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Midlife Career Advice/Analysis

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I'm 26 years old, and I've never attended college. I'm working for a big company that could take me places, yet I still yearn to go to college someday and puruse my passion: Criminal Justice. I feel like I'm at a crossroads on what to do:


A. Enroll in Online College, take a few courses, participate in my employers tuition reimbursement program.

B. Leave my job, apply at a state university, take out loans, and go for a bachelors in CJ, hoping that everything will workout financially.

C. Stay in my job with a positive state of mind, hoping that an opportunity will come along that might change the direction in which I want to move in life, such as a job promotion in a year or so?


My more realistic goal would be to take Path A, although this would be the slower path as I wouldn't be attending college FT. While taking Path B, I could really gain the full experience of college without having to have other focuses or distractions such as a career job. Path C seems like the least realistic as I really want to accomplish something with my life, and even though I'm making money, I just have a sense of unfulfillment in the job that I do.


I read somewhere that the best time to make a career change is between the ages 25-40. Well I'm at the age that's making me start to wonder, what exactly I should do.

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Hi Borashi,


I believe that if we have a passion for something, then we should pursue it. Do you have dependents? Savings? I think you should go for option B if it's possible, or option A if you do have to support others. Option C, no, I wouldn't do that. Before you know it, if you do this, you'll be 40 and wishing you had taken a risk.


Maybe you could see a career's adviser to talk this through? What works for me when I have big life choices is to really think it through, weigh up the pros and cons, talk it through with people, do thorough research, and then - having thought it through properly - I would say take the more demanding option. Saying that, only you can tell which is the 'right' move for you.


I hope you do decide to go for it - anyone who has a passion, I think they owe it to themselves to pursue it as far as they can, whilst not taking ridiculous risks!


Maybe someone in the US can advise you about university there, but all the best no matter what you decide!


Good luck.

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I'll be 28 next month and just did your option "B". I feel crazy for doing it, but I am. My first classes were the other day. I've been out of the college 'loop' for 10 years now.


I plan to get a job soon, hopefully, to fend off some of the college costs and keep my apartment.



I dunno' what to tell you specifically ... but ... option 'B' will hopefully work for me.



Do know though, that dabbling in option 'A' while its possible would be a smart move right now. Free classes because of your companies reimbursement setup could NEVER be a bad thing. Just make sure the credits will transfer to your school of choice if you decide to go for option 'B' and you'll start with a couple classes already taken care of.


Also, talk to wherever about applying life experience to your Gen Ed requirements. ALL of my Gen Ed requirements were waved for me, so I don't have to take Math 101 or English 100 or anything ... I can focus on my core classes and things that sound interesting to me and not bother with garbage Gen Eds.

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Midlife? I hope this isn't midlife... I still feel like a sapling with plenty of opportunities ahead.


Regardless. You KNOW your passion. I think you should definetly go for it. Why wait?


What would stop you at this point: money, fear, family or children?

Write out all the pros and the barriers you see for the various options.


I like the idea of talking to a career adviser to flesh out the details and create a long term strategy for reaching your goals.


I firmly believe that in this day and age, living in an industrial country especially, that it is super important to be flexible. Job security is basically non existent. So casting a wide net and being a lifetime learner makes sense. Most of us will have many many career changes: heck, I've already gone through a few. And that suits me fine. Different goals and passions for different stages in life.


good luck.

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I'm 31 and I did your option "B" 2.5 years ago and went to college full time. I took out loans and I just graduated this past December.


For me, it was a huge risk to switch careers and leave my job to go back to school, but the experience was unforgetable and I do not regret my choice for a second. Just make sure that whatever career path you choose, that you can make decent money and be fairly certain of job security when you get out so that you can pay off student loans and make a comfortable living.


There's something to be said for an older adult student. We tend to do better in school, maybe because we have more life experience behind us, or maybe because we feel we have more riding on our education.


Either way, I took 6 years off after high school and went to college for the first time at 23. The second, 28. Both times were a great experience and if you can pull off option "B", I say go for it.

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