Degrees: is there a right time?

originally posted as LinkedIn article.

Many years ago, more than I’m going to admit, I was all set to complete my A levels and go to study for my degree at University. Then I met my husband, got married and had my wonderful children. Sound familiar?

But in this day and age we can study at any point in our life and last year I graduated with a First Class Degree in Business Management without even visiting a University. I completed a HNC and CMI Level 5 at my local college, Lakes College, then completed a year and a half online with UCLan who then went on to employ me (which was rather nice of them I thought).

Since then I’ve had many a conversation with people about the advantages and disadvantages of studying later in life while working. I know that if I had studied the same degree at 19 I wouldn’t have got anywhere near as much out of it as I did with my work and life experience behind me. Let’s be honest I wasn’t the most confident 19 year old, I would have completed my degree but the student life would have passed me by completely and I very much doubt I’d have got a First. On the other hand it was undoubtedly harder work because of my increased responsibilities.

For some people though I’m sure 19 is the perfect age to study, without the distractions of a full-time job, a growing family and all the commitments we absorb as we hit our forties. For some people the student life can be as important a part of gaining a degree as the formal studying, and why not? It’s all life experience after all.

So I guess what I’m saying is there’s probably a right time for everyone but it’s very individual. If you’re despairing at the moment because your child won’t go to university & that was your dream for them you may find, as my mother did, that they come round eventually. My mother’s pride was obvious when we travelled to my graduation & I think she felt it was worth the wait.

So what’s your experience? Did you complete a degree when you were younger? Or are you thinking you’d quite like to give it a go now? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.