Going Back To School At 30: Making A Career Change During A Pandemic

Ashley Lynne

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So, I finally decided that I would go back to school. I want to go into the medical field as a DMS (Diagnostic Medical Sonographer).

Even though I already have a Bachelor's, the industry that I landed in wasn't part of my plan. Then again, plans don't always work out the way we think they should.

When the pandemic first began in January, I was about to start a job at a marketing agency. That fell through when lockdown came and colleagues of mine were being dropped instantly.

A little background about me before I go into how I ended up back in school.

I was born and raised in Northwest Alabama. I graduated from the University of Alabama in 2012 with a Bachelor's in Journalism and Communication Studies. After I graduated, I worked as a caregiver in hospice care.

Looking for work as a journalist wasn't easy. But my degree helped me find work in marketing, which was a very different beast.

I moved to Georgia in 2015 to look for work. My cousin who worked for FOX News had a friend named Dimitri (Mimi) at Georgia Public Broadcasting who could get me in the industry. Before she ever saw my resume, she got me an exciting gig. At the BET Awards.

I was a talent escort for the BET Awards and it was really fun. After I was able to show Mimi that I could work in a high-pressure environment, she gave my resume to the woman who would be my mentor.

Rosemary was a woman who knew social media like second nature. When we met for the interview, she was will to teach me everything she knew about digital marketing. So, I began my career as a social media specialist.

Eventually, I got promoted to the digital content manager. Basically, the gatekeeper and curator of any and all digital content. I enjoyed my job and saw myself moving up the ladder after a while.

But then, Trump got elected. I'm neither liberal nor conservative, yet I have a personal vendetta against Trump. He cut funding from the department of education, Georgia Public Broadcasting is connected to PBS. Once the funding was cut, they let me and several other people go.

Which brings me to where I am now.

For the past 5 years, I have freelanced as a content manager for various companies. It's interesting seeing the different types of industries and how they function. However, this pandemic has made me realize some things:

  • I'm not really passionate about marketing, I would rather be a writer.
  • I enjoyed working in healthcare.
  • The marketing industry is full of snakes and butt kissers.
  • Whenever I create marketing content, it feels like I'm lying to people.
  • I'm never going to make a good income in this field.

On January 4, 2021, I will be going back to school. I'm 30 and I'm going to try this again.

Making the decision to go back to school during the pandemic was not an easy one. But I had to trust my gut on this one. I always believed that everything happened for a reason, even the unpleasant things. When everything shut down and the rejection letters and recanted offers came in, I had enough.

I wanted to go into the health field but didn't want to get a 4-year degree. While I do enjoy helping people, I needed something stable and paid well. So my goals are more realistic. I did my research and found sonography.

Sonographers are the people who use a radar gun to take pictures of your insides. I am specializing in OB/GYN sonography and the market is wide open. By the time I graduate, there will be plenty of jobs in my area.

According to Payscale, the starting rate for entry-level sonographers is $51,000 a year. Meaning, five years into my career, I would be making 60K-65K and certified in another field. This is what a career looks like.

I am really excited about going back to school. More millennials are taking the risk of going back to school. The landscape of the job market is slowly shifting. In fact, both Millennials and Gen Z are rethinking the value of a 4-year degree.

I really wished that an Associate Degree was offed as an option to me. Because of my grades, people kept pushing me to go to a 4-year college. I don't regret it but my life would've been different.

Many people plan on quitting their jobs after the pandemic to look for better opportunities. Living in the city is no longer important to younger generations. People also want jobs that align with their purpose in life.

This finally feels like I'm taking control of my life. I can't wait to see what the future holds for everyone.

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A writer, artist, and spiritualist just making a way for myself.

Atlanta, GA
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