Friday, January 3, 2014

Going back to School and Changing Careers in your 30s

Yesterday was my birthday and my first day of nursing school at Chamberlain College of Nursing in Atlanta. This blog post is important to me on so many levels as I hope to give a little push to those considering a career change or going back to school a little later in life. Like most 18 year olds, I picked my fantasy career and dove head first into a major that catered to that career path. Don't get me wrong, college was the best time of my life.  I have had some great jobs and worked with a lot of amazing people. I got a BA in Journalism from the University of Tennessee and went to grad school in Brooklyn, NY for TV/Media. I worked at NBC, lived in New York City and have had many wonderful experiences in the entertainment field. I got pregnant with my son at 27 and the closer I got to 30, my entire perspective on life changed. For the first time, I was truly happy. I didn't need college parties, tons of "friends" in my life, constant drama, and I no longer felt the need to tolerate fakes and flakes. I was finally growing up! Contentment meant being a good wife and mother, cooking a nice hot meal, enjoying an occasional date night with the hubby, and literally stopping to smell the roses. Instead of waiting all year for summer I made it a point to enjoy the fall, winter, and spring too. While I was learning to appreciate the here and now, I was learning more and more about myself. I think it's safe to say that I was lost until I reached 30. I would never take back any of my experiences or mistakes, but wow, it feels amazing to be found. I always wanted a glamorous job and at 21, I didn't care about anyone but myself. Nursing was never an option and you better believe I would have thought you were crazy if you told me that's what I would end up doing. I started growing up and found extreme pleasure in helping and caring for others. My heart and my need to give back grew bigger and bigger and I constantly entertained the idea of going into nursing. I couldn't let go of all the time and money that I put into my current job title and I let fear stop me from going for it. My fear that I was too old to go back to school and too young to completely let go of my journalism dream. I soon realized that dream disappeared with the 26 year old Rachelle. I hadn't been happy in my career for a very long time and I let denial and fear hold me hostage. One day you wake up and realize that life is short and it's never too late to be happy and make a change. It's hard to leave your comfort zone but whether it be owning a bar, designing a clothing line, being a stay at home mom, living in Europe, or being a nurse, it's time to take that first step. It's not going to be easy to stop caring about what others think, make a ton of changes, and find the confidence inside yourself to believe you can do this! If you are lucky like me, you will have family that supports and encourages this big change. Here goes nothing!

Steps to changing careers or going back to school

1) Make an inspiration board- Surround yourself with inspiring words, quotes, and pictures. Find things that motivate you and look at them everyday. When fear and doubt show up, get to your inspiration board and remember why you wanted this change.

2) Find support- Don't be surprised if some people in your life don't approve of your decision to make a major change. You may even find a few that think you are nuts! Surround yourself with uplifting people who encourage your need for growth. People that love you want you to be happy and will support your decision. Keep these people close; you will need them during your journey.

3) Research, research, research!- Never go into something blind. You may really believe that you would be an amazing teacher but have never been around certain age groups. If you are grossed out by hormones and drama, you may go back to school to be a Kindergarten teacher and stay clear of teenagers. After enough research you may find that teaching really isn't your path and you were meant for something similar instead. No need to waste time and money until you know 100 percent that this is what you want to do. Remember... you are older and wiser now ;) Interview people in your desired field to get a better understanding of a day in their life.

4) Make a Pro and Con list- Make a list of the pros and cons of this major change and make sure that you are still just as excited as you were when the idea came to you.

5) Write out what a day would look once you go back to school or open your own business, etc.. Will your family work with you and your new lifestyle? Will your current job work with your new school schedule? Can you still be active in your kid's life with the new change?

6) Make a list of the colleges, schools, or classes you need to make your career change- find out if you need just a few classes to change careers or do you need to go to a 4 year program? Can you go to a community college and save money or do you need a specialty school?

7) Contact, contact, contact- Contact all the schools you have in mind and talk to as many people as you can... students, teachers, advisors, etc. Visit the schools and start making connections. Make a good impression and establish a name for yourself.

8)Map out all of your financial options- How will you pay to go back to school? Out of pocket? A private bank loan? If you need some sort of financial aid or assistance, the best place to start is FASFA online. Go to and fill out your information even before you apply to a college.

9) Read up on current career information sites-  Money cannot buy happiness but it can put food on the table and pay back those horrible student loans. Is the career you want hiring and what would your salary be in your state? Articles such as Forbes- Top Careers hiring in 2014 will give you the insight on who is hiring and what's hot right now. If your dream career doesn't make the cut, don't let that discourage you. Be aware that you may have to work a lot harder to find work and it may take a little longer, but it will be worth it in the end. Like I always tell myself, nothing wonderful is ever easy! If you are willing to put in the work, you WILL be successful.

10) Sign up for Linkedin and make a page to start connecting with people and build a network that will come in handy later. Better to start building bridges from the start of your journey than trying to remember everyone you crossed paths with later. You never know what people from your past are up to these days. Who knows who might be currently working in your future field and who might be willing to put in a good word for you. Connect with students in your classes and start building a network of colleagues right away. I cannot emphasize how important it is to have an established network when it's time to launch your new career.

11) Sign up at Glassdoor if there are certain companies that you dream of working for, read what current and former employees of that company have to say about interviews, day to day culture, salary, and potential coworkers. It is a great resource for anyone looking to get a step ahead of others when looking for a job.

12) Never give up and remember that everyone in your life will benefit from this change- When you are happy and fufilled everyone around you is affected. Same goes with when you are unfufilled and on the wrong path. If you have children, you might worry that going back to school or work will take away from the time you have with them. What you don't see is that all the time in the world with mom doesn't matter when mom is grouchy, irritable, depressed and not living out her full potential in life. The same goes with friends and family; everyone benefits from a happier you. So go live your dreams and pull out these tips anytime you feel the urge to quit or give up.

Remember Remember Remember why you started in the first place!!!

I had this free printable framed today to stand on my office desk. This is my year baby!! And it can be yours too! Get this printable from Eastcoastcreativeblog and start surrounding yourself with positive vibes!


  1. I absolutely love this, I can identify with what you're going through so much. I had my daughter at 18 and graduated high school at 17, I was going to school full time when I was pregnant, took a semester off when I had her and dove right back in to being a full-time student. I am pre-law major which can be quite difficult and challenging, I still have 5+ years to go since (law school). Law has always been what I wanted to do but now as time goes I've found that there's another career I like even more. So I'm kind of at a crossroads, get my masters and go to law school or switch careers. You should be so proud of what you have accomplished and what you're on the path of accomplishing. Props to you.

    1. Thank you!! Being a mom is the best job in the world!! I see nursing as my second job and I think your heart had already told you what yours should be. Follow your heart mama and everything will fall in to place! Good luck and I would love to hear what you end up doing. =-D XOXO

    2. Thank you so much for your kind words. I truly couldn't agree more. Being a mom is the best, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I will be sure to let you know. I would love to have you guest post on my blog sometime. Please stop by so we can connect some more. We seem to have quite a bit in common. Have a great day doll

  2. Rachelle I'm so happy for you! I added your blog to my reading list on blogger so I can keep up with your posts. Amazing blog! You are a very talented lady! Hope that ths journey is very rewarding to you. Good luck in your nursing career!
    xoxo Kayla

  3. Congratulations Rachelle! I know exactly how you feel. For the longest time Ive wanted to be an Interior Designer and be in the fashion industry. I am teaching ESL now but still have the dream of finishing my Interior Design degree that I started in 2006 in Chicago. The more you fall and get back up and take the next leap of faith, the MORE confidence you gain in yourself and the more faith in God you obtain. Like you, I have always been blessed to have a great support system. I love the fact that you started a blog and wish you the best while in nursing school. I am blogging right now and have several gigs as an editor. Keep em coming. xo

  4. Wow that's huge! Very inspiring words, its amazing how motherhood changes us for the SO much better <3. I love your blog! Your words are so uplifting and you and your family are adorable! Good luck!

    XO Ariel from

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