums, sitting still and without movement, you can become stagnant and stuck. However, when you take steps in the direction of your future, you make room for God to adjust your sails and direct the course of your life. And he will!
There are real options available!
Online classes and degrees, as well as financial aid plans, are available for many students. They do require self-discipline and new ways of learning, but most universities provide resources such as math and writing labs, a help desk with I.T. professionals, academic and career advisors, success coaches, and faculty mentors to help you navigate new waters.
If you’re interested in moving forward, set up a meeting with a Regent University enrollment counselor to discuss the possibilities that are open to you. They’re ready to pray with you, help you work through options and obstacles, and cheer you on at every step. There is most likely a plan or program just right for you.
As we realize the dreams in our heart, open ourselves up to the wisdom of God, and choose to pursue new steps to support our calling, we can rest in the knowledge that we have NOT missed the boat. We have a Captain ready to help us chart a new course. We just have to get on board.