two women working

It’s time to write your story.

You’ve spent years trying to define who you are as a person. Your job, your family, and your friends all play a part in creating the story of who you are and you depend on that. But, sometimes, you rely too much on others’ character descriptions and find yourself getting lost in the day to day chapters, not stopping to think about how you see yourself.

You’ve thought about your dream career, you might even know what your dream career is and what it takes to get there. But there are bills to pay and others who rely on you, taking a lot of your time. You’re not sure who you are in your own life story anymore.

You’re the hero of your own story and it’s time to write your future, the one you want. That can include going back to school to learn the skills you need to get started in a new career that makes you happy. With superpowers like time management, budgeting skills, and a lot of drive, you can be a back to school hero in no time.

What makes a hero?

sign reading: we can be heroes just for one day

A hero is someone who’s done extraordinary things, such as a mythological figure like Hercules. Hercules had adventures, saved those less fortunate than himself, and defeated monsters that normal humans can only imagine. Being a hero is also doing what you need to do to reach your goals and to make your family proud, despite worrying that you might fail.

You’re someone who is brave enough to realize they need to take big steps to make their world a better place and gets it done. Even if you don’t think of yourself as particularly brave or heroic, you are your own hero for taking a chance to live the life you want and change everything so you can make your family proud.

As you’re gearing up to enroll in a program or getting ready to start your first class, here are five steps that will help you make the most of your journey.

Where does your hero’s journey start?

mug reading: the adventure begins

In movies and literature, a hero doesn’t always know they’re actually a hero. At least, not at the beginning of the story. There’s usually a call to adventure, an opportunity or a lack of opportunity, that motivates the soon-to-be hero to take the first step toward their destiny.

What’s motivating you?

Before you can find the path toward being a hero you need to decide what you want to go after, what you want to chase. Is it a promotion at your current job? An entirely new career? You’re the only one who can decide what will make you happy, so think about what you’ve always dreamt of doing, what’s calling you to make a change in your life.

Map out your path.

map on a table

You know what’s calling you, at least generally, to make a change. Getting to your goal, though, can be a winding road without some planning. Do you want to work in healthcare? Business? Something a bit more creative, like marketing? Not sure?

If you don’t know what you want to do, but you know you want to change careers, you might need some help narrowing it down. Take advantage of career aptitude quizzes online or personality tests that can help you pinpoint what field might be best for you. Once you find the career path that fits, you can move on to mapping out how you’ll get there.

The map should include what tasks you need to complete to reach your goal. That means finding a school and a program of study that fits your lifestyles and can realistically help you at least get started on your path. Keep in mind the milestones you’ll need to meet on the way, the obstacles that might pop up along the way so you can account for those later.

Pick your guide.

No hero walks down his or her path alone. Whether we’re talking about movie heroes or real heroes like firefighters, they’ve got people behind them, helping them. They have mentors and people they look to for guidance, even if they’ve been doing what they do for fifty years.

Whether your guide is a parent, friend, coworker, or even your school, having someone in your corner when you don’t feel like you can keep fighting is essential. You might not need anyone to save you, but you do need someone to support you.

Find your balance.

spinning top

You can’t be a hero without understanding balance. While you’re striving to reach for the stars and make your goals a reality, balance your busy life with small, quiet moments for yourself every now and again. Take time to read a book, watch a movie, or even nap — whatever you need to recharge to face the day again. Knowing when to take a break or move a little slower is important to your success. If you’re an exhausted hero, you won’t have the strength to battle through tough subjects or work you’re struggling against.

Own your choices.

fulfill your destiny

Owning your choices is about taking credit for the good things you’ve done and for the mistakes you’ve made. Mistakes aren’t bad; they’re opportunities to learn. Being your own hero means owning those mistakes, seeing what you can learn from them, and moving forward.

A bad grade or a messy paper isn’t the end of your education. Think about why you might have gotten a bad grade. Did you put off studying? Did you get distracted? Whatever the case, take that mistake, own it, and adjust when you take the next exam.

Be your own back to school hero with Penn Foster.

excited man

Owning up to your mistakes is a big part of being your own hero but so is being kind to yourself. You may hold yourself to higher standards than you would others. That can motivate you but it can also tear you down. You’re someone who has taken the first steps toward changing their career while working, taking care of your family, and living life. You may not have five hours of uninterrupted study time every week. That’s okay!

You may do everything right when you’re studying but still get a lower grade than you’d like. That’s okay, too. Being a hero doesn’t mean being perfect, it doesn’t mean doing the right thing every single time. Being your own hero is about taking the steps that are right for you to push your career forward or find the job that makes you happy.

Whether you’re going back to school for the first time in a while or you’re in the middle of your program, Penn Foster can help you become your own back to school hero. With flexible online courses, regular webinars, and student support, you can be the hero you deserve.