At one point in time, a bachelor’s degree was enough to grant access to a competitive, albeit entry-level, position in the field of your supposed dreams. Those days are quickly fading, but that's no reason to be discouraged — you have options.
So, let’s talk about grad school: Is it right for you?
It very well might be, but first, you need to figure out if and how a graduate education is going to get you where want to be.
The bottom line is that a lot of individuals enter the workforce and realize they are not living up to their full potential. They may have majored in a degree that was interesting to them at the time, but now they’re discovering that their degree might not get them where they want to go — they now want a career shift.
This is where grad school starts to become an option.
The Reconciliation: Early Career Disassociation
Generally, after you’re out of college for a few years, you’ve secured a job, and it has become a main focus of your life — whether or not you enjoy it. This is the time to learn everything you can on a day-to-day basis, and while learning, start thinking about what kind of skills you want to sharpen and how you plan to do so.
Your early career is the time to pinpoint your long-term interests, which will greatly affect where you plan to be in the next, say 10 years. Concentrate on what skills you have that set you apart from other candidates. So, while it’s great to learn everything you can on the job, let’s imagine another way that you can set yourself apart: graduate school.
The Epiphany: Choose Graduate School
Grad school is the best option if you want to primarily study the things you love. There are no more general education requirements. As you drive to advance in your career, a graduate degree is a distinct specialization that will set you apart from other candidates.
Grad school is a special opportunity to surround yourself with the deeper levels of the material that you gravitated towards in college. Your priorities since undergrad may have changed, and you’re thinking that your grad school’s location only really matters if it opens up more career options in your chosen field.
In college you had mentors, professors, and advisors who guided you throughout the curriculum. In grad school, you get to explore more on your own.
Here is some free wisdom related to graduate learning for you:
- Expect a lot of reading material. A lot. You can do it, just annotate.
- Learn to prioritize; otherwise, nothing will ever get done (time management).
- There is always time for sleep, contrary to popular belief (time management, again).
- Professors are still your best networking opportunity; don’t forget that they are there. Let them know you care about your grade and overall educational experience.
- Quality research is the greatest asset you can learn.
The Purpose: Lifelong Learning
Grad school is just one component of lifelong learning. Maybe you truly are staring out your office window right now, or maybe you have loved your career since day one and are just looking for a career advancement opportunity. Either way, grad school is an opportunity to cultivate critical thinking and problem solving skills while also sharpening your more technical attributes (such as writing, computer programming, public speaking, or Adobe Creative Suite, to name a few).
Graduate school can help you live your passion and help you surround yourself with experiences that expand your knowledge and views of the world. Grad school is one of the best opportunities to not only shape your career but to ideate dreams and fuel a greater purpose.
For some additional blog posts that explore the value of graduate school, check out the below blog posts!
- [Infographic] Top Reasons You Should Go to Grad School in DC Now
- 5 Ways a Grad Degree Will Help You Launch Your NEW Career
- The Art of the Application: 6 Basic Steps to Applying to Graduate School
We invite you to explore the plethora of graduate program options at Marymount University. We pride ourselves on perpetuating a student-centered learning environment that cultivates lifelong learning for your personal and professional growth.
Go after your full potential, and let us help you achieve that lifelong passion!