The world is always changing, especially the world of adult higher education and mental health. From stay-at-home moms to adults realizing that the professional world requires a degree for almost everything, individuals are choosing to go back to school. Maryville University did a study on adults in higher education (ages 20 and up) and the numbers have increased from 5.7 million students in 1970 to 17.2 million in 2019. With the convenience of online learning, it has been easier than ever to go back to school. However, this does not mean the road is smoothly paved for those returning back to higher education. Maryville University also includes a section on adult higher education and mental health which includes: social anxiety, lack of time, and lack of confidence. Some adults may have had a significant gap between the last time they walked into a classroom, so it is important to address the potential challenges. If you know an adult currently trying to achieve higher education, reach out to support. Ask if they need help with daily tasks around the house or help with pets or children while they can work on assignments. Let them know that you are proud of them!

Positive Impacts

 It is easy to focus on the negatives in higher education; however, what are the positive aspects of adult higher education and mental health? University of Wisconsin covered the three biggest benefits of going back to school as an adult. The obvious reason is more financial security which pulls less stress off his/her shoulders when it comes to financial freedom and debt. Secondly, they reported that graduates end up living a healthier lifestyle. Not only are graduates more likely to have access to health insurance, but they tend to be more physically active. “Exercise rates are higher for bachelor’s degree holders. In 2014, 62% of individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree—versus 40% of high school graduates—reported meeting the federal guidelines for physical activity of at least 2 ½ hours a week of moderate or 1 1/4 hours of intensive aerobic activity.” Are you currently attending school now? Check out this article on how to live a healthy life as a student. Last but not least is fulfillment. The fulfillment of completing that degree and achieving higher education. University of Wisconsin states: “Emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social factors play a huge role in your overall happiness. Those with bachelor’s degrees are more likely to pursue activities that increase one’s quality of life, such as being an engaged citizen.” Students and graduates are also more likely to continue to live an educational life with their family and friends. 

Doing What is Best For You

There are many benefits to being awarded a degree, but it is also important to remember it is a huge time commitment. UNC Greensboro reports that students can spend up to eight hours per week per course. For a Master’s Degree, it can be up to 12 hours per week per course. It is important for adult higher education and mental health that students have services and support to aid them. It can be stressful and overwhelming; however, it is a very rewarding experience. As a stay-at-home mom, I did not think I was going to be able to complete my degree. But I had an amazing support system and professors who went above and beyond. Make your next move and become a BetterYou!