Thinking about going back to school

Writing this out makes it more real. I've discussed this with my wife, and I really think that I want to do this. I'd be getting a Masters in Rehab and Mental Health Counseling that would lead to an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) on passing the state exam.

Because I work for a university, I could take some of the classes for free - but only some, and unless some kind of higher ed financing reform bill gets passed (I'm not holding my breath) it would require me to go into deep, deep debt. My wife has expressed a willingness to go into debt for this, however.

Also, the program requires 60 credits and a 600 hour internship. It's not feasible for me to quit my full time job, but I'm also sure they'd work with whatever schedule I needed. The problem is everything else in my life. I have a toddler and a teen that I need to be a parent to. I've committed to working with a group of researchers to moderate a series of online groups. I have PTSD and need a certain amount of down time because of that.

Considering all of that, is this really feasible?

On the other hand, I hate my current job but I'm stuck there. I am passionate about trying to help others with sexual abuse issues and feel like it's what I literally NEED to do with my life. While I dropped out of a different grad school program many, many years ago, I am much better prepared for grad school now. I think this is really want I want to do with my life.

Thoughts? Opinions? Help?
 
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Wendell_R

MyPTSD Pro
I think this is a great idea, and the only question is whether it's feasible right now!

I suggest finding out the longest period you are allowed to spread out your classes. I got my masters at about your age and had no problems keeping up with the youngsters--age teaches efficiency! We had three semesters a year. I could take one class at a time, for three semesters in a row, and then I needed one semester off to keep my sanity. Another factor is whether the classes are online or in person. Online actually is harder to manage the time for, because there are requirements to post fairly often through the week. The in person classes were easier--one three hour lecture a week, and then fit in the reading and homework whenever I wanted to.

Mentally, classes were a two-edged sword. On one hand, there was a lot more to do. On the other hand, focusing on the class of the moment was a lot healthier for me than a lot of what my brain was up to in those days.

I got my masters when we had two children and I was in therapy, so it's possible--just not easy!

Thinking about your situation, I think the online moderation would be the hardest thing to maintain while being at school, especially if you have online classes.
 

Freida

Sponsor
I did my masters while working and it was tough but because I was older my time management skills were way better. Trying to do it while also juggling kids? Yikes!

If you have to do student loans look for the one that forgives the debt if you work for a government agency for 10 years. Sadly I had the wrong kind :(

Weird but my first thought when I read this...(.other than hell ya you would be an awesome therapist!) was about half-pint. Graduate work takes up a tremendous amount of time. Would it be better to wait a year or so to give her time and attention to settle into the family before taking on another commitment?
 

Ellabella44

MyPTSD Pro
I'd say go for it. In the long run both you and your family may be better off when you are done and on to new career. If your wife sees this as a possibility even with the addition of debt then she sees it as worthwhile as well. Hoping all goes well for you. It sounds like where you are meant to be.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
You can do it, like the others are saying, pace yourself, be aware of your self care and don't let others tell you what you need, you know that better than anyone. I did my master's program, with ptsd, as a single mom, with two kids. I only worked part-time so our circumstances are different but it is worth it to go back to school, the sense of accomplishment can do wonders for helping you recognize your value and just think of the people that you could help once you finish.
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
If you have to do student loans look for the one that forgives the debt if you work for a government agency for 10 years.

FYI Do NOT depend on this! You have to have the EXACT right kind of loan and the EXACT right kind of job and even so, something like 95%+ of the people who do it the right way are being denied for loan forgiveness. It’s a MAJOR problem with congressional intervention that still hasn’t solved the problem. Please do your research, as you’ll find quite a few articles that explain this problem.
 

Friday

Moderator
I’ve gone back to school a few times (LIFE :facepalm: ) ...I usually spend 12-18mo grant & scholarship writing before doing so. My average net is about 50k, so not fantastic, but still a significant help. Also great practice in getting back into the swing of things... and gives you some wiggle room in getting little ones set in school & activities, so their routine is really stable & can be counted on as an area of support in all of your lives, before you add in more time away.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
it's what I literally NEED to do with my life
There's your answer, in my opinion. And, I think you'd be great.

Can you check out the graduate program you're considering, to find out how flexible they are? Any chance you could get an assistantship to help pay your way? On the loan thing... A lot of people have had problems with that loan forgiveness program. But, it's gotten a lot of press lately. There's at least a chance they'll fix it so it works.
 

Harmonics

Learning
I'd be getting a Masters in Rehab and Mental Health Counseling that would lead to an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) on passing the state exam.

Also, the program requires 60 credits and a 600 hour internship. It's not feasible for me to quit my full time job, but I'm also sure they'd work with whatever schedule I needed. The problem is everything else in my life. I have a toddler and a teen that I need to be a parent to. I've committed to working with a group of researchers to moderate a series of online groups. I have PTSD and need a certain amount of down time because of that.

Considering all of that, is this really feasible?

Thoughts? Opinions? Help?
I am finishing up my MSW right now doing a 600 hour clinical internship as a therapist. I am also maintaining my full-time job, which works because my employer allows me to be flexible with my hours. It is not easy, but it can be done. And I am an older, returning student. I do make my twice weekly individual therapy a priority because if I don’t take care of myself, I will have nothing left for my clients or anyone else. And yes, my history of abuse helps in this field—but only because I have already done so much work in therapy. I would suggest, if you are going to maintain everything, that you look at doing no more than two classes at a time. Also, if your school offers a hybrid program where some work is online and some is in-seat, that can help with the crazy schedule. Some schools also offer an evening or weekend cohort where your classes longer, but just once a week. That can help too.

The professors I have spoken with say they don’t worry about their older, returning students because they know how to manage life. They have to worry about their young, traditional age students, who do struggle with class schedules, work, and juggling the balance.

Let’s face it, we need more good therapists in this field! Good luck, and I really hope you are able to do this.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I got my Master's while dealing with a relatively new DID diagnosis and PTSD. I also worked full-time. I really liked it because it helped me to maintain some structure and forced me to be organized. My university, though, had a mostly-online option in my field, though, which made it a little easier. That said, we had to plan and develop our whole program, from hiring instructors to creating our own classes and syllabi. It was intense, but I loved it. I seem to function better when I am crazy busy. How about you?

I think it's admirable that you are looking into going back. Even more so since you have kids!
 
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