How often have you heard someone react with a mixture of envy and melancholy upon hearing that somebody else has attained a particular qualification, learned a language, or studied for a new skill? Typically, it is accompanied by a phrase along the lines of, “Oh, I wish I’d done that,” or, “I should have studied for that when I was younger,” or even that wonderful catch-all, “I always regret not having gone to university.”


The truth is that we keep on learning throughout life, and it is never too late to further your education. In fact, 21st-century technology makes it easier than it has ever been to combine academia with the other aspects of day-to-day life.


Is life getting in the way?


Youth is wasted on the young, according to George Bernard Shaw, and he had a point. As we get older, every one of us has moments of thinking how we might have played things differently in our late teens, if we knew what we know now.


But then life gets in the way. A family, mortgage payments, and the all-consuming monster that is work. It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that education is something that happens prior to all these adult considerations muscling in, and to believe that there is no going back. These days, however, that could not be further from the truth.


Online education


If it was a case of having to devote yourself to five hours of lectures every day, along with numerous study periods at a university campus, then for sure, it would make a return to academia something of a complication. You can’t just stop work to go back to being a student, and if you are a homemaker, home won’t make itself while you disappear to rejoin the student lifestyle.


However, in the modern era, there are far more flexible options when it comes to education. There are a vast range of online courses, including Maryville’s online master degree programs that are ideal for those returning to academia after a few years’ break. Courses like this throw open the university doors to those who thought the opportunity for learning was lost forever. As such, distance learning has never been more popular in the US.


What to study?


The beauty of online courses is that there is so much flexibility. You can pick whatever subject you want, tailored to your exact requirements. True, you can also do that with a traditional degree course, but there is a good chance that you would have to travel halfway across the country to find a university that is offering exactly what you are looking for.


Fitted to your schedule


Another aspect of flexibility that appeals when it comes to online learning relates to timing. Most courses allow you to set your own pace and work in the way that suits you. Some people are early risers and like to get a couple of hours study in before the rest of the household wakes. Others are night owls. Or perhaps you prefer to drop the kids at school and then study late morning.Still others work flexible hours, and can devote one day a week to their studies.


Whatever your circumstances, you can fit an online degree course around your own schedule to make it work.


No need to travel


Perhaps the most obvious advantage to distance learning is one that we have not even mentioned yet, and this is the “distance” aspect. No need to travel to a faraway campus, you can work from the comfort of your sofa, or, if you prefer, your favorite coffee shop.


Reduced cost


Let’s be honest, education is not cheap. It could be that you are already focused on saving for the kids’ university tuition without thinking about your own! But here is another advantage of online learning. Without the lectures and other campus-based activities, overheads are vastly reduced, and these savings are passed on to the student. In other words, getting an online degree might not be as expensive as you thought it would be.


Taking the plunge


Make no mistake, getting back into education needs dedication and commitment. You still need to put in the hours, you have to push yourself to do so, and nobody else will do it for you. However, online courses make it practical to turn your dream into a reality. Don’t keep wishing and regretting – after all, it is never too late to further your education.