A Lesson in Going Back to School at 30

Remember the days of backpacks and lockers?

Waiting for the school bus, or hoping it would be a snow day?

Playing games at recess, or worrying about whether the teacher was going to check the homework you forgot to finish?

Our experiences at school at a young age are often very similar. But once we grow up and go our own separate ways, life can become very different for each of us.

And that’s because we start to have more control over how we spend our days. Instead of being taught about…well, everything…we can focus on the things that we’re most passionate about. The things that will specifically help us get to the life we want.

The sad thing is, many of us didn’t know what we wanted as well at age 16, or 19, or 25, as we do around the time we turn 30. And that’s ok!

But it does mean that now, once you’re a little older and a bit more informed about yourself, you might be ready to make a transition in your life — and your career!

If that’s something you’ve been considering, then it might just be time to put back on your scholar’s cap and hit the books! But first, take a look at this step-by-step guide to understanding education and employment!

1. Choose a goal first

The biggest part of keeping focused with your education and self-improvement is to have a specific goal to focus on.

It’s not enough to say “I want a better job”, you need to know what that job is.

You can’t just say “I wish my life was different” — you have to decide what things need to change.

A good question to ask yourself is whether you’re looking to make a change because you dislike your current job, or because you dislike your current direction.

It may be the case that you simply don’t mesh well with your current employer, yet still remain interested in your current industry. If that’s the case, you may consider not retraining for a different type of work, but instead looking for a better environment in which to do your work.

If that’s not the case, however, then reflect on yourself to see what new career best suits your own skills and interests. You could work with an Employment Counsellor to talk about your strengths and aptitudes, or take some quizzes to see what sort of profession matches your personality as a start.

Research other jobs, and talk to people who currently do that job to see if they’re really what you imagine them to be. Or consider your hobbies and whether you could make a career out of something you already find fulfilling!

2. Learn what you actually need to learn

At this point in your life, you likely already have a lot of practical work experience that can help you find a new job.

And for that reason, you don’t necessarily need to relearn EVERYTHING about how to handle your new chosen profession. Many of your skills and educational achievements may easily transfer over.

And with that in mind, it’s time to research what you’ll actually need to study in order to make the transition.

Remember to stay focused. Getting a 4-year general bachelor’s degree might not help you nearly as much as a 6-month course that’s specific to your field.

A good way to understand the requirements of your new industry is to review job posts to see what employers are expecting from candidates. Are there any degrees or licences that are an absolute necessity?

There are definitely certain jobs that have strict requirements for you to fill. These include jobs in healthcare, trades, teaching, legal work, social work, and physical wellness. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the education you’ll need — and the time and cost of obtaining it.

3. It’s time to go back to school

Once you’ve figured out what you want, and what it’ll take to get there, it’s time to act!

Education at any level — from a 5-minute explainer video on YouTube, to a complete PhD — can be hard to handle with distractions. So it’s important to not only stay focused, but to remove any obstacles that can interfere with keeping your eyes on the prize.

One of the biggest distractions is financial insecurity during your skill building. Finances can also feel like a barrier to starting a positive change in your life in the first place.

That’s why we have programs to help. Like Second Career.

You can get new skills – for jobs that are already in demand – plus free financial support when you qualify for Second Career.

To qualify you must be laid off and looking to retrain for a better and brighter future.

Talk to ReStart today to get started!

4. Don’t be afraid to be “street smart”

Not all higher education comes from an institute of higher learning.

Many experts got where they are not by simply learning, but by applying their skills to better understand their field.

There are other avenues to supplement your classroom courses out there. From finding a mentor, to volunteering or interning, and more. Never assume that a single program will teach you everything you need to know.

Keep your mind open to the different ways you can learn, as well as the myriad ways you can build the experience you need to be a strong job candidate in a new industry.

The “School of Life” can teach you as much as a brick-and-mortar school — but you have to treat life like a school for it to work!

That means choosing activities that enrich your learning every day, and learning lessons that guide you towards your goal.


While there might be no recess or after-school cartoons, going back to school at 30 can still be a great experience!

It helps you graduate into a new career, and might just be the first step you need to take towards your future.

Belleville Office

Unit 8, 161 Bridge Street W. 
Belleville, ON K8P 1K2

Phone: 613-966-9069
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Fax: 613-966-7357

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Bancroft ON

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