Monday, 14 March 2011

To grad school or not to grad school?

It's pretty much unanimous that getting an MA in Political Science (IR) is pretty useless. In fact, Poli Sci is consistently rated as one of the most useless undergraduate degrees you can get, and that's just undergrad!

I've always felt that I have an obligation to go to grad school for a number of reasons. First off, I'm already two years ahead. I started school a year early so I've got one year there. I decided to get my undergraduate degree abroad where I could focus on my subject for an intense 3 years instead of going in the US where I would have gotten 2 years of gen eds and 2 years of my major that would have been significantly watered down (in my opinion). Where does that leave me? Well, I'll be a university graduate with a bachelors degree with honors that's lived abroad and traveled extensively at the ripe old age of twenty. Potentially, I could have a masters before my 22nd birthday. Not too shabby I think.

And secondly, I just want the clout that goes with having a masters. EVERYONE has a bachelors, not everyone has a masters.

After analyzing my, admittedly, lame reasons for wanting to go to grad school I've had to ask myself some hard questions, namely, do I actually want to go? I won't go to school in the US because it's way too expensive and I'd have to spend a lot of time studying for the GRE (not required at foreign schools) on top of my final year dissertation and internship, plus programs in the US are two years. I love England but I'm done with it. So that leaves......Australia, Canada, and that UN program in Costa Rica?

Hmmm. Costa Rica is too expensive for what I'd be getting out of it, Australia would be too much of a hassle, so that leaves Canada or more precisely McGill, whose program I'm not very thrilled by. Canada is by far the cheapest of all my options but there are some downfalls. It's program is one and a half years and there are no direct flights from Montreal to Chicago and those flights are almost as expensive as when I fly back and forth to London.

To top all of this off, I'm absolutely sick and tired of being a student. I'm tired of spending days on end in the library when I could be out traveling. I'm tired of university politics. I'm not someone that needs that external validation that I am, in fact, smart. I don't need someone with a Ph.D to tell me that and I'm tired of the people with Ph.D's pretending that they're so much better than us. I don't need a formal, structured environment to learn. Ironically, I excel in that environment even though I learn the least there because I learned the school game at an early age. And while school has given me the biggest opportunity of my life, to move abroad and travel, I think that by this time next year I'll be ready to call it quits. For good.

I'd like to teach and work with kids, most likely abroad so that I can still be an expat and travel, and I'm not willing to put that off another two years and to triple my current student debt. As it stands, I can pay off my current debt pretty fast (2-3 years) and grad school would just add more on. As I've said before, I haven't found a program that I'm really interested in pursing and so adding debt for something that I'm quite neutral about is something I refuse to do.

This is a huge decision for me and to be honest one that I never though I'd be making. But here I am. Whenever anyone asks about plans for after we graduate I always automatically responded "Grad school!" but now we'll just have to wait and see. World Teach and the JET program are the most viable options and I couldn't be happier than freeing myself from, what turned into, the burden of graduate school.


Anonymous said...

I assume you've seen (or already lived) this one:

A said...

Oh yes. Haha I'd definitely rather spend my twenties working and getting laid than doing statistics.

Thanks for sharing.