I Quit My Career Job To Go Back To School... WTF
As I approach the end of graduate school a pressing question often comes to mind, what was I thinking? Over the past two years, I have been balancing working full-time, SIMP and my coursework and it is safe to say that I am beyond exhausted! To make matters worse, every week I have to turn down brunch or dinner invitations from my friends to stay home and work on class assignments instead. Many people would say trying to manage being in school, working full-time and SIMP is too much for one person. Well, my friend decided to eliminate one of those stressors, her job. She decided to sacrifice the one thing that many of us depend on for survival for a chance of greater success in the future. Her story goes to show that you are always in control of your destiny.
Everyone meet Sadie
What made you quit your job and further your career?
Education is important, it is the one thing that no one can ever take away from you. I knew I would eventually return to school but after graduating with a BS in Fashion Textile and Technology in 2014 I was eager to return home to be closer to my family and to start my career. After working in fashion corporate offices for a few years, I felt like I hit a roadblock. I was uncomfortable with the unpredictability of my career and the limited credentials I had. This may sound cliché but I knew the time was right to leave my job and start the graduate school application process. I was in my second position after earning my bachelor’s and felt I had enough exposure working in corporate to return to school. I felt confident and empowered by the possibilities that lied ahead of me so I took the leap of faith and turned in my resignation. I haven’t looked back since.
Do you regret your decision? Do you think quitting will slow up your career progression?
Leaving my job and returning to school was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In my opinion it is not possible to “slow up” your career progression. I felt restricted by my degree in Fashion Textile and Technology and by returning to school I now have a wide range of possible career paths. My journey is just that, it’s my personal experience. I am on my own timeline and make a concerted effort not to compare it to anyone else’s. At times I get anxious but it’s important to be patient with yourself. I have to take into consideration that I am a first generation American as both of my parents were born in the Caribbean. I’m swimming in uncharted waters and mapping out an individual path to success as I go. I have to mention that because I know many others are experiencing that same reality. I want them to know that it is completely okay to take detours along the way. We are all in the process of figuring everything out.
One of the biggest challenges with primarily focusing on your degree without the balancing a career?
My full-time program takes up majority of my time but it would be nice to focus on something outside of coursework. My school does a good job of trying to make the program as realistic as possible but not having the combination of real world experience and course learning is challenging. Things move extremely fast in graduate school, trying to retain all the information you are learning can be tough without simultaneous application. Another barrier with being in a full-time program is finances. My weekly schedule can be rigorous, free time feels like an illusion in graduate school and trying to balance a job on top of a demanding full-time program is not feasible. Some of my fellow colleagues do balance having a job and being in the program but they are often burned out because of it.
Any advice for ladies considering this option
Congratulations, making the decision to continue your education is a big deal!
My advice to you would be to do your research. Ideally, you want to be placed at a school with strong ties to your field of study or industry, finding the right match is very important. Consider location, school ranking, cost of tuition and salaries of graduates from the program. I chose my school for specific reasons, mainly ROI, but I have no intentions of staying in the city where my school is located after graduating. This is slightly challenging because many of the connections I am making through school are with professionals in that specific city, but there are ways to make up for that. Be sure to apply for as many scholarships and fellowships as you can find. School is an investment and you want to make sure it will ultimately pay off. Attend events at the schools you are interested in for a chance to speak to current students and alumni. If you are a bit on the shy side like myself, it’s time to be bold and make networking your new best friend. Some advice I received on networking that helped me is to always consider how you can help the other person. Shifting away from your own motives and focusing on the other person will take you very far. Most importantly, be patient with yourself! Going back to school after a long break is no easy task. There are going to be moments when you feel discouraged but those moments will pass. I’m sure you have a strong and compelling reason why you want to go back to school, keep reminding yourself of that reason and it will help carry you through.
Wishing you the best of luck ladies!