So you’ve completed your undergraduate degree, congratulations! You probably want to take a minute to relish your accomplishments and catch up on sleep, but the incessant “What are you going to do with your life?” line of questioning from your family, peers, and that sweet cashier Dulce from the supermarket down the street won’t let you.
When is the Right Time to Pursue Your Masters Degree?
For most people, the next steps are either: a) to look for full-time employment or b) go onto further education. The good news is that ultimately it is YOUR decision to make.
In my case, I went for options: c) get married right after final year exams and d) move to a different continent. My parents were after me to start my graduate studies as soon as the moving vans had gone but of course I had other plans. I did eventually go on to complete my Masters degree nine years on, and I personally believe this was the best time it could have happened for me.
Please Note: The following observations are from my own experiences as well as those of people around me who I’ve spoken to at length about this topic.
5 Reasons Why Putting off your Masters Education is Possibly the Best Idea Ever
1. Wait, what?!? I NEVER hated the taste of avocados…
Over time people change. It is very likely that the person you were when you first graduated from university with your bachelor’s is very different to the person you’ve grown to become. Priorities might have shifted and new interests cultivated during that time which could lead you down a completely different path. A real-life example is a close friend who did a 180 degree turn and went from working (miserably) in HR for a couple of years to completing a Masters in Occupational Therapy which has become her true life’s passion. If she had gone onto further education straight away she quite possibly would never have discovered this amazing path.
2. Research research research
You’re more likely to have thoroughly researched your options and err, excuse the pun, done your homework regarding programs, schools and courses. The choice you make will depend on your goals and career objectives. Would you be interested in a more research-centric program or a taught program? Do you need to cultivate a deeper understanding of a specific area of knowledge, or is your preference to gain insight into a brand new area of study? The more time you have to explore your options, the more things you’ll be able to consider ahead of time ensuring you make the best decision for yourself.
3. You’re less likely to be in debt
Remember the feeling when you were finally able to pay off that student loan from 5 years ago? Even if the full amount is yet to be paid off, it is likely to be a lot less than when you first began paying it off. Who doesn’t want financial freedom? Also, chances are you’ve begun working and have managed to put aside some savings, maybe even made a few investments. Whatever the case, financially you’re probably in a better position and without the burden you carried during your undergrad years. With leaders like Jeremy Corbyn generously offering to wipe out student debt, this section isn’t really necessary for my British friends. Oops, seems he’s now gone back on his promise, sorry mates.
4. Time for #travel
Most of us are familiar with the term ‘gap year’. I never quite understood how that concept wasn’t universally used for breaks in all levels of education. In the 9 years between my undergraduate and graduate studies, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel extensively. While my counterparts were starting families and worrying about promotions, I was living a gloriously free-spirited wanderlusty existence. Not that I’ve been cured of the travel bug, far from it. If you were to postpone both, the probability that you’ll eventually go to graduate school is much higher than that of you travelling. No need for fancy statistics here, just ask those around you. My advice, dear friends, would be to go forth and conquer, seize the day, live in the moment and all the other cliché oldies but goodies.
5. The company will pay your tuition
Yes that’s right, you can pass your educational costs onto someone else! Oftentimes, the company you work for will pay for your further education as this is seen as an investment in their future as well as yours. Employee benefits such as Education incentives help employers reduce turnover and save on recruitment costs. Work hard to convince your employer of the value your education will bring to the company and you’re less likely to face resistance. Being proactive really pays off and my advice would be to take advantage of all the professional development opportunities your company has to offer its employees.
In the end, there is no wrong decision and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next. Life is short, do you boo. And do it well.