Why You’re Never Too Old To Learn Something New
Posted February 19, 2020, by Jenny
Leaving the studying years behind you and entering the workforce full-time is a momentous milestone in your life. After 13 years of school, plus any further education you undertake, it’s not surprising we are all too keen to leave that part of our lives behind us.
Of course, we don’t know what life will throw at us over the years and can never be sure exactly what direction our career is going to take us on. What happens if we decide to we want a career change in a decade? Or find our skills are now outdated since we have been out of study?
The obvious answer: go back and study some more. But many people feel they reach an age where this isn’t possible. In fact, they consider themselves “too old to study”, and the thought of heading back and joining a class full of teens or 20 something is enough to make them shudder.
The fact is, you are never too old to study! Studying later in life can give your career the boost it needs to head off in an entirely new direction or to get you that overdue promotion in your field. There are so many great reasons to step back into it, and overcoming the stigma is easier than you think.
Making The Decision To Study
The saying goes, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Well, if that dog is eager and keen to learn, you can actually teach them anything! You are never too old to learn. Making the decision to step back into study is often the hardest part. There can be so many things holding you back:
- Childcare commitments
- Fear of sticking out in the classroom
- Worries about fitting in study around work
These are all valid concerns, but with flexible study options these days, there are ways around each of them if you are willing to make the commitment. Many universities offer postgraduate degrees online that you can take part in remotely. This has the added benefits of never needing to enter a classroom, along with being able to log on and learning around other commitments.
Reasons You Should Step Back Into Study
There are so many benefits that come from stepping back into the world of study and advancing your skills in your chosen field, including:
- Great for career changers
It’s never too late to change career paths or build on your learning. Think about it, we make a decision about what we want to do with the rest of our lives at the tender age of 17 or 18, as we step out of school and into further study. It’s no wonder we might decide we need a career change along the way. Perhaps your chosen field isn’t what you thought it would be. Maybe you have found your true passions lie elsewhere. Whatever the reasons, it is definitely never too late to make the change and get on the right path for you.
- Aid In Career Progression
Found yourself in a bit of a dead-end at your job? Perhaps you have climbed the ladder and reached a ceiling that you can’t pass because of your skillset. It can be frustrating to watch those fresh out of university surpassing you in the workplace. Heading back to study will help you break through this barrier and get back on the path of career projection. Study can move you forward and give you a renewed sense of passion for the field you are working in. An added bonus: this often comes with a pay rise as well, which is always welcomed!
- Meet New People
Studying is a great opportunity to meet new people and open you up to new experiences. While you may have a fear of being the oldest in your class, try looking at it on the flipside. Younger people have a whole new perspective to teach you, and you have so much experience you can teach them in return. It’s a two-way street that will open up your mind and give you a completely new outlook on life.
Advantages of Studying as a Mature Aged Student
There are also plenty of advantages that come with heading back to study as a mature-aged student.
You are at a completely different place in life when you decide to head back to university as a mature-aged student, and have the benefits of knowledge and experience on your side. You know what you want, which means you aren’t heading back because it is expected of you, but rather because you want to, and this makes for a much more valuable and committed use of your time.
With age also comes discipline. You have accomplished so much in your career/life/family already and have much more discipline to go back to university, TAFE or College and continue to achieve great things. You have also learnt from any of your past mistakes and managed to move beyond them to get where you are, which gives you much more determination to succeed.
Basically, heading back later in life puts you in control. You know who you are, what you have achieved and what you can achieve, and you have the determination to make that happen. Don’t let anything hold you back from this.
Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. It’s only natural to feel nervous about starting something new. I am sure you didn’t jump into your first job without thinking it through first and taking the leap? You probably didn’t make the decision to have a child (if you have one) without thinking it through and taking the leap? So, naturally, you aren’t going to sign up to a course without thinking it through and also taking that same leap.
What’s holding you back?
There can be so many fears and worries running through your head, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is holding you back from taking that leap and giving it a go. Here are some of the common fears people face when making this big decision in their lives:
“I’m worried I will be the oldest one there”: if that worries you, then opt for an online degree where there are no face-to-face hours. If this isn’t an option for you, rest assured that students at university/college/ TAFE come from all walks of like at different stages in their life. You won’t be alone, you won’t be the first, and you definitely won’t be the last.
“I’m comfortable in my career”: but is it something you can see yourself doing day in day out for the next however many years? If you are considering study in the first place, it’s because there’s a part of you that wants to upskill and maybe even change career paths. Listen to that part of you and make it happen.
“I’m not sure I will enjoy it”: like anything else in life, it is worth taking that leap of faith. After all, you may find you love it. You can always start with a shorter course and dip your toes in the water first. This gives you time to decide if studying is right for you and something you want to pursue further.
Your Career, Your Choice
At the end of the day, it is your career and your choice. Never feel like you are being left behind and your skills are outdated, because there is always the option to return to study and upskill. With the retirement age being pushed back further and further as the years go on, you aren’t going to find yourself alone. Technology is constantly changing, careers are constantly changing and skills that are in demand are constantly changing – study can help with all this.
There are so many advantages that come with studying later in life, it is just about getting past the mental mindset that you are ‘too old’, and opening yourself up to learning new things.
We’ll leave you with these parting words from our mate Henry…
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford