If I ever wrote an autobiography, I could probably copy and paste this piece directly (with appropriate citations, of course!) into it to describe my thoughts during my senior year. The job market, even for an electrical engineer/programmer was kind of bleak. I was constantly competing for the jobs I wanted with people who had years of experience in the field. Every time I found a job that sounded like something I really wanted, I would look down at the requirements and see “at least 5 years of experience.” Rage.
It seems like almost every person I know who has decided to go to grad school is doing it for the same reason — to find a job. Many graduates these days are finding that bachelor’s degrees aren’t enough to get the jobs they want because they’re not specific enough or because the four years in school didn’t provide them with enough real-world experience. It’s rough.
Contrast our situation with those of previous generations; it used to be that the main reasons to get a master’s degree were 1) to get a higher starting salary or 2) because your job required it. Today, it seems like higher education is no longer just a financial investment or way to climb up the proverbial vocational ladder. Lots of graduates today are finding it difficult to land a job in the first place without experience; for these people, graduate school is practically a must.
For me, grad school is a combination of these two reasons. My lack of experience has turned out to be a roadblock, yes, but at the same time, I always knew I would be returning to school to continue my education — I just didn’t expect to have to do it right away. But in the end, I’m finding that it doesn’t really matter; I’m quite looking forward to going back to school. And it will be nice to enter the field with a bit more confidence in my skills. Plus, you know, more money.
Graduate school hopefuls: what are your stories? Why have you decided to return to school? Leave a comment below!