Boredom is not a legit reason to go to grad school.
Grad school can be a necessary and even beautiful thing if done for the right reasons, which might include advancing a career or gaining valuable knowledge. But just like all good things, it can go bad fast if done for the wrong reasons. If you’re thinking of going to grad school for one of the reasons below, you might want to think again.
The “I couldn’t think of anything better to do” mindset doesn’t really work in grad school for a few reasons.
For one, you just won’t survive. According to Stockton College’s career center website, “Graduate programs are intense and demand that a student commit most of his/her time and energy to the study of a specific academic area.” Think boredom is a good enough motivation for that? Probably not.
Second, it’s expensive. If you’re bored, there are plenty of other hobbies that will save you thousands of dollars, like hang gliding, Netflix or yoga.
Lastly, it’s not fair to your professors or fellow students to be in school out of boredom. They take academics seriously. Professors put in hard work to ground students in the subject and craft. Don’t waste their time.
2. To impress someone
I get it. I’ve been tempted to tell a girl I’m in grad school to impress her, too. But actually attending grad school just to impress someone is a bit desperate.
If it’s to impress your parents or friends, that might be a different story. There no doubt exists a desire within most of us to make our parents proud and for people to respect us. But before jumping into the strenuous commitment of a graduate program, it’s probably worth noting that these people probably love you despite your accomplishments. And if they don’t, you might have bigger things to worry about than grad school.
Be yourself, follow your goals and the people who care about you will be impressed, with or without that grad school diploma.
3. To postpone the real world
One of the definitions of grad school by UrbanDictionary.com is “a way of putting off entering the real world.” And while this is obviously in a joking matter, doesn’t it sound familiar? Van Wilder. The pope character in Blue Like Jazz. Some of your friends, maybe. It’s a glorified idea in Hollywood but a sad one in reality.
Sometimes in life, you just have to accept that the dream is over. Being the 30-year-old at a party of 18-year-olds seems like one of these times. The real world is scary. But it’s only going to become more scary the longer you put it off. It’s like putting the real world on a pedastal that gets higher and higher each year you postpone entering it.
Also, imagine the debt you’ll be in after college. According to a recent article in the the Wall Street Journal, the average grad student graduates with $43,524 of debt. And if you’re doing law or medical school, expect more, sometimes twice as much.
Why accumulate more debt just to postpone the real world? You’ll be in a worse situation when you finally finish grad school.
4. To follow a girl/guy
This isn’t Legally Blonde. If the love of your life is getting away, there’s no reason in the universe to attend the same school as him/her. Keeping a close watch on someone is not romantic, it’s clingy and potentially creepy.
The most obvious alternative is moving to the same city but not attending the same school. This is more than sufficient for maintaining or fostering a romantic relationship. If you don’t trust your significant other while he/she is away in class, then perhaps you should reconsider the relationship, since trust is essential in relationships.
Thankfully, my unbelief in “the one” has saved me from attempting this. But if you really believe this guy or gal is the one, it’ll happen even if you’re not in every single one of his or her grad school classes, watching his or her every move.
5. To suffer
If you’re a masochist and desire pain, then grad school will provide plenty of it.
Adam Ruben’s book Surviving Your Stupid Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School attests to this, with the Amazon book description describing grad students as “suffering, unshaven sad sacks.” But there are cheaper, less time-consuming ways to suffer than attending grad school, like listening to the band Nickelback.
Good reasons for attending grad school, such as knowledge and career-building, will ensure a much better grad school experience. Consider all your motives before taking the leap.
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