Tied to her dead end, going no where job, a struggling mother of three enrolls in an online university, determined to make a better life for herself and her children. Soon, her outlook is much brighter and there is a glimmer of light at the end of her until then dreary tunnel. There was not a visit from a fairy godmother, no lottery windfall, simply the knowledge that education could and would make things better in a matter of time.

Education is the key to freedom for a lot of people- in this tough economy every little edge can make all the difference in the job market. Consider this: a college education can net you a job that pays far more than the job a high school diploma will win you. If you were an employer looking at two fairly equal applicants for a single position, would you chose the college graduate over the non grad? Of course you would not, you would take that extra diploma and pray that the degree is in something useful.

As the world becomes more and more technology based and fast paced, the competition for jobs will grow even fiercer. Soon there will be only the most menial jobs for those who will not go on to college, training in computer programming will be almost mandatory.

But education can mean more than just a better job and a higher paycheck; it can mean higher self esteem and the satisfaction that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. It does not matter when you return to school, or what you study, your brain wants to learn new things all the time. Keeping your mind fit and active is every bit as important as keeping your body healthy. Take a painting class, a cooking class, learn a new language. If you are retired, take the wild, out there class you were afraid to take while you were busy working. If you are still employed, consider a weekend class at a community college in something unrelated to your job- make it something fun for you to unwind. You will learn new things, meet new people and discover how free education can make you feel.

In most cases, you can apply for grants to help pay for your educational goals, and some employers will even reimburse some or all of your tuition if it is at all related to the job. (Check with your Human Resources representative first).

Of course, as with any new plan or idea, there might be opposition, but do not allow anyone to dissuade you from your goals. If your plan is a degree in 17th Century English Literature, then you go right ahead and get that degree! People are always afraid of new things, but that should not stop you in any way. There should be no blocking you- not your age, finances or time. If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make things happen. Education is the key to freedom, so set yourself free, no matter what it takes. Oh, and that struggling mother of three? That would be me.

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