Life after Undergrad

RE:dveklfvkfjdvnkfldn …LIFE.

For the majority of us I believe graduation is coming up very soon, a little over six months away now. Eeek. And I think the majority of us are burnt out on school. Staying up late to finish assignments that should have been started weeks before, feeling as if your brain just cannot hold any more information or produce any quality work. The finish line is in sight for those of us graduating in May. The question then becomes, what are we going to do after words?

There really only seems to be two options: find a “big kid” job or go to grad school. Most of us probably shudder at both. Getting a job seems scary after about 17 years of knowing exactly what was expected of you(or at least a strong guideline of what was expected: go to school, do homework, get a diploma). Going out and getting a real job is new, uncharted territory. I honestly would have no idea where to start.

The second option is grad school, which could take anywhere from another year to several years, depending on the school and program selected. As I said earlier, most of us have been in the educational system for 17+ years at this point. The thought of willingly choosing to subject ourselves to what could be years of more papers and research projects, probably makes some of us want to whack our heads against the wall. But, this is the option that I am choosing. Some might say that I am scared to leave what I know, and that is probably a big part of it. But I know that with what I want to do, my best option is to continue my education to put myself at an advantage when I do look for a real job.

Here are some factors that might help you in your decision on what to do for you:

  • Do I need a masters?
    What benefit will it get to you? Does your desired field/industry require one or suggest one? This is something to look into. Getting a master’s is expensive, you don’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars getting a degree that you don’t need and won’t benefit you in the long run.
  • Should I wait?
    Some might think that they could always go back and get their masters whenever, universities will always be there. That’s true. But the question isn’t can you go back; it’s will you go back. Will you be able to find the motivation to go back to a life that you managed to escape? Once you get in to the work force, will you be able to find the desire to go back to a life of writing papers and working on group projects. Also think of what many of us have dealt with in class: do you want to be the non-traditional student in a group of recent college grads? Another thing to consider is how you’d pay for it. Once you graduate, if you have any loans you have 6 months to start paying them. If you’re paying off your undergrad, could you afford grad school? If you go straight to grad school, you can defer the loans until you have your graduate degree.
  • Are you willing move for grad school?
    At UCM we’re “lucky” to have a grad school on campus. I say “lucky” because it is convenient, but there is the down side that it is generally the default choice of the UCM undergrads. I talked to a career counselor and she said that it best to get a masters in a degree different from your undergrad and even better to get it at a different school. It shows diversity and a willingness to change to prospective employers. It’s not horrible to stay at one place, but in my case I could not get my masters in communication at UCM mainly because I’ve taken so may COMM classes that there wouldn’t be anything left for me to take really, not that would suit my career goals(all that would be left are journalism or rhetoric classes) So if you’re like me, a suggested masters would be in business management or marketing. Something similar, but in a different area.

Only you can make the right decision for you, so don’t let your friends, parents or other family members pressure you into what they want you to do. Think of this decision like you were making it for a client. Make a list of what you want out of your career; research the best places/ways to do it. Look at your dream jobs, yes they might be years and years away, but see what they require now. Some companies highly suggest masters, in a few years they might require it. Think of all the pros and cons there could be. It is not a decision to be made lightly. Think of it from an objective standpoint, how you would advise someone else that was thinking about it. Don’t let the fact that you might be burnt out on school to shy you away from it. We feel that way every year, but we manage to make it through.

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3 Responses to Life after Undergrad

  1. amber0125 says:

    I have been thinking a lot about graduating and getting out into the “real world” as well. You make some great points to help in deciding whether or not to pursue a graduate degree or just finish up with your undergrad.

  2. ryanmarler says:

    I’ve thought about grad school, but I can’t think of anything I want to get a masters in. But I’d rather work than go to school. I’m sure I’ll eventually go back and get a masters; I don’t plan on getting married or having kids, so I’ll have quite a bit of free time.

  3. yxl81090 says:

    Great post! I have been thinking about if I should go to grad school as well. But just like Ryan, I cannot think of a master I want yet. I don’t want to spend that much money for a master that won’t benefit me in my future job.

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