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June 22, 2010 / Suzie

Suzie Shrugs at Grad School

I know I’m not supposed to blog at work, but I finished my project for the morning so I’m entitled to a break, right? Right. Let’s hope I don’t get caught; I have a résumé to build!

Last night, I texted one of my roommates, Cady, about my decision to avoid grad school for as long as possible. It’s a conversation that we have been having a lot lately. Many of my peers have decided that instead of attacking the business world straight out of college, they are going to spend another two or more years hitting the books and expanding their already nicely sized cranium.

Cady, like me, is holding off until she has some work experience as a journalist before she tries to get into a top-tier English program. She has a firm, definite plan.

I, on the other hand, definitely do not. I know what I don’t want to do (programmer, astronaut, and cat tamer are all out), but I still have no desire to work from 9-5 doing the same boring job every day. Hello? I’m 20! Why does everyone seem to know what they’re doing?

So instead of furthering the knowledge that my Bachelor of Arts hath bestowed on me, I’m going to try to find that 9-5 that makes me happy.

This isn’t a ambivalent plan though. First off, I know I’m saving money. Grad school isn’t cheap, and since I don’t know exactly what I want to do, I’m not going to sink another $45,000 a year into an education that may or may not help me.

That’s not to say I never intend to go. If life is perfect (which it is far from), I’ll be well on my way to getting my MBA to work at the higher offices of Coca Cola or somewhere equally fun and interesting. For now though? No grad school for me.

I think a lot of people my age are rushing off to grad school like they did for college after they graduated high school. The difference is this:

  • Mom and Pop’s money is running out, if not gone.
  • Your concentration matters way more than your major ever will.
  • You have to wait longer to pay off your student loans.
  • Because an increasing number of grads are partaking, the value of your Masters is depleting.

For all these reasons, I am giving this advice: take a year off and find some work if you are seriously considering grad school. You might find out that you don’t even need it (barring future lawyers and doctors of course).

Back to the grind,

– Suz

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2 Comments

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  1. akjayelle / Jun 28 2010 3:49 am

    Great advice! Even to any high school kids who might stumble through. Take a year off if you aren’t sure because school is so expensive. I’ve been telling a lot of people that I wish I had taken a year off before college because I’m about to enter my sixth year of undergrad due to not being 100% sure of what I wanted to do. Same can and should be said about grad school. Looking forward to reading your blog more often 🙂

  2. V.A. Luttrell / Jun 28 2010 8:01 pm

    I definitely get the decision not to go to graduate school, even though mine is more personal than financial.

    Many academic programs, especially if you intend to go into a field that doesn’t usually have a high pay-rate (read: anything that’s not med school, business school, or law school), you often get *paid* to go in exchange for teaching intro classes. Even still, on a financial level, grad school is an investment of time that you shouldn’t make if you’re not sure that’s what you want to do or if you’re not sure you’ll be able to increase either your wealth or happiness with that decision.

    Basically, my decision to not do graduate school was a cost-benefit analysis of my happiness. I was going to spend five years of my life pursuing a degree I wasn’t sure I wanted, nor was I sure I could use it. Definitely not a good decision, financially or personally.

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