WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO? I said to myself after the second week of the semester…
Buckle up because this is going to be a long but insightful post. I have officially finished my first semester of graduate school and I couldn’t be happier to just take a seat back and have some vanilla chai tea! Okay, but on a serious note, I am here to answer the question a lot of people have been asking me and that is… Is A Masters Degree Worth It?
Eye-Opening, Difficult and Exhausting are the only three words I can use to describe my first semester of graduate school. Although I had researched my graduate program and asked a ton of questions from current students and alumni, I was not 100% ready for what I was about to get myself into. In reality, you can never be ready you just have to do it!
During my first semester, I broke all the rules…oops! I took on a ton of tasks instead of giving myself time to ease into the program. I worked 26 hours a week + classes + reporting! I was basically running around like a chicken with no head. Within the first month, I was extremely tired and I couldn’t help but tell myself. ” Barbara you must be out of your mind”. I honestly thought it was going to be as simple as undergrad but I WAS WRONG.
Graduate school is not a piece of cake! It was way different from undergrad. In undergrad, you can easily get away with not reading a chapter or simply missing a deadline. If you are applying to graduate school thinking you can do the same please do yourself a favor and don’t bother applying. It is a lot of hard work that requires you to put a lot of your personal time into it. You will lose a lot of sleep and your social life (just a heads up). However, it is the sacrifice you are making to get to the finish line. As I usually tell my friends, I like to think of school as a jail sentence…(horrible I know). You serve your time and then you are set free.
I am sure you are probably reading this and thinking to yourself that you will never even think about graduate school because of its extremely high cost, the number of years it takes and the dedication it requires. If you are in the medical, law or educational realm, a post-graduate degree is pretty much required. However, if you are in a program like mine, it is unnecessary. When I considered pursuing a Masters in Journalism, I knew it was more of a personal choice. I decided to apply because I knew I was not well prepared to go into the job force. I needed to brush up on my writing, editing and research skills. The whole nine yards, you name it! To be quite honest, I was smart when applying to graduate school. I am attending a program at a reasonable cost and most importantly a program that will challenge me to become a better journalist.
Answering this question all depends on the individual themselves. Whether or not graduate school is worth it is based on three main things:
- What is the purpose of you going?
Are you going because it will help advance your career? Are you going because of the benefits of a salary booster? Are you going into graduate school because you no longer enjoy the field you are in? Graduate programs are intensively specified. Typically your graduate degree is a heavier course load because of its discipline. It is extensively gearing you towards your professional work. You need to think of it not with a grain of salt but bearing in mind that it is an investment. If you can’t seem to find ONE real reason as to why you are going then I would suggest you holding off it until the time is right. If you do decide not to go to graduate school, find other opportunities like a 10- week course or applying for another position at your job. Graduate school is just one of the many options to advance your career.
2. Are you willing to make the time for it?
As I mentioned above, graduate school requires A LOT of your time..no seriously A LOT of your time. It requires so much of your time to the point that you will find yourself not being able to do other things you did before. You will sometimes have to miss nights out with friends. You will have to miss out on doing personal activities that matter to you. It is extremely difficult. I remember during the first week of orientation, they warned us not to work. Of course, stubborn me decided to disobey their suggestion. I mean come on bills need to be paid. Anywho, you will be drained and you need to make sure that your environment and circumstances allow you to give at least 100% of your time to the program. I knew for me that if I was going to pursue a masters degree I needed to do it now. Why? Because I have the support from my parents and most importantly no kids and ho husband. This is the time for me to invest in myself.
P.S I am not discouraging anyone who decides to go who has a full family but I knew personally I could not do this program if I was not single.
3. Are you willing to spend a large amount of money on the cost of the program?
Truth be told a masters program is EXPENSIVE! It cost way much more money than a bachelors degree. For me, I told myself if I ever decided to go get a masters degree, my bachelors degree has to cost me way less. You have to know and be fully aware that getting a masters degree is an investment on its own. Are you willing to pay?