Everyone was asked when they were a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Little girls would say ballerinas or stay-at-home moms, while little boys would say a firefighter or a pilot. I was always a little different. I was the only girl in my school who wanted to be a doctor (or so I thought at the time).
When I moved into middle school, my answer was still the same. In high school, my answer moved a lot, from nursing to pharmacist to dentist and back to doctor.
Yet here I am, about to graduate with my undergraduate degree, and I don’t know the answer to the “what do I want to be when I grow up” question.
There are many options for people graduating with an undergraduate degree. Which one (or two) is chosen is usually different for everyone.
I could always get a job. Jobs aren’t too bad, but they sometimes can be stressful and lead to an unhappy life if you choose the wrong job. A job can give you valuable experiences in workplace relations and hands-on techniques. The best thing about the job is finally making money after being a poor student for years.
I could always go to graduate school. Graduate school is interesting, depending on the field of study. There are professional graduate schools, like medical or dental educations. Then there are research degrees, like a master’s or Ph.D. in a certain area.
Every field of study has the ability to go on and get a master’s degree. The minimum requirements are usually very small with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a degree, which you should have soon enough. Master’s degrees can be cool. The school will usually pay you a stipend to spend your every waking moment dedicated to the degree and perhaps teach some snotty-nosed undergraduates a thing or two.
The biggest question of all is “how committed to an education are you?” These further degrees are fine and dandy until you realize how much time these people spend actually getting some degrees. Some research-based Ph.D.s can take upward of five years. That is a lot of time in school when you could have a job.
Medical schools take three years, plus an externship and even more if you specialize. Dental schools are about the same time frame. These students often undertake massive student loans to go to school, then spend the first 10 years of practicing trying to pay off the loans.
Now, a combination of the two is usually a good idea. There are many companies that will pay for further education if you have worked with them long enough, thus an online master’s program could be mostly, if not fully, paid for and allow room for promotion within the company.
There are many decisions to make when graduation is close, but deciding to go to professional or graduate schools is not one of them. These students have usually prepared all through their undergraduate education and have applied by their senior year for acceptance. They are dedicated and ready to go into a lot of debt.
For the rest of us, who were unsure about what to do with ourselves, just remember that there are many options. There are many things easily accomplished with some thought and strategics.