Why I’m Thankful I Am Doing a Grad Program Right After Undergrad
Halloween has come and gone, and now it seems the Holidays are in full swing – even though Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet. Everyone is happily preparing for Christmas and eagerly waiting for December to come sooner. I’m eager for December too, but for a different reason than most other people – the end of the fall semester. It’s finally here. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel on my school career. After this December, I only have one semester of grad school left. Because I’m not planning on pursuing my doctorate (honestly, can’t even think about that at all), next semester will be my last year of school altogether.
For the past few months, I’ve been feeling like I’m in an incredibly weird position/transition phase. I know people go to grad school while working full time, like what I’m doing right now, but it just feels different in my case. I am getting my grad degree as part of an accelerated continued program right at the tail-end of my undergraduate studies. So, that means, I’m taking on a full-time grad student amount of credits (nine to be exact) and going to class three out of five days per week.
In addition to being a full-time student, I am also working my first full-time job. Between work, class, and homework, I barely have time for myself. Regardless of all of my complaining, I’m actually really glad that I decided to do this graduate program. Even though I don’t really sleep anymore because I’m so busy, I wouldn’t have done this year any other way. I think doing the five-year program is really going to benefit me in the long-run.
I think doing a graduate program right after undergrad is really beneficial, whether it’d be an accelerated program combined with undergrad or a regular graduate program. Here are a few reasons why I’m thankful I decided to pursue my graduate degree right after undergrad:
I’m Still Mentally in “School Mode”
I’ve had conversations with my slightly older co-workers (both past and present jobs) about going back to get a masters degree after being out of school for a few years. It all seems like they have the same reaction – it’s not easy. I have been going to school for the last 20ish years of my life. It’s something I’m used to, and it’s basically become part of my daily routine. I don’t really know what life is like outside of lectures, tests, papers, homework, and the like. I honestly can’t imagine life any other way.
If I had gone back to school after having been out for a while, I don’t think I would have the same energetic, dedicated mindset I do right now (which is definitely dwindling because of senioritis). Since school is all I’ve known for so long, I think that it has helped me mentally prepare for grad school. If I took a break from school, I don’t think I would have the same energy, dedication, and mindset that I currently do.
I’m Able to Get My Degree Earlier
I’m in a five-year dual degree program. I spent the first three years of college taking undergrad classes, the fourth year taking a combination of undergrad and masters class, and the fifth year taking a full schedule of graduate classes. I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of this dual-degree program. While being in this program can be challenging at times, it’s worth it. I’m getting my master’s degree a year or two years sooner than students who do a typical masters program. This saves me both time and money. A lot of schools offer a program similar to this one. Typically, you have to apply for the program and be accepted during your junior year. These programs also usually offer incentives for students to participate in dual degree programs. Some incentives include scholarships and discounts on tuition. Getting a masters degree for less time and money than you would in a normal graduate program is pretty awesome.
I Was Able to Go to Europe
One of the best experiences I have ever had in my life was going to Europe. And, I probably wouldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been for my graduate program. As part of my accelerated graduate program, I had to take a summer class. The choices of classes were to either take a six-week online class or go to England for two weeks. That was an incredibly easy decision to make, obviously. My class in England was very experienced-based because my professor wanted us to be able to be fully emersed in a different culture without having to worry too much about tests and papers. This class was really fun to take part in, it broke me out of my comfort zone, it exposed me to other cultures, and it brought me to England and Paris – all while giving me graduate class credit. It was an experience of a lifetime.
If you’re in a graduate program or thinking about being in one, do some research and see if your school offers any classes in another country. If they don’t, see what study abroad graduate classes are available and if your school will transfer the credits.
I Can Still Work Full-Time
“How are you going to work fulltime while still being in school?” – that’s one of my least favorite questions. Unfortunately, it’s one of the questions I’m most asked. It’s really annoying to be asked that because, sometimes, I feel like the person is underestimating me. I’ve actually found it really easy to work fulltime and be in a graduate program. My classes are all at night, so my days are completely wide open – perfect for a nine to five job. Yeah, being out of the house for 12+ hours can be a long day, but having night classes allows me to start my career before completely graduating.
It Will Benefit Me Later On
From my point of view, I feel like one degree isn’t enough. It seems like almost everyone goes to college and gets either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. I wanted to have something that would make me stand out from the rest of the college grads. A master’s degree was just what I was looking for. Right now, I feel like I’m working really hard (I mean, I hardly sleep), but I keep telling myself that all my hard work now will benefit me later on. Going for my master’s degree now instead of in a few years from now will also benefit me later on. I won’t have to worry about going back to school later on when I will probably be busier and have more responsibilities.
I know I can sometimes complain a lot about how busy I am and how much I wish I were out of school. In the long run, though, I’m happy I made the decision to get my master’s through an accelerated program while working full time. It can be tiring at times. I’m trying to hold out until the spring semester, and I know it will all be worth it in the end.
What are you unexpectedly thankful for, my Dolls?
One thing you may be thankful for is your long-term relationships. Even if you aren’t in one now, you should definitely read why long-term relationships are the best in my last post, “Real Talk: Long-Term Relationships.”