March 30, 2021

How to Keep Pushing Through College

By B&SC Blog Team

How to Keep Pushing Through College

Focus on how your hard work is opening doors you can’t even see yet

Let’s be honest: If you’re in college, right now is one of the toughest times of the year.

By mid-February, it seems that it’s been cold and gray forever, and it can feel like you’re reading, writing and scrambling to meet deadlines for as long as you can remember. As you rush through the cold between classrooms and jobs and taking care of your family, it’s easy to feel that you’re being dragged along through life. It’s only natural to find yourself thinking: “What am I doing this all for again?” and “How do I keep going?”

We can answer both questions with one word: Options.

You started this journey in order to give yourself more and better career options. Even though it’s stretching you now, your education is opening doors that you and others will be walking through for the rest of your life.

Focusing on the options you’re giving yourself can help pull you through.

The Option to Earn

Students come to college to get on track for a new career. But when you’re struggling to wake up at 5:30 a.m. so that you can read a chapter before making your son breakfast, a few extra dollars in your paycheck years in the future is a lot less compelling than a snooze button.

So instead of focusing on the numbers, focus on what that higher salary can help you do. It can give you the option to live your life in the way you’ve always wanted.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to live in Florida: With the extra income you have, and a career that’s in demand in a lot of places, moving becomes that much easier. It’s the same if you just want to spend more time at home with your family. Because you’re being paid a bit more, you have the option to say no to that last-minute shift on Saturday.

The Option for Satisfaction

Your job will always be an important part of your life. The work you do can either be repetitive and soul-sapping, or it can challenge you and give you a chance to think bigger, engage your creativity and connect meaningfully with others.

The more education you have, the more choices you have to do work that feeds your brain and your soul. Instead of doing paperwork, you have the option of redesigning the process. Instead of directing patients in a hospital, you have the option of treating them.

That ability to choose tasks that suit you better is one reason why Americans who have college degrees report the highest levels of job satisfaction.

Waking up early and spending an hour with your textbook is a choice that will pay off with tens of thousands of hours in a job where you feel more skilled and valued.

The Option to Make a Difference

At the end of the day, all the options that finishing college gives you are about more than just you.

It’s easy to see how greater earnings and more job opportunities will help you put food on the table every day. What’s less obvious, but just as important, is how your career will help your family in the long term.

When you have a career path that slopes upward, you’re more likely to buy a better home in a better school district. Even if your kids are still young (or even if you don’t have any yet), as the years go by, that better school district gives them a better education and sets them up to earn more. And as the decades go by and you build equity in your home, that will serve as a financial resource for you, your kids and maybe even grandkids you haven’t even imagined yet.

That’s just one very concrete example.

Beyond even the impact it has on your family, choosing to get an education lifts up your whole community. Whether you think about it or not, the truth is that there are people in your life who look to you as an example as they try to figure out their lives.

Maybe it’s a co-worker, a cousin or a friend. Maybe it’s someone you don’t even know that well. But they’re measuring themselves by you. When you build your life through education, it’s more likely that they’ll be inspired to follow through and make the same positive choice for themselves.

In every journey there are times when you have to put your head down and focus on getting it all done. Then there are times when you can step back and see how all your hard work has transformed the path ahead. Right now you’ve got your head down. But sooner than you think, you’ll be able to see that you’ve given yourself and your loved ones more options than you thought possible.

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