As I read blog after blog and talk to people in my own life, if people aren’t in Grad school then they say that want to be, why?
Well I’m just going to run down a few things I wish I knew before, and a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Lesson #1: It is not cheap. From joining professional organizations, to testing, to national testing, to classes, driving, it goes on and on; the s**t is not cheap. Even though I don’t pay for the tuition, I still have lots of bills associated with school. Tip: If you cannot afford to go to Grad school, don’t. Think about what it is that you want to do and really think about if you can do it without a Masters degree. If you can, then skip the degree and get to it!
Lesson #2: If you don’t know exactly what you want to do yet, don’t go to graduate school to find out, its too expensive, too time consuming, and too personally trying if you don’t genuinely love your program. Tip: Find not only a degree, but a school that really suits your needs. Make sure that you can do everything that you’ve wanted to do at that school, whether it be studying abroad or interning, or whatever it is that you want to do. If you’re investing in that program, then make sure that they will invest in you as well.
Lesson #3: Work! If not just for the money, then for the experience. Get a job in your field. Get to know people, get to know what the day to day work is going to look like. Take the time to research the history and the future in your field and see where you want to fit into it. Then work in a niche that interests yet challenges you. For example, I knew I wanted to work with either college students or families, so I interned at a college counseling center, but kept my volunteer work in the community with families. I got to see the ins and outs of both populations and now I know without a doubt that I want to do college counseling. Tip: get to know your student services; career services, academic tutoring/counseling centers; financial aid, etc. Get to know them because yes you may need them, but you may also get a job within your Univ. related to your degree. Graduate assistantships exist in nearly every arena in a school, so get in where you can, even if that dept. isn’t hiring they usually have strong community contacts and can put you in touch with someone doing what you want to do.
That’s it for now, I just noticed that people had question and I figure I could share my…um…experience disguised as wisdom.