Wednesday, March 05, 2008

15 Reasons You should wait go to Graduate School

1. You are already in debt. So you’re in debt from undergrad, students loans, private loans, and particularly credit card bills, and you want to go to Graduate School. While you can get a deferment for the student loans, you will still have to pay them some day, and they will be worse once you’ve graduated from Graduate School. Take the time and at least get those credit cards taken care of. You won’t be able to afford the payments while you are in school.

2. You’ve never worked in your field. You think you want to be an archeologist, but you’ve never been on a dig. Well then you don’t really know if you can hack it or if you even like it. You need to get to know what you’re going to be doing so you can find out if all the work is really worth it. This shouldn’t be a random day dream but something you KNOW you want. Experience is VITAL in graduate school. The people with more experience get the best projects and positions and have more to talk about in class. If you can’t find a paying job in your field, try to job shadow or volunteer if you can afford it.

3. You want to meet someone. You graduated from college and suddenly it’s impossible to meet anyone new. You miss the constant mixers and the intra-gender library bonding/flirting. Grad school is significantly more expensive than e-harmony. If you want a college atmosphere, get a job in a college town, in the university if you can. The coffee shops and bars will be teaming with grad students anyway. Besides, what happens when you meet someone in grad School and then get successful new jobs…on opposite sides of the country.

4. You want to write. There are thousands of students pouring into creative writing and English programs hoping to be novelists, even though most experts advise against this. Instead think about working joining a writing group for a year, getting together a portfolio and maybe some printed work. You will get to write what you love, instead of a dissertation on the gender implications of Jack and Jill going up a hill.

5. You STILL don’t know what you want to do with your life. If you’ve graduated college still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, first of all don’t feel too bad. (If you went to a Liberal Arts School like I did, I’m impressed you managed to choose a major.) There are better ways to figure it out than spending massive amounts of time and money on another degree that might not help you anyway. Take a year off and try a few temporary jobs, if you have the money, travel. Dropping out after a semester of grad school is a huge waste of time and money. Don’t stress out, a lot of us are still figuring it out.

6. You can’t find a decent job. A graduate degree isn’t a golden ticket. You still don’t have any real life experience. And the job market may actually be worse when you graduate and you will have even more debt to pay off on your measly still starting salary.

7. You don’t have the proper Language Skills

8. You just want a degree. You want that extra piece of paper. You don’t care what field it’s in and you haven’t thought what you’ll do with it. A Graduate Degree is not an End in and of itself. It is a Means to an End. If you really need a title, call yourself Master of the Universe.

9. You have no savings. You must, I repeat MUST have some savings before you try to go to graduate school. It should be at least enough for you to be able to live on for at least year. Most of the time you can get another job while you are going to school, but if you think you’ll be able to totally support yourself without credit cards or loans you are mistaken. The last thing you want to do is miss out on projects or networking opportunities because you have to deliver pizzas after class. Your grades and your work will suffer and the debt you will have after will be astonishing. Figure out the cost of living at the place you want to go to. Overestimate. You may be able to make a little money on the side, and you can probably use some loans, but don’t cripple yourself before you even start your career.

10. Someone told you to. You’re getting too old to do what others tell you to do. If you’re not mature enough to assert yourself, you’re not mature enough to go to Graduate School.

11. You want to do some extensive traveling. Do you seriously think you will be able to afford travel after pouring tens of thousands of dollars in to a degree? Do you think you’ll have the energy to do it?

12. If you wait someone might help you pay for it. A lot of companies are now offering to help pay at least part of the cost of getting another degree. Most of the time this has to relate to your position, but many times you can get some partially relevant classes. Just make sure that what you do will transfer when you do choose to go to school.

13. You still drink like you are and extra in the movie Animal House

14. You don’t think that you will never go back if you don’t do it now. I heard this one a lot when I was deciding on graduate school and I soon learned it is not true at all. You may not want to wait till you have a mortgage and a little of children, but I was the youngest in my program at the age of 23. Plenty of people go back, and it is actually easier for them.

15. You’re afraid of going into the real world. There are much cheaper ways to stick your head in the sand, and if you get a degree you don’t need or want, you might as well have spent the time working at a pool side bar for a year or two.

No comments: