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When I graduated from college, I thought I was done with education forever. I had written my last paper and taken my last test. It was time for bigger and better things.

Over the next few months I learned a valuable lesson: Education wasn't done with me, yet. In fact, it was just starting to shape my character.

As human beings, we have an innate desire to grow and progress. Education is a major part of that progression. Education doesn't limit itself to K-12 grades and the traditional, four-year college experience. Some of life's most important lessons come from parents, apprenticeships, teamwork, and nearly every other situation in life. But there's no doubt that diplomas and degrees are highly valued in our society.

As Oscar Wilde said, "You can never be overdressed or overeducated." If you are hesitant to go back to school, whether it be to finish high school or pursue a Ph.D., perhaps one of the following reasons will provide the trigger you need to just do it.

1. Career advancement. This is the main reason people choose to go back to school. Some do so to establish more credibility in their field. Others, as a way to break into a new career. According to a New York Times article, those with college degrees have a much easier time finding work, period, and can earn up to twice as much as those without degrees. In this economic climate, not having a degree is a gamble most of us can't afford.

2. Personal growth. Some go back to school because they need something new and meaningful to work toward. School can be an expensive hobby, but even if you have to forgo buying a new car or take out a student loan, the sacrifices are worth it. The skills and intellectual stimulation you get from school stays with you and greatly adds to the person you become. You can't put a price on that.

3. For your children. Study after study has shown that children are more likely to go to college if their parents are university educated. Every parent wants her kids to reach for the stars and be happy. A good education opens up so many doors. If you make school a priority, your kids will notice and education will likely become a high priority for them, as well.

There are dozens of other good reasons to go back to school, but it's usually one of these three that prompts people to just grit their teeth and do it. I have heard many people say they wished they would have done more school, but not once have I heard, "I wish I wouldn't have gotten a degree."

With flexible schooling opportunities like online classrooms becoming more prevalent across the country, it is becoming easier than ever to go back to school, regardless of your age or family situation. The key is to make the decision then make a commitment to do the work necessary to realize your goal. You will be glad you did.



A graduate of Brigham Young University, Angela is a writer and editor. She blogs at I Think, Therefore I Write.
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