When adults talk about “going back to school,” usually what they mean is finishing their college degrees. But if you dropped out of high school, or never managed to earn your diploma despite trying, your struggle with going back to school is much different from the average adult student. You may also be experiencing fear or hesitation about attempting to finish something that has lingering feelings of resentment or failure associated with it, based on what happened the first time you tried it.
The hardest part about getting your equivalency is not the school work itself, it’s convincing yourself to sign up for the classes. School can be intimidating even for teenagers; once you’re an adult facing the possibility of going back, you may be plagued with fears of failure, frustration, or perhaps just feeling silly or embarrassed. Your unease may be amplified greatly if not finishing high school is your little secret, if over the years you’ve just been quiet and let your friends or even some family members assume that you graduated. If you go back to classes now, it would be too much of a hassle to try to keep it hidden. People are likely to find out.
The thing is, though, as uncomfortable as you may feel about not having finished school, there is no reason to feel ashamed about wanting to finish it now, and no one who cares about you would ever put you down for that. Making the decision to better your education is something to be proud of, regardless of the level you’re at, and regardless of your age. After all, It’s not like you’re the only person in the world who never finished high school. In fact, if you visit a GED class in your area, you’ll probably be surprised at how varied the students are, from all walks of life and different generations.
If you dropped out of school the first time because you had trouble keeping up with the work, you might worry that things would not be any easier now, especially if you have a lot of other things going on in your life. But GED classes are not as time-consuming and do not take over your whole life like high school does. Usually there is a choice of morning or evening classes to suit your schedule, and it’s often only two days a week. Many places even have a flexible system so you can easily make up a class later in the week if you have a scheduling conflict for a certain day. They know that you are an adult with a life, and that getting your GED is not the only thing you have going on. Of course you do need to do some preparation for your exam, but a lot of that can be done by paying attention during class time and taking good notes when necessary.
Aside from the significant personal pride you will feel at having your certificate, a GED can have a lot of other practical benefits. Many employers are specifically looking for workers with a high school diploma or equivalent, and workers who have that qualification make more money than those who don’t, and as well are significantly less likely to be unemployed. Also, if you are hoping to get an advanced qualification like a bachelor’s degree, the GED will be your first step to getting into college.
There are a lot of things that can happen during your teenage years that can turn your life upside-down, and people who don’t have their high school diplomas may be more common than you think. Don’t look down on yourself; the fact that you have gotten this far without graduating high school is a testament to your resilience and self-sufficiency, and the equivalency diploma will just be the key to unlocking a door that can lead many different places in your life. It doesn’t hurt anything to do a couple of searches on Google and see what’s available in your area, and that information alone may be just the push you need to get yourself motivated.