Apr 18, 2008

Grad School: my future or just a dream?

Ever since my second year of college, I dreamed of going to grad school. Granted that I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life, I dreamed of going to grad school for ten thousand different things. However, now that I'm - almost 25, I know what I want to do in life (sort of) and I know what I want to get out of grad school.

I avoided majoring in art or design for undergrad for a few reasons, namely because I didn't appreciate that "business" must play into my life in order to make a living if I was to be so adamant about avoiding a career in academia. Once upon a time the term "business" seemed practically synonymous with "evil." Graphic Design was not art, it was business, therefore I wanted nothing to do with it.

Boy, times have changed. Now I want everything to do with design. Product design, user interface design, all of it. I love it. It fascinates me. I want to learn more about it. Even research methods are fascinating as long as they apply to design.

I'm getting a little taste in design methods at my current job, where I'm officially a writer. Every so often I suggest design features and listen to design sessions. I see how people work together in a company and how designers and marketers and everyone comes up with something. I love it.

So... grad school. Well, at the very least going to grad school for a masters in design or an MBA (or both, ideally) will possibly pay back for itself at some point (whereas an MFA in theater directing - what I once wanted to get) will not.

The huge questions are - when do I go and where do I go?

I don't need to rush into grad school - I can get a master's degree at 30 and that would be fine. However, I'm concerned that if I put it off too long I'll never do it.

I'm glad I didn't jump straight into grad school after undergrad. I definitely needed time to explore what it was I actually needed out of more education to further my career. But now I'm at a place where I feel like that extra education would help. A lot.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend is likely going to be entering an MA program in fall of 2009. We currently reside in the Bay Area but he's thinking of going to a program in New York. So I have to figure out what will come of that... I mean, do I move to New York with him? Do I stay in San Francisco? Do I apply to grad programs myself and move wherever I get in? Do we break up because our relationship couldn't survive long distance?

It's a lot to chew on and I don't really feel like chewing. But I'm scared of what it all means. I do know that I want to open up doors for my future and I don't want to be held back. Will an MBA or Design degree open up those doors? I'm not sure. I wish I knew how much that $100k+ degree would be worth.



6 comments:

Shuchong said...

I've no advice to offer, except perhaps to talk to people who've done a design degree/MBA, and ask them what they think of particular degrees/schools/the necessity of having a degree to do what you want to do etc.

It sounds like you know what you want to do though, and that's half the battle! (I envy you in fact, because I'm you're opposite. Same age, know what degree I want, don't know quite what I want to do with it). Best of luck!

Brooke said...

I think you should give it another year at least to think about it. It sounds like you're unsure and if you make a decision now, it might not be the right one. One year won't put you out.

Also, put it down on paper. Sometimes that makes it clearer.

By the way, you've been tagged for a meme over at my site!

calgirlfinance said...

Can you take classes while working? That might help you decide if you really want to go to grad school.

Zachary said...

Skip it. Grad school has taken its toll on my health and my peace of mind. Not to mention my wallet.

A said...

I fully intend to go back for my PhD simply because it's what I need to do what I want to do.

After going through my masters, there's no way I'd go back unless I had to (aka teaching at the college level).

Try looking for experience / connections and people in your field who can steer you in the right direction before heading back to school.

Anonymous said...

I went to grad school straight out of undergrad five years ago. My first year was funded by a fellowship, and during my second year, I TAed one quarter and my parents helped with the rest. I'm currently not using my MA at my job but I did meet my b/f through a friend of a friend in the program and I'm pretty sure we'll get married some day. I didn't go to school just to get my MRS but it's a nice bonus. In the end, I learned a lot, but were I to go back in time, I think I would have gone into the working world first to get some xperience and then gone back.

If you really feel that grad school is for you and that it will advance your professional career, then go for it. However, if all you're left with at the end of it is tons of debt and a useless degree, you might want to give it a second (or third or fourth) thought.

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