I can feel your angst on this one, but stop beating yourself up. People drop out of college all the time for all kinds of reasons. According to CNBC's article Bill Gates: US college dropout rates are ‘tragic’ as 54.8% of college students do not complete a 4-year degree within six years. There's a lot of debate on this topic, but you can't argue with the numbers. The piece of paper opens doors and pays the bills. In 2016, the unemployment rate for young adults ages 25-34 with a bachelor's or higher degree (5%) was lower than the rate for young adults with some college (10%). And, the median earnings were higher too.
Do you need a college degree?
Let's look at your situation to see if it's worth it. Is a degree required for your desired profession? If so, that's a vote for college. Have you looked for jobs only to be turned down for the ones you wanted because you lacked a college degree? Chalk another one up for academia. Is it possible that the profession that bores the hell out of you has given you transferable skills for the jobs you want, but you haven't been able to connect the dots for hiring managers? Tally one for the other side.
With your hectic schedule and no help, it probably sounds daunting to think about college. But, what if you had a strategy to go to school and get a better job, perhaps before you even graduate? Sound too good to be true? Let Your Office Mom explain how you might approach it.
Take a college course and use it to your advantage
Granted, you don't have a lot of time, right? What if you start slowly and begin working on those 32 credit hours? Begin by figuring out the exact requirements for graduation and how and where you can meet them. Can you receive credit for any work experience, take online courses, or enroll in a fast-track schedule? You'll probably find classes are easier (your smarter and more disciplined now) and scheduling options are more conducive to working adults.
While you take a class or two, you're at an advantage. Working toward your degree is noteworthy! You can shout your new academic standing to the world on LinkedIn, cover letters and resumes and interview when great opportunities arise.
Identify transferable skills and update your resume
Spend some time working on that resume of yours to connect the dots for hiring managers! Focus on your experience and transferable skills. If you need to learn a new skill or broaden your knowledge base, take some initiative to learn on your own. Search sites like Udemy.com. Employers often don't care where you learned your skills, just that you have them. Your experience, skills and college enrollment will help get you in the door for those college degree required, and college degree preferred job postings before you graduate.
You don't have that many hours to finish. So, I say go for it. Just starting in that direction may change your world for the better. Wishing you all the best!
Want More? Related Reading:
Going Back to School in Your 30's is Easier- And More Rewarding- Than You Think written by Tim Baker and published in Thrillist.com.
Back to School: Older Students on the Rise in College Classrooms published in NBCnews.com