Continuing your education: why it’s important for professional and personal success

March 13, 2024

By Bazibuhe (Bazi) Muhabwa

Continuing your education: why it’s important for professional and personal success

As a refugee and someone who had to leave his home and face many challenges, going to school became important to me for many reasons. It was a safe place in the midst of chaos, and it gave me a sense of stability and the chance to dream despite a challenging situation.  

And this is a reality for many refugees, newcomers to Canada, and individuals looking for a fresh start. Education is powerful, and, for many, it’s the key to unlocking a better future.  

But here’s the thing about education: it doesn’t need to end. There are countless options to continue your education, secure a more prosperous career, and learn more about yourself along the way.  

In this blog post, I’m exploring what you need to know about continuing your education while providing strategies and insights that have helped me over the years.

What is continuing education?

Continuing education is exactly as it sounds—expanding on the education you’ve already received to advance your career and grow both professionally and personally. It can include upskilling in your current industry, learning a new skill, or leveraging your post-secondary credential to achieve a higher level of education.  

When I first started at NorQuest College, I took ESL classes—which I did not understand at first. But it turns out those were the classes that helped me reach higher education. After taking ESL, I enrolled in the Settlement Studies program at NorQuest and graduated two years later. Now, I’m pursuing a Humanities degree at Athabasca University.

For me, learning has always been a journey. While education opens doors, expands your mind, and enhances your opportunities, it also increases your capacity to help others. I want to continue my education so that I can provide continuous and meaningful support to the communities around me.

Benefits of continuing your education

There are so many benefits to continuing your education, but these are the ones that stand out to me the most: 

Career advancement 

Continuing my education has boosted my qualifications, making me more competitive in the job market while helping to advance my career. By staying updated on industry trends, I remain an asset to my employer, preparing me for the career ladder.

 Adaptability to change

Contuning my education also keeps me adaptable amid evolving industries and technological shifts. Staying informed about the latest developments is crucial for remaining relevant and thriving in dynamic environments.

Personal development

I strongly believe that education fosters critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity—which all contributes to overall intellectual growth. Lifelong learning has broadened my perspective and enhanced my communications skills, benefiting me both professionally and personally.

Networking opportunities

Educational programs offer opportunities to connect with professionals in my field, which has helped to facilitate my career growth through collaboration, mentorship, and a broader professional network. I am currently experiencing this at my workplace.

Staying competitive

In a competitive job market, continuing your education signals a commitment to improvement and makes a job seeker an attractive candidate for employers. It has helped keep me at the forefront of my field.

Challenges of continuing your education and how I overcame them

When I first started my educational journey, I was faced with a lack of information about available options and application processes. However, I was determined to find a suitable program that would help me overcome my initial intimidation of returning to education.  

Once I narrowed down my program of choice, I reached out to student advisors for guidance. They deeply understood the college’s program structures and recommended suitable study paths based on my qualifications and career goals.  

After several meetings with them, they sent me to the admissions staff who helped me with the application process and accepted me into the Settlement Studies program.  

Once I started on my new education path, I navigated many challenges, including anxiety, uncertainty, and adjusting to a new academic environment. I overcame these challenges by understanding that school/life balance requires careful planning and effective time management. I created a realistic schedule that allocates time for studying, attending classes, and completing assignments.

Setting clear goals

Setting clear goals and breaking them down into smaller, manageable steps has also been a key strategy. This approach helps me stay focused and motivated, preventing overwhelming feelings. Additionally, learning to say no to some commitments and recognizing when to take breaks has been essential for avoiding burnout.

Creating a support system

Building a support system, such as study groups, and friends can enhance the learning experience. Seeking help when needed and taking initiative when addressing challenges are vital aspects of academic success. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle 

Furthermore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep, contribute significantly to my overall well-being and academic performance. Being a full-time student and a full-time worker has taught me that balancing school and life is an ongoing process that requires adaptability and self-reflection to continually refine strategies for success.

How does continuing your education impact your career growth?

Continuing my education significantly shaped my career path. It expanded my knowledge and skills, making me more suitable for the job market. Opportunities emerged, and doors opened that were previously closed.

For instance, I am now doing a Leadership program at NAIT, I am a certified Grant writer by the Government of Alberta, I sit on the Board of one of the organizations in Edmonton, and, through the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (ECVO), I am certified as an Alberta Board Member Essentials.

The experience is transformative, providing me with a deeper understanding of my field and enhancing my confidence. I am daily gaining practical insights and built a valuable network through collaborations.

How does it impact your personal growth?

In terms of personal growth, the learning process cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, fostering adaptability in various situations. Networking with diverse individuals during my educational journey enriched my perspectives and interpersonal skills.

Ultimately, continuing my education has not only elevated my professional competence but also contributed significantly to my personal development, making me a more well-rounded and accomplished individual. 

Continuing education programs at NorQuest College

My experience at NorQuest was an incredibly heartwarming adventure with extraordinary moments and meaningful connections. The college felt like a sanctuary of inclusivity and warmth, where the air is charged with a powerful sense of belonging. I recommend continuing your education at NorQuest if these are the same experiences you would like to enjoy.

Some continuing education options include:

Continuing education for business professionals

Continuing education for healthcare professionals

Continuing education for human service professionals

Bazi’s bio

Bazibuhe (Bazi) was born in Congo DRC and spent most of his life in a Zambian refugee camp known as ‘’Meheba settlement” located in the Northwestern province. He completed high school in Meheba and was trained in child and youth care work by the National Association of Child and Youth Care Work (NACCW) of South Africa. Bazi came to Canada in 2017 as a permanent resident. 

He chose NorQuest because he had read about the college and liked the programs offered. Bazi first started by taking English as a second language (ESL) courses and then transitioned into a diploma in Settlement Studies in the fall of 2020. He has since graduated in spring 2022. 

Read his full story here