Grad school: Is it worth it?

Caitlin Husted, Editor in Chief

Since it’s my senior year here at Millikin, the most question people ask me is, “Are you going to grad school after you graduate?” And odds are, most seniors are getting the same question aimed at them.

This question has plagued me for the last year. I kept going back and forth about the idea. To really explain my side of this, I should probably tell you a little bit about my major and career choice.

My long-term goal is to work at a publishing company as a book editor. I have always enjoyed reading and editing. It didn’t take me long to know that editing is what I wanted to do with my life. When it came time my junior year of high school to pick a career for Career Day, book editor was what my test results showed. For this day, we had to do research on our career and present a paper on our findings. Through that research, I knew that I had found what I was meant to do.

Now, fast forward four years and I’m at a crossroads. Do I finishing my undergrad and find a job? Or do I continue on my education and learn more skills before I enter into the work force?

I talked to different professors and peers about their opinions. Some said that I should go to grad school. It would give me a boost when I started applying for a job, and it would allow me to put off being in the “real world” a little while longer. However, some said that I should wait a few years, get some experience and then go back.

I had my reservations about that. I was scared that if I quit going to school, I wouldn’t want to go back. After so many years of schooling, I can safely say that I’m not going to be too sad to say goodbye to classes, exams, papers and homework. I thought that if I wanted to go to grad school that I had to go right after undergrad.

However, I also started thinking about, what I call, “school exhaustion.” I can tell it’s my senior year because I’m just tired of always doing school work. I have put school as a top priority for so long that I’m ready to hold that diploma and leave it behind. With that in mind, I started thinking, do I really want to add more years of schooling onto my plate to get my master’s degree?

Like I said, I went back and forth for quite some time. It wasn’t until I met with an editorial director from a small publishing in Champaign that I decided on an answer. I talked with her about what she did to get her job and her thoughts on grad school. She told me that she had gone to a total of three weeks of grad school before she dropped out to get a job as an editor. Similarly to me, she was so tired of school and just wanted to get to her career that she kissed grad school goodbye and entered the workforce. She then went on to tell me that if I did go to grad school later down the line, it would give me an opportunity to discover what I wanted to focus on because you find out what you’re good at/enjoy.

I know this may not be the case for everyone. Some student have to get their graduate degree before they can begin their true career. And if that’s the case, then you should definitely go.

If I can give you fellow students any advice it’s this: If you are going to grad school to put off going into the “real world” or just because you feel as if you should, don’t do it. If you’re going to spend the extra money and time earning that degree, make sure you are passionate about the field you are going into. It’s okay to take a few years off and work before entering into grad school.