Major Life Change! (For the Better I hope!)

Not too long ago I made a major life decision: I’m going back to school. Full time for the next three years.

It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was one I felt I had to make. My job is going nowhere. I’m overqualified and the work is not exactly what I envisioned doing for the rest of my life.

So I’ll be making the leap into another career where I will use my visually creative skills more often, as opposed to just sneaking in some ‘drawing time’ at lunch. So after much rumination and talking, I’ve decided to pursue Graphic Design.

It’s an intimidating process for various reasons: I’m thirty years old, I’ll have to give up a steady pay cheque in a fairly secure job and will have to look into student loans, not to mention the fact that we’ll have to put off home ownership for at least another three years. Reproducing will also be put on hold (If you can do it than that’s seriously amazing, but I would prefer to not juggle studies and kids), which makes me a bit sad and nervous, as the closer you get to forty, the less likely you are to have a choice on that subject anymore. But if I had to pick between owning a home and having a baby but giving up on self actualization and career satisfaction vs. going off and pursing my passion, I would pick the latter any day of the week!

The past few months have been tough though: My mind has been a sea of regret, drifting back to my early twenties, prodding me with questions like : “Why the heck didn’t you go to art school when you were still living with your parents?” or “Why didn’t you jump into Graphic Design shortly after your Psych undergrad?” All I can answer is that I was and still am interested in Psych, but after realizing that grad school wasn’t for me, I naively thought I could be happy working a clerical job full time and doing creative stuff part time. Finding a well paying (or any type of paying) career in the arts field is also very difficult, so it just didn’t seem very practical at the time. Plus, my twenties were when I met and married Hubby and we had lots of great adventures together, and I also traveled to Scotland and Vancouver, which would have been more difficult financially to do had I been in school at the time.

It wasn’t until semi-recently, that I decided that I should just follow my heart and if I end up broke, then so be it, at least I tried! After reaching the big 3-0, I believe that I now know myself better and what is important to me and having a better career is at the top of that list! The time for daydreaming is over and now it’s time for preparation and work and I am looking forward to it!

How about you readers: Are you happy with your career? Are you considering going back to school?



23 thoughts on “Major Life Change! (For the Better I hope!)

  1. Pie

    Graphic Design, eh? Good luck to you. I’m sure you’ll do really well. It’s really important to follow the heart. Sometimes it takes a while to know what the ‘heart’ is.

    I’ve been in the design/artwork/mac monkey game for a long time with varying degrees of success. I don’t think I’ll be doing it for much longer, but I don’t know what I want to do instead. The only thing I’m sure of is that it must be creative, I must have fun doing it, there must be flexibility, it must have variety, it should empower people and make them happy and obviously pay well. I’m sure the next thing I do (or it could be several things like a portfolio career) will make itself clear to me, but it needs to be soon. I’m a bit impatient that way.

  2. pinklea

    That’s a big decision, but I think you’ll be happier for it – and the poorer part will be only for a while, not forever. Can you imagine living your whole life thinking with regret, “Oh, I wish I would have gone back to school and studied graphic design!” There’s a time and a place for everything, and really, life’s just too short: people should always pursue their passions and dreams, no matter what their age!

  3. Lynn

    This is great news! I think it’s a really good fit for you and well worth the time and money. It must be exciting to have found a new dream to work towards…you’ll be amazing!

  4. Zhu

    I think that’s cool you had the guts to make the decision. This is one thing that drives me crazy in Ottawa: people who have steady jobs are often terrified to change life because of the motto “you don’t give up a permanent position”.

    Well, I’m a firm believer that life is made to be enjoyed and that as long as you know where you are going financially (roughly speaking I mean!), you should follow your true calling.

    I tried to go back to school a couple of years ago but I did it for the wrong reasons: I wanted a Canadian degree because I thought it would make my life easier. Turned out that I had to start everything from the scratch (including taking FRENCH as a second language classes, I kid you not). I took a few classes, got A+ everywhere and was very bored. Well, of course, because I did that degree before in France!

    I can see myself taking classes again in a near future, but I think I’ll keep on working. I need both to balance, work and study.

  5. leashieloo

    I’m hoping to go back to school for a handful classes that I didn’t have a chance to take when I was doing my undergrad. Somewhat for fun, but they would also give me a chance to explore other careers. I’m still a couple years away from this though. Congrats on taking the steps to doing it!

  6. Pauline Post author

    Pie-Thanks and I agree. As for you, have you considered teaching? You could definitely empower people and if you work in a college/university, then you earn more than you would for younger people.

  7. Lone Grey Squirrel

    Congrats on being bold enough to chase your dreams. It will be difficult trying to re-adapt to a student life. In my case, I worked for about 7 years before I went back to do my further studies. Actually, come to think about it, I was about 30 when I did that. All power to you.

  8. kilax

    Good for you! I think it’s awesome you are listening to your heart and doing what it tells you. That takes guts!

    I am not sure if I am happy with my career. But I will stick with it for now.

  9. Pauline Post author

    Thoughtsappear-I’m getting there, slowly but surely.:)
    Zhu-Y’know I’ve heard that whole “You don’t give up a permanent position even if you don’t like it” too and definitely agree with you! It’s one of the not-so great things about Ottawa-the apathy and fear of rocking the boat. But like you, I also believe that life is meant to be enjoyed and following your path.
    That’s nuts about you had to do everything from scratch, even French! If you come from a country like France, your previous education SHOULD count!

  10. Finola

    That is so exciting – good for you!
    I would love to go back and do it all again but I went ahead and now I have the whole house and kids thing going on. Maybe when I’m 50.

  11. Laura Best

    Congrats to you for having the courage to take this big step.

    Many of us spend time with regret over the things we didn’t do, but it is really a useless thing. I believe that every experience we’ve had in life has got us where we are today, and we are exactly where we need to be. My daughter likes to say to me, “Well, Mom, let’s get in our time machines….” Which always makes me laugh, because it’s the truth. We can’t go back, we can only go forward, and that’s an exciting thing. You’ll do great!

    I’m excited for you, Pauline. Thirty? You still have a world of living in front of you. šŸ™‚

  12. Pauline Post author

    Pinklea-You are right! Everyone should do what they want whatever their age! I guess it’s all in your perspective, more than how old you are.:)
    Lynn-Thanks Lynn and yes it is exciting! (and a bit terrifying, but that’s normal)

  13. VioletSky

    Good for you! It is a tough decision – it took me several years to decide I was ready to go back to school full time (also at age 30, but I was 35 by the time I started the 2 year courses fro a RMT) It was not easy, but well worth it.

  14. Pauline Post author

    Lone Grey Squirrel-Hm, you sound like me. (Well for me it will be eight years, but close enough.) Thanks for your words of encouragement! šŸ™‚

  15. Pauline Post author

    Finola-Well they say it’s never too late! When I was doing my undergrad-just as an example-the people in my art history classes ranged from ages 19-80, it was great to see. šŸ™‚

  16. Pauline Post author

    Laura Best-That is true and my past education and experience will prove useful in this area, so I guess I shouldn’t waste time regretting. You and your daughter are very wise. šŸ™‚

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