Grad school or bust, the student dilemma

Grad school or bust, the student dilemma

David Moreno


Growing up, all I heard about was going to college and how it was going to transform my life. After making it through high school and finally reaching college, the pinnacle of success, I was disappointed to discover that I still had a long way to go.

Nowadays, graduate school or ‘grad’ school,  is the next step after college for getting opportunities to receive a better job and higher salary. Most graduate students get a Master’s degree, and those looking to get a Doctorate  move forward from there. That means at least two more years of schooling where you’re working in a more self-driven, hands-on environment. The in-class requirement is much more relaxed than undergraduate, but that relaxation is made up for with out-of-class work that is required. Depending on the field of focus, this can mean observation hours, volunteer work, internships, workshops, or even studio time. Graduate school is a major time commitment, but it can be balanced with an actual job and life commitments.

Grad school’s costs may outweight the benefits for some students.  COURTESY OF  CENT SAI

Grad school’s costs may outweight the benefits for some students. COURTESY OF CENT SAI

For those who don’t want to — or can’t — go to graduate school, what are you able to do then? Well, actually, quite a lot. A Bachelor’s degree will get you into just about any type of entry–level position, and the only way to go from there is up. College is a great way to show employers the skills they’re looking for: time management, organization, teamwork, written and oral communication, Microsoft suites, and more. Depending on what field or  type of work you want to pursue, a Bachelor’s degree might be all you need. However, in other fields, higher degrees are required to move up into more executive positions. If this is the case, then some employers will actually help pay for schooling while you’re working. Other places may not be able, or willing to pay. Once again it raises the question: is graduate school the right option for me?

Graduate school is an option that, as the writer, I am not trying to convince you is a good or bad choice. It is completely up to you, the reader. I am conveying my current experience to perhaps provide some insight to readers, as well as guide myself to make my own choice. For my career field, which is sports, I can either get a job straight out of college and work up, or continue with school and start later, but work up the ladder faster. The way I see it, I will eventually end up at the same spot at the same time, so I don’t really see the difference time-wise. What I do know and have heard is that I can work up the totem pole faster with a higher education. So, maybe it is worth it, but I don’t know if it’s worth the extra debt and commitment, especially when  the program I want to attend is in San Francisco. All the signs are telling me to go to grad school, but I remain unconvinced. 

For any person, graduate school is a personal decision and not necessarily an easy one. Even as someone who works for the Whittier College Center for Career and Professional Development and who worked on and attended the Graduate and Professional School Fair, I am nowhere closer to making  a definitive decision on my future education choice. The best advice I can offer is to get as much insight as you can based on the career field you want to be in, and evaluate what is best for you.