Image by FIU College of Business via Flickr
Kieron Williams | Staff Writer
When I start thinking about graduation at the end of this semester, I’m not as happy as my family is for me. In fact, graduating is scary because it gets closer and closer whether you’re ready for it or not, like the big drop in a rollercoaster. Reaching the end of undergrad is like climbing slowly up that first hill and watching the ground get farther and farther away. You look back up, and you see nothing ahead of you. You have no idea what’s going to happen next. All you know is that things are going to change, and that you might throw up.
As I reach that big drop, I am faced with one of the greatest decisions of my life ― will I go on to grad school, or will I not? I’m not pre-law or pre-med. I have a major that can (hopefully) do me fine upon graduation. According to the Florida Board of Governors, 68 percent of FIU students with a Bachelor’s degree are employed one year after graduation, so the odds are in my favor. The last thing I want is to dig myself deeper into debt because of something that may end up being unnecessary.
One of my greatest advocates for grad school is my mom, and she is pushing me to go for a plethora of reasons: getting a Master’s degree will give me more career options, additional job safety as I will be seen as an expert amongst my peers, and most importantly, it will bring me much closer to never living paycheck to paycheck. Looking at all of these reasons, it makes sticking with my Bachelor’s feel like a gamble.
But as much as she wants me to believe it, I know that I am not hopeless if I choose to stick with my Bachelor’s. Grad school is expensive ― in some cases more expensive than undergrad. If I decide against it, I can save my money and focus every hour of each day on building my career. One of my teachers, who is very big on student employment, said something in class last week that changed my whole perspective. She said she would never go to grad school without working in the field of her major first, because grad school before anything else is specialized training. And how can you really know what you want to specialize in before you know what it looks like and feels like in the workplace?
Going to grad school is something to be commended, but it is important for students to know that you are not hopeless if you decide against it. Your parents and your advisors will tell you otherwise, but there are people who have become successful without a college degree at all. If you decide to go to grad school, just make sure it’s because you want to, not because people are pushing you to go. The drop is steep with just a Bachelor’s, there’s no doubt. But success will find you if you work for it, no matter what degree you have.