Things I Forgot to Consider Before I Decided to Go Back to School

I’ve never loved school and let’s be honest, not many people do! Luckily, I’ve always been able to maintain a decent average with minimal effort.  I am not what some would call an overachiever, I am just an achiever.

After I graduated high school, I went to college because it is what you do. I was never offered a choice. So I did it. I received my undergrad degree from UL and it only took 6 short years. It is safe to say that I enjoyed all of the extracurriculars that college has to offer. After many changes in majors, and much partying, I graduated!

My husband likes to say lots of people go to school for 6 years, people call them doctors. He’s quite the comedian. *insert eye roll*

You see, my dear husband is a genius and learning comes easy to him. He has not one, but two Master’s degrees. He is what I would call an overachiever.

In the fall of 2017, I decided I wanted to go back to school for a Master’s in Higher Education. I was working full time at the time and enrolled in a hefty 9 hours (3 classes). These classes happened three nights a week, on-campus, and even with the most supportive husband and boss, it was a challenge. I was exhausted. 

We decided to move back to Lafayette in the Spring of 2018 so I got a reprieve from school. When I finally decided to go back this Fall, I knew I wanted to try online classes. Luckily, LSU offers an online Masters in Higher Ed! As my first semester of online classes comes to an end, I have some tidbits of wisdom to share.

Having done both, I much prefer online classes. For all the obvious reasons like doing homework in your underwear, not having to leave your house, and doing it all at your own pace. (My pace is fast.) If all my assignments aren’t done by Tuesday, I am an anxious mess! But if you prefer last-minute submissions, online classes have you covered there too! 

There are some important things to consider when weighing your options for on-campus learning vs online learning.

Support system – I have two kids and a husband. My husband is amazing and held down the fort when I worked all day and then 3 days a week went to campus from 5-9. He is hands down the most supportive person ever! Having people to support you in either direction you choose is so important.

Employment – Are you planning on working while going to school? If so, online might be a better option. Fun fact: Going to school with a full-time job is beyond exhausting. 

Learning style – Some people need to be actively engaged in an in-person environment to learn. Some prefer to go their own pace and digging their heads into a book and banging it out without the need for social interaction. Online learning doesn’t offer the cohort feel that on-campus learning offers.

Money – Always look into the different tuitions. Different programs have different tuition costs and sometimes online is the more affordable option. For me, the cost was generally the same online and in-person so that wasn’t a factor. 

Time – Do you even have the time to go to campus? How far do you live from the school you are interested in attending. Is the hour in traffic one way worth it?

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons. 

Pros:

On-campus: Engaging with others who are studying the same thing as you. The friendships I made when in person on campus can’t be beaten. 

Online: Work from home or Starbucks! It’s great. There is no traffic, no parking, and doing my assignments in my pajamas. 

Cons:

Online: Life happens and sometimes it’s hard to set time aside to focus. (Especially when you homeschool and your husband works from home too!) 

On-campus: It is a lot of commitment to show up in class every week when you have other things going on, like life.

Just know that if you make the decision to go back to school, no matter what you choose, you can do this and you are a badass!

Ali Comeaux
Ali is a homeschooling mama of 2 kiddos, Ella, 10 and Cohen, 9. She and her husband Jansey are originally from Acadiana and have finally returned home after 10 years of living around the world. She graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Child and Family Studies and will be graduating with her Master's in Higher Education from Louisiana State University in June. She is a full-time mom, wife, teacher, maid, chauffeur, and student. She and her family love to travel and do so as often as possible. In her spare time, she enjoys rescuing animals and currently has 2 dogs, 3 cats, a guinea pig, a bird, and a fish. Her hobbies including crafting all of the things, cooking, and binge-watching reality tv late at night.