Women and the Power of a Higher Education

StraighterLine Reports On Women and the Power of a Higher Education

By Beth Dumbauld

Sometimes, a women’s life just doesn’t feel like a box of chocolates. You seem to always know what you’re going to get. A sense of predictability ensues. Your tired job feels just that, tired. Your lingering unemployment feels par for the course. Or perhaps you feel stuck in the quicksand of a life transition; maybe you recently left the military or are going through a divorce. During these times, it’s hard to know how, when or where to move forward.

At some point, the same-old, same-old doesn’t cut it anymore and it’s easy to become vulnerable to the sirens of change, any change. In this state, solutions tend to the extreme, such as obtaining a ridiculously short haircut followed by a fed-up-with-it-all inspired perm. Put down the scissors, unwind the curlers and take a deep breath. It’s time to think strategically.

Ask yourself what you are looking for and need out of life. Would you like, or do you need, a new career? Research the educational requirements that a position in that field requires. Set short-term goals: Which schools offer the courses that meet those requirements? Sign up. Set long-term goals: to which accredited institutions of higher learning can you transfer the college credits you have recently obtained? Find out.

At a gut level, do you feel you just want to be happier? Studies have shown that women are far happier when they purchase an experience rather than a material good.1 Things acquired during times of restlessness tend to bypass usefulness and wind up stuffed somewhere in a closet. The investment in stuff means so little to your future self.

How would it feel to know you can be the change you’re looking for in your life? By investing in the actual experience of yourself through a higher education, you can change your own life and, in turn, your child’s (or future child’s) life as well. Such is the power of pursuing - and obtaining - a higher education.

Forget the Tattoo; Ink your Brain with Knowledge

If you are not mindful, the neon signs of a tattoo parlor can become particularly inviting during a prolonged unsettled period of life. While a tattoo of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding may, in the short run, bring a spike of excitement each time you see the royal crest expanding across your bicep, it will probably have questionable positive effects on your long-term self esteem. However, furthering your education is a proven needle-free way to feel good about yourself today and into the future.

For women, returning to school can be a critical turning point in life. Researchers have linked the following with women returning to school to obtain a higher education2:

  1. A boost to self-image and self-esteem
  2. Increased personal satisfaction
  3. Greater opportunities for the pursuit of goals
  4. More respect from others
  5. More meaning, variety and purpose to their lives
  6. Enhanced social and personal growth and development

These are tremendous personal benefits, yours for the taking. Instead of just think about going back to college, start the process now, and begin pulling yourself out of the doldrums. But go easy on yourself as you do: sometimes working towards a college degree isn’t as challenging in terms of time or money as you’d think; it’s the actual moving out of your comfort zone that can be the challenge.

1 Psychology Today, Buying Happiness, Krakovsky, Marina, June 18, 2009 http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200401/buying-happiness

2 Sloan Work and Family Research Network, Educational Careers, Returning to School and Work-Family Concerns, Hostetler, Andrew, March 2008 http://wfnetwork.bc.edu/encyclopedia_entry.php?id=13171&area=All

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