I started reading when I was two, and it was all uphill from there. Not to humble-brag, but school was always super easy. I mean really easy. So, imagine my shock when I went to university, failed a few classes, and decided to drop out. Now imagine my parents’ shock – I literally jumped out of a moving vehicle after I told them to avoid their reaction. To be clear, I didn’t fail because I couldn’t do the work; I just happened to have my quarter-life crisis a little early and was a strong proponent for instant gratification (aka I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up and I wanted to watch Netflix instead of doing school work).
So 19-year old Maria dropped out of university with *cough* four F’s *cough* on her transcript and found herself a nice 9-5 working at a bank. And it was fine; I used to say, I could’ve worked my entire life at that bank and not been miserable. I didn’t have the weight of school pressing down on me; I didn’t have to feel guilty about procrastinating and I was a lot happier. But I also thought 21 was too young to settle. I started taking night classes, and when that went well, I went back to school full time. And the year I graduated, I made the Dean’s Honour’s list.
Enter 23-year old Maria, all hopped up on graduating and taking a trip to Disney World (legit the highlight of my life). The relief from finally finishing school was amazing. Plus, I was making money again! Free time and money were things I had only dreamed of when I worked three jobs and took a full course load as a student.
And despite all of that, I’ve decided to, yet again, go back to school. Mostly because I’m an idiot.
It’s actually because I’m not super happy with the jobs (and paygrade) available to me at my education level. Plus, I really miss the challenge of school. I miss talking to people about rhetorical theory or the impacts of technology on societal norms (shoutout to social media for all the research material). But all of this has made me curious about how many people return to school, or if it’s just me who enjoys being broke and stressed.
A study conducted by CIRST surveyed Canadian students to see how many returned for more education and why. The subjects were aged 24-26 (Hey, that’s me!) and included “leavers” and graduates (I am also both those things). After being out of school for one year, or two consecutive semesters, 20% of graduates had decided to return for more education, and 30% of leavers had either returned to university or enrolled in college to pursue a vocation. After six years away, an additional 10% of graduates and 20% of leavers had returned, and after 11 years, a total of 45% of graduates and 66% of leavers had decided to go back to school.
The study also found that having parents or relatives with a degree strongly influenced students to return, while having a good job or living with a romantic partner reduced the likelihood. So, if you want to go back to school, turn into your dad, keep your crummy job, and stay single.
Fingers crossed that the third time’s the charm and I’ll be happy with a master’s degree. If not, then I have five years as a Ph.D. student to look forward to!