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Playing With / Back to School

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Basic Trope: An adult character returns to school.

  • Straight: Alice decides to finally get her bachelor's degree.
  • Exaggerated: Alice needs to go back to Junior High.
  • Downplayed: Alice is working towards her master's degree online.
  • Justified:
    • Alice needs some additional training to get a degree, license, or certificate for her career.
    • Alice never got to finish school and wants to do that, so she can make a better life for herself and/or her family.
    • Advertisement:
    • Alice wants some personal enrichment.
    • Alice can't afford graduate school on her own, but the company she works for is willing to pay for her advanced education as long as a) she keeps her grades up and b) it's relevant to her career field. She'd be crazy not to take the opportunity.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Alice takes classes online or by correspondence.
    • Alice is 19, and entering college as a freshman.
    • Alice is only changing her major or transferring schools.
    • Alice dropped out of high school when she faced a Teen Pregnancy. She is now finding that getting a job is difficult because she doesn't have a high school diploma, and wonders about going back, but then decides it would be too difficult to go back to school with a baby or toddler to look after.
    • Alice is only going to take the GED exam.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Well, all the book work. She has a couple of lab sessions, and for that, she has to go to the local community college campus.
    • She took a year off after High School to go backpacking through Europe.
    • Her credits aren't making the transition with her, so she'll have to start all over from square one.
    • Alice studies to take the GED exam and get her "Good Enough Degree."
    • Advertisement:
    • Alice goes to school part-time, or enters a program geared towards teen moms.
    • In order to prepare for the exam, she attends a sort of Cram School. And once she has her GED, she plans to apply to a community college or trade school.
  • Parodied: Alice's Pointy-Haired Boss actually pays for her to repeat kindergarten.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice enrolls in college, then changes her major, then changes it again, then drops out, then re-enrolls six months later, then transfers schools...
  • Averted:
    • Alice is not enrolled in school, and never thinks of going back.
    • Alice is enrolled in school from the beginning.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "I wonder if I should go back to college?"
  • Invoked:
    • Alice, a young girl who became pregnant in high school and had the baby is looking for additional money to support herself and the baby after the father leaves, her parents cut her off financially (or disown her), etc. She's finding that she can't get anything above minimum wage (and sometimes can't even get those kinds of jobs) because every place wants at least a high school diploma. She starts to think about going back.
    • Alice wants to move up in her career, but the only way to do that is to get an advanced degree.
    • Alice quit her job when she married Bob, or when she became pregnant with their first child, and has been a stay-at-home mom ever since. (Or, alternatively, married Bob right out of High School and never was part of the workforce in the first place.) Some years later, Bob left her for Carol, which means Alice has to get a job in order to support her family. Since she has been out of the workforce for so long, she needs to gain some skills so she can get a better-paying job to support her family.
    • Alice wants to change careers completely, and needs skills relevant to her new career path.
    • Alice is a stay-at-home mom, and her kids are all old enough that they're in school. She finds herself bored during the hours when they're at school, and so decides to take a class or two, if only for personal enrichment.
    • Alice had to drop out of college (or go on leave) because her father was diagnosed with cancer, and her mother needed an extra pair of hands at home. Now that her father's cancer is in remission, she is able to go back.
    • Alice is a Former Child Star who was forced into acting by her overbearing Stage Mom. What she really wanted to do was to become a doctor. (In Real Life, not on some Medical Drama, Soap Opera, or movie.) Now that she's grown up, and having trouble getting cast anyway, she decides to quit acting and go to college and medical school.
    • Alice became an exotic dancer, but as she's getting into her late 20's, she realizes her physical beauty will begin to fade soon as she ages, and she can't do this forever. She doesn't want to still be "working the pole" at 40 and trying to compete with women half her age. So she decides to get some skills so she can get a "real" job.
  • Exploited:
    • In order to keep teens from dropping out due to Teen Pregnancy, a school is set up for teen moms that provides free or low-cost childcare, a more flexible schedule, etc.
    • TropeCo Inc. pays for its employees to get advanced degrees provided they meet certain requirements, or will reimburse them their tuition for such.
    • A community college pops up, with flexible class schedules, as well as online classes, designed to work around the work schedules of working adults who wish to get degrees or certificates, or who simply want personal enrichment.
    • A regular college or university does the previous point, especially if it's offering a graduate program, or marketing itself towards people who either never completed their undergraduate studies, or who are looking to completely change careers.
    • An unaccredited diploma-mill or even an accredited (but for-profit) school markets its "programs" to working adults who are looking to advance in their careers.
  • Defied:
    • Alice decides to wait until her child is old enough to go to school before going back herself, seeing as she doesn't have anyone to look after the kid during the day, or that she can't keep up with both schoolwork and taking care of a baby or toddler.
    • Alice is afraid of failing, or what others might think, and decides not to go back.
    • Alice decides she has no interest in going back to school.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???

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