Should I go back to school?

By Pamela Hollington

Photo by O Palsson.

Do you ever wonder how you know the things you know? Is it academic learning that allows you to excel in your professional role? Is it life’s learning that sets you on the right path each day? Is it something you read, saw, heard or were told? How did you accumulate the knowledge that makes you the professional (and the person) you are?

Refresh your curiosity budget

We all know that not all experience comes from formalized education. But we also know that formal education provides a number of great ways to refresh what I call your curiosity budget—the satisfying of questions you didn’t know you wanted to ask, and the acquisition of knowledge and ideas that you might not know when, or even how you’ll apply.

Here are just two benefits to going back to school:

1) Time to ponder

When you're focused on a time-based education program (a two-day workshop, a three-day conference, a four-week course, or a five-month program) you take the time and effort to allocate your attention to the topic of learning. You take yourself out of the ordinary day-to-day routine and give yourself a chance to indulge in something new, with purpose and concentration that aren’t always available to you in your daily work environment.

2) Fresh exposure

In almost every educational environment, you get to meet other people who are pursuing the same interest as you. But, as much as that “common ground” brings you together, classmates often come from different backgrounds, and that fresh exposure is a great way to not only learn new things, but to also see existing ideas and concepts in a new, fresh light.

Go back to school without quitting your job

Today, going back to school doesn’t have to mean quitting your job and giving up your personal and social life for years at a time. You can take advantage of educational programs that are as short as one day, or as long as a few months or years. And, with online opportunities, not only is there an added flexibility of what education you can access, but also when and where you can access it.

Almost every educational experience allows you to open your mind, expand your knowledge and rejuvenate your soul. Don’t get too hung up on what you should or need to take; just take something!

About the author

Pamela Hollington, MBA, is an experienced management consultant and trainer with a strong knowledge of business processes and management issues. She has over 30 years of business experience, including work in the financial, manufacturing, distribution and retail industries, as well as consulting and volunteer engagements in the public, private and non-profit sectors.