I am a 50-year-old woman returning to school, and I have no idea what I would like to study. I have done administrative work for over 30 years, but I’m thinking of venturing into a new career, or maybe even acquiring a degree that would allow me to have my own business.
— Y. Moore, Via the Internet
Congratulations on taking the first step toward the next chapter in your life. Age should never be a deterrent to goals and ambitions. In fact, older (or nontraditional) students are often more focused, more disciplined, and more engaged in the learning process. Don’t feel pressured to know exactly what you want to do. Take your freshman year to explore career possibilities by taking elective courses and by meeting with diverse members of the faculty.
As much as you’d like to find a lucrative job, your primary focus should be on finding one you will enjoy. Don’t feel as if you have to make these decisions on your own or all at once. Take a former boss to lunch and ask for advice. Reach out to colleagues you’ve admired and let them know about your aspirations. This time provides an opportunity to re-establish networking links that you may need when you graduate.
Reference books to consider: From Day One: CEO Advice to Launch an Extraordinary Career by William J. White (Prentice Hall; $22.99) and One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success by Marci Alboher (Warner Business Books; $14.99).