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The Benefits of Pursuing a Graduate Degree Now Instead of Later —And Why As a Mom You Shouldn't Wait

By Lana Whitehead on March 7, 2018

Graduate School Resources


What mom hasn’t experienced the gut-wrenching moment when their child dashes ahead of them into the parking lot or street? You rush after your kid, yelling at them to slow down and wait for you. When you finally catch up, your heart is racing and you firmly repeat the lesson about holding onto your hand, looking both ways, and above all, waiting.

Parents spend a lot of time teaching their children how to wait. Kids have to learn to wait their turn, wait for meals, wait for parents to finish conversations, and wait for holidays and birthdays to arrive. Kids are restless, quick-moving creatures, and teaching them patience takes years of effort.

But parents also have to teach their kids to move quickly when life offers opportunities. One of the best ways parents can teach this to their children is by not waiting to pursue their own dreams. The world needs moms who teach their kids how to be patient, but it also needs moms who invest in their own growth and take advantage of things like graduate education.

If you’re a mother who has thought about going back to grad school, here are some strong practical and personal reasons to stop waiting and start acting on your dream of a graduate degree.

Practical reasons to go back to grad school now

Put flexibility back in your monthly budget.

Going back to grad school as soon as possible is a prudent financial decision. People who earn master’s degrees earn an average of $12,000 more a year than those with bachelor’s degrees. Going back to school now instead of at some undetermined point in the future can mean many more years of a bigger income for you and your family.

Find a job in an industry you love.

Many men and women find themselves stuck in careers that don’t work well for their family or that they don’t enjoy. One of the best ways to transition into a new type of role is to go back to school for specialized study in your new field of interest. Many master’s degrees are designed to serve as a gateway to new skill sets and credentials and to prepare students for specific career moves.

Give yourself the opportunity to move up in the world.

If you’ve been working in the same industry for a while, it can be easy to get comfortable in your role and stop pushing yourself to learn new things. However, if you’re at all interested in advancement opportunities, getting a graduate degree is a great way to make sure you’re challenging yourself and it makes you more eligible for promotion. A graduate degree often serves as the differentiator between a committed professional with specialized skills and the replaceable worker.

Personal reasons to go back to grad school now

Invest in your personal growth.

If you are looking for a new challenge, wanting a promotion, or are dissatisfied with the work you do now, grad school is the chance to pursue the job of your dreams and find a career that you love. For mothers who are worried about balancing life as a mother, as a professional, and as a student, realize that your children will always need you and that there are many ways to make the time in school work for you and your family. Even if the time in school is difficult, your whole network will be grateful over the years ahead that you invested in your own growth.

Serve as a role model for your children.

Research indicates that the education levels of parents can have a big impact on children in the home. Children are more likely to absorb an appreciation for learning and to develop aspirations for education themselves when they see their parents making an effort to get an education. When you got back to grad school as a mother, you show your children that education and self-improvement are life-long priorities and serve as an important role model for them.

Education for its own sake is valuable.

For some moms, going back to grad school is simply a chance to relish learning and to dive deeper into topics that interest them. While these moms may not be driven by specific financial or professional goals, they are drawn back to school because using their minds makes them happier and more fulfilled. If this describes you, but you’ve hesitated to go back to school out of fear that it’s selfish, then forget those fears! Again, give your children an example of self-care and hard work by tackling the challenge of grad school even if you don’t have a purely “practical” reason to go.

If you are a mother who has put off the thought of graduate school because you’re worried about adding school on top of your work life and your family life, stop waiting and teach your kids by example that they shouldn’t wait to live the life they dream of.

Here are Kent State University, we're passionate about helping women who are mothers thrive and grow intellectually and professionally. If you are looking for more information, check out our resource — Everything Moms Need to Know About Going to Grad School.

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Lana Whitehead
Written by Lana Whitehead

Lana Whitehead is the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and the Director of Graduate Admission at Kent State University. Lana attended Northwestern University and enjoyed a consulting career in Chicago before becoming a stay-at-home mom of six children. After earning her master’s degree from Youngstown State University, Lana embarked on a career in higher education. Lana has held positions in academic support, advising, student services and enrollment management. In her free time, Lana enjoys landscaping, gardening and spending time with family.

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Lana Whitehead on March 7, 2018

What mom hasn’t experienced the gut-wrenching moment when their child dashes ahead of them into the parking lot or street? You rush after your kid, yelling at them to slow down and wait for you....

Reply to Lana Whitehead