OPINION: Resume boost of graduate school may not be worth financial strain

Senior year has finally come and the fear for my future has come along with it. Finally, being in my last year of college, the completely unknown world I face after making it across the stage has begun to consume my mind.

With the thoughts of the unknown roaming my mind regularly, I began to see graduate school in my future. Keep in mind; I had previously said I did not want to go to graduate school anytime soon.

Should I go? Will I benefit from it? Can I afford it? These questions have not left my thoughts since this journey into my “what if?” future began. I feel as though I have been in a constant state of anxiety and overtaken with the “I am not good enough” rhetoric.

In this day and age, getting an undergraduate degree is almost too costly to happen. It makes you wonder if, after paying for a bachelor’s degree, going back for a master’s degree is worth it. Only 12 percent of adults in the United States have a master’s degree, according to the Urban Institute.

I have struggled to try to pay for my undergraduate degree, which I am beginning to feel is not enough to secure me a job in seven months. I don’t think going to get my masters will benefit me as much as I hope, but at the same time, I am scared I will lack necessary skills in my field without it.

I think grad school is something people do when they can’t find a job in the field in which they got their undergraduate degree in. Hey, some people like school, but in today’s world, the cost to continue is too much for some to bear.

“If I had gotten a job before grad school, I probably wouldn’t have decided to enroll at this time,” said Eric Henry, a graduate student at DePaul. “But maybe I would’ve later. I like school and I like learning, and there are many things that interest me. But I felt dependent on going to grad school this time around.”

For students, I think that with being in school for so many years and then graduating without a job offer in sight, a lot of negative thoughts can begin to impact judgment.

Students are so used to being in school and when nothing is coming from the millions of LinkedIn applications they’ve submitted, getting back into a school routine seems right, so why not go back to school?

Rick Brown, a journalism professor at DePaul, said getting a master’s degree is only a must for those who didn’t get what they needed as an undergraduate student, specifically in journalism.

“For whatever reason as undergraduates, they didn’t take the courses they needed to really do what they now decided they want to do for a career,” Brown said. “But if your undergraduate program was really good, do you really need to go to grad school?”

That is a question I have continued to ask myself regularly. Sometimes I think I am only doing it as a way to see more places — applying to schools in areas I haven’t been ­—or I genuinely think I am so unbelievably bad at what I want to do that the only thing that’ll help me succeed after the school year is up, is grad school.

The cost alone is a terrifying thought, but maybe it will pay off in the long run. Brown said getting a master’s degree will not hurt you – besides the student debt, of course.

DePaul grad student Sean McNealy used grad school as a clutch during a difficult time.

“I felt grad school was a way for me to climb out of that terrible slump and prove to myself I could complete a goal,” he said. “It was a motivational and I felt like it gave me a purpose.”

Despite giving him purpose, McNealy still believes graduate school is not necessary to be a journalist, which is his area of study in grad school.

I think McNealy is right. I wholeheartedly don’t think grad school is necessary, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Will I apply to grad school? Yes. Will I actually go? Who knows.

Us stressed seniors who are missing the confusion of freshman year and a meal plan are holding tightly onto hope. I hope that the hard work we just put in for four – or however many – years will be enough to land us a job that provides a sense of stability that will be lost.

I keep thinking back to what Brown said about how getting a masters won’t hurt you. I like the thought of saying I have a masters, but do I like it enough to shell out another 40 thousand to say it? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.