When I finished undergrad, I told myself I’d never go back to school. I had received my bachelor’s degree and was ready to jump into my field. I started out with a part-time, minimum wage, sales job. I hated it. Six months later, I found my dream job. It was fun, I got to use my degree, it paid well and my co-workers were amazing; however, as I approached my two-year mark on the job, I began asking myself “what’s next?” Grad school started to make a lot more sense for three main reasons:
I loved my job, but I had been there for almost two years and was starting to feel boxed in. The opportunity to progress past my entry-level position seemed out of reach as I fell deeper into the niche world of higher ed social media. If I ever wanted to do something else, grad school seemed like the perfect way to boost my credentials and progress within my industry.
I never thought I’d be working in higher education, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The energy and excitement that exists on college campuses is contagious; it makes you want to become a part of the learning, discussion and debate, all in an effort to affect change. Working on college campuses revived my passion for helping students navigate college. It also helped me reach an unfortunate conclusion: I wasn’t going to be able to help students the way I wanted to while sitting behind a screen, tweeting university brand messages.
I’ve worked at two universities, and both offered free classes as an employee. This made the cost of grad school look more appealing. After speaking with a former professor about my career goals, she suggested I go back to school. I took a course to see if I’d be able to balance a full-time job with a part-time school schedule. It was tough, but not impossible. That’s when the reality set in that grad school was a real possibility.
Grad school isn’t for everyone. It ultimately depends on your career goals. If you can achieve your goals without going back to school, grad school may not make sense. If you have a passion that you feel you can’t fully pursue in your current position with your existing skills, it may be time to go back to school to get the tools you need to build your career. For me, opportunity to go to grad school came knocking, so I opened the door to a world of possibilities.