Straight to Graduate School or Take a Break?

  • dh__

    Posts: 143

    Sep 03, 2009 3:32 AM GMT
    planning to graduate in spring and wondering whether I should grin and bear it go straight through to master's
    OR
    take a break explore the world outside academia.

    Pros: get more money by finishing school faster
    ////
    Have an adventure, i mean you're only young once right?
    opinions, stories, much appreciated.
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    Sep 03, 2009 4:05 AM GMT
    I say get you masters started. Then see what the real world is like and travel or do something you always wanted to do Then go back to school and complete your degree. After your adventure you may have a better idea of what you want to do with that degree, or change your focus altogether.
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    Sep 03, 2009 4:49 AM GMT
    My experience is a hybrid answer...I took classes part-time while I worked for four years after graduating with a bachelor's degree...then, after I saw the world a little bit more, I felt so much more motivated to enter into my first graduate program. That's my two cents...good luck...to each his own!
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Sep 03, 2009 7:23 AM GMT
    Get your masters.
    Years from now, you'll be glad you did it.
    Taking a break runs the very real risk that you'll put it off for too long, or not do it at all.
  • Latenight30

    Posts: 1525

    Sep 03, 2009 12:16 PM GMT
    go go now. the job market sucks. if you don't go now you might not get back into it.
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    Sep 03, 2009 12:21 PM GMT
    Go for graduate school!
    as soon as I finish my undergraduate year, I'd like to be attending medical school the next semester. icon_biggrin.gif
    If you plan to take a vacation for a semester, then you might want to end up volunteering/intern/research... that way when you go for interviews and they asked you why you took a break, you'll have a good reason for it.
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    Sep 03, 2009 12:28 PM GMT
    Get some experience first. I work with graduate students and those that get their masters right out of undergrad usually (unless they are absolutely sure of their fields and know what they've wanted to do since birth) feel a little lost at the end of it, and they don't have as much life experience to contribute in class.

    I can't tell you who many students I've had in my office who have just spent 2 or so years in grad school to just figure out at the end of it that they don't want to do what they've just spent so much time studying. Also, many go to grad school just because they can't figure out what to do next. Not a good idea.
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    Sep 03, 2009 12:51 PM GMT
    I would start the masters program...wait too long and you may never begin...at the very least you could do the program part time if the traveling itch really needs to be scratched...a little bit of travel and a little bit of school...but I would not hesitate to start grad school
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    Sep 03, 2009 12:52 PM GMT
    I would start the master's program. I waited, and at times I wish I hadn't.
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    Sep 03, 2009 12:53 PM GMT
    I'm going to jump in against the grain.

    I took a break between highschool and undergrad to satisfy my wanderlust and was happy I did for 4 reasons


    1. I honestly don't think I'd have made it into my final year if I had gone straight in so many of my friends dropped out of my course.

    2. The programs wouldn't have been available to me and i wouldn't have the necessary maturity to make a good enough application to get in school out in UCSD

    3. I would have been too narrowly focused on academics to make a good application and tackle the aptitude tests for grad med.

    4. I would have graduated 3 months ago.... I think I'll be better off graduating in 10 months time with the current economic climate
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    Sep 03, 2009 1:02 PM GMT
    dh__ saidplanning to graduate in spring and wondering whether I should grin and bear it go straight through to master's
    OR
    take a break explore the world outside academia.

    Pros: get more money by finishing school faster
    ////
    Have an adventure, i mean you're only young once right?
    opinions, stories, much appreciated.


    What field?
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    Sep 03, 2009 1:03 PM GMT
    From the dozens of people I have known to wait, very few actually have gone back.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Sep 03, 2009 1:12 PM GMT
    It depends on both you and your field. I can tell you that I've been surprised in my grad school experience to find I'm one of only a handful of students to have never been outside of school, to the point that even when I ended up switching schools due to one of my main advisors leaving my first school 3 years into my degree I'm still among the younger members of my cohort at my current school.

    There are good reasons to take time off: notably, many students are either unsure of what exactly they want to be doing, or are feeling burned out at the end of college and want a year or two to regroup. This also allows them to not have to deal with applying for the next school while they're still enrolled in the current one, which can take a lot of time in the final year. There are also good reasons to go directly from undergrad, most notably that many people very quickly get used to the idea of disposable income and nights/weekends without work, and that makes going back to school very difficult.
  • dh__

    Posts: 143

    Sep 03, 2009 1:19 PM GMT
    UFJocknerd said

    What field?


    Theater
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 03, 2009 1:41 PM GMT
    Take it from someone who went straight to grad school... DEFER IF YOU CAN!
    Grad school is not just a continuation of college. I learned this the hard way.
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    Sep 03, 2009 1:52 PM GMT
    Go to school. I took a break and found the transition back into school to be very difficult. In fact, I hated graduate school as a result. It's like training for a marethon. You are in the best shape right now to do it.
  • groundcombat

    Posts: 945

    Sep 03, 2009 2:27 PM GMT
    My (biased) two cents:

    Take a little break. Not only do you probably deserve one, it helps you figure out what you like or don't like about your field before you invest more time and money into pursuing it. Travel, work, but most importantly mature in the meantime.

    There probably is some value in the argument that if you wait you might not ever go back. In which case, it probably wasn't that important to you or your career after all.

    I studied mechanical engineering and waited 5 years before starting my law degree.
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    Sep 03, 2009 2:29 PM GMT
    Take a break and get some experience. I know for business school a lot of business programs require some work experience to even get accepted into the masters program or they would at least prefer you have some real world work experience. Everyone I have talked to in my industry has told me to wait a year or two. So that is what I am doing and I am fortunate enough to have landed a good job.
  • torontoguy222...

    Posts: 410

    Sep 03, 2009 2:31 PM GMT
    I will likely just pursue my Masters straight after I've done my undergrad next June. I feel like if I stop now and take a break, I might not go back!
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Sep 03, 2009 2:37 PM GMT
    I went straight through, and I'm glad I did it. It was hell on earth, but if had stopped after undergrad I might not have ever gone back...
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    Sep 07, 2009 3:05 PM GMT

    Looks like I'm in a definite minority here, but I would consider seriously taking a year off to do something that matters to you.

    I had a year off in between graduating from college and starting grad school. I know that has led some people not to go on with their graduate degrees, but it may be fair to question their commitment to the degree if they could be so completely pushed off going back to school.

    I found grad school grueling and was glad to go into it refreshed and recharged.

    Also, the employment picture is not likely to improve any time very soon so the opportunity cost of a year off or a year in school is relatively low.
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    Sep 07, 2009 4:08 PM GMT
    What is your heart telling you? You can read some really great, but differing opinions here all with good reasoned advice. Take it all in and then take a look inside yourself and you may (probably) will find you already know the answer. I waited because it was the right thing for me and it turned out just right.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Sep 07, 2009 5:15 PM GMT
    So take a break if you're getting your masters in Theater (M.F.A?) I originally was going to get my M.F.A. right out of undergrad, but took a year off when NYU decided to give me no funding. I hated it at the time, but I moved to Austin and had some of the most memorable experiences of my life. You're not an adult with understanding of the world until you're in the real world, working a job, paying your rent, and there is no such thing a summer break. The experience is more valuable than a masters can ever bestow. Furthermore, the work I am currently creating in my MFA is far more intelligent and centered because of my taking time off to just be a person. Art is not devoid of life, and if you're gonna accurately portray it, you have to live it first.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 07, 2009 5:27 PM GMT
    Just go for it - it will probably be an inconvenience to start it later so just bust through; i waited two years and now I'm thinkin, geez, I could have been done by now.

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    Sep 07, 2009 5:33 PM GMT
    It took me forever to get through school. Lots of adventures and tangents along the way. I wouldn't recommend following my lead, but a little break isn't a bad idea either. I think it comes down to what you want. If, in your heart, you just want to push through your studies - you're passionate, motivated, on a roll - then I say keep going. But don't let external pressure, etc. make the decision for you. Don't look back one day and say, "damn, I wish I'd taken a year or two off to pursue a dream." Do what feels right and don't over-think it. School isn't going anywhere.