(Photo Courtesy of Karen Hopkins)

(Photo Courtesy of Karen Hopkins)

As a former registered diagnostic cytologist, a person who reads microscope slides to determine if they are cancerous, Karen Hopkins enjoyed this profession but wanted to branch out and try something else.

She decided to return to school with the desire to learn about managing people. As she worked in graduate school, she discovered she liked organizational behavior and how it applies to a variety of businesses. She used her graduate degree in organizational behavior from the University of Texas at Dallas to change careers. She started a human resources consulting firm, The Hopkins Group, LLC, that helps small and medium-sized companies comply with state and federal regulations as well as building a strong workforce.

Raising three children and working full-time while going to school was challenging, but Hopkins said it was worth it.

“It taught me time management. I learned to make use of small snippets of time. While waiting in the carpool lane to pick one of my children from swim practice, I always had a book with me. It is amazing how much you learn in 15 minutes,” said Hopkins.

“Even when you go back to school, it is OK to switch. I had a very good career in the medical field. I started out to get an M.B.A. but really enjoyed my organizational behavior classes and decided to pursue that line of study.”

“We have such a long work life (30 to 40 years). There is nothing wrong with changing careers and using education to do that.”

When it comes to deciding on a school, Hopkins offers this advice, “If there is a field of study that you want to pursue, make sure you do your homework. Look to see that the school has a good overall reputation and has a good program in that field.”

“Don’t stop learning. Education is lifelong and it should never end,” said Hopkins.

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com