grad school/life/job advice please!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 14, 2009 4:28 AM GMT
    Okay men, i need advice. Im currently in my final year of study at university and will graduate with a degree in criminology. I have a job i am qualified for and will most likely gain right out of school, its a government job, cant say exactly what it is online, but you get the picture. Im not sure if i'm going to be content with it however. I know i love it now and it is the ideal job for me, but who knows down the road.
    So, heres the deal, my degree is not an honours degree, its simply a major. I unfortunately did not place my goals in the right places through the years and thus did not achieve the most "ideal" of marks. Im debating returning for another years and a half of schooling to make myself eligible for grad school. In this time I could also stretch it out and finish up the 2 languages I have begun learning, French and German, and graduate with an honours double major degree in criminology and sociology with the 2 languages of course.
    It does seem like a lot of schooling and I will for sure go into debt, but it saves me from beginning a job I may not enjoy and could cause me to go back to school as an older adult.

    Advice, please. Any similar situations out there, any success/fail stories, any encouraging words? PLEASE, i'm super stressed lately and need all the help I can get.
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    Oct 14, 2009 4:41 AM GMT
    Hey! First and foremost congratulations on your accomplishments thus far.

    It sounds like you have a good plan ahead of you in order to enjoy your job to the fullest. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made to get the best out of what you really want, in this case additional debt and years of schooling. However, your plan will give you the a chance to raise your grades and graduate with honors, a thing that some employers smile upon, and as double major no less.

    You won't know what's down the road unless you take the chance to go down there. Being that confident in earning a job right out of school sounds like a good thing to me, we should all be so lucky.

    I'm sure others responding to this thread will have more if not better advice to give you, but once again congratulations and I wish you the best in your future endeavors. icon_smile.gif

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 14, 2009 4:48 AM GMT
    Hey, thanks for the first response, already feelin better from the encouragement.
    Ya the job right out of school is from my dad, its a government job but hes put me in touch with the right people and helped me to bypass many steps of the hiring process.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 14, 2009 4:51 AM GMT
    whosyourpaddy saidHey, thanks for the first response, already feelin better from the encouragement.
    Ya the job right out of school is from my dad, its a government job but hes put me in touch with the right people and helped me to bypass many steps of the hiring process.
    Networking is always a great thing, especially since you're an adult getting ready to pursue grad school.

    I'm currently attending my third college as a result of lack of focus and not believing that my career choice would be a practical one. It's taken some time, but I'm taking the neccessary steps to ensure my future. If all goes well I'll be able to get my A.A.S. in Broadcast Technology in June 2010. I plan to then work full-time, hopefully in a broadcast related field and build up enough capital to get a demo reel started as I want to attempt a career in the voice-over industry.

    The reason for getting a degree in Broadcasting Technology is so I can have a working knowledge of audio production; I'd hate not having some background in the technological side of my career choice. I may go back to school, but not until the Fall of 2010; that's assuming I don't get my "big break" between March and September of next year. Even then I have a plan to attend another college to get my B.A. in Radio and Television with a minor in theater. Or I may just settle with just the B.A. in Radio and Television as its not as time consuming and I can take up acting workshops on the side.

  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Oct 14, 2009 4:59 AM GMT
    Something to consider: many governmental jobs come with education benefits. Simply put, you might be able to take that governmental job and take one or two classes a semester as night school on the government's dime.

    In general, every non-traditional-aged student I've ever encountered (whether through taking classes with them, or teaching them) has been among the most motivated students in the classroom. They've decided that they want to take these classes, rather than sign up for them out of inertia like a lot of students do who go to college just because it's expected of them. If you're not yet set on a particular graduate degree nor a career that requires more than your criminology degree, I would recommend holding off on going into debt for more schooling beyond the bachelor's degree until you know what exactly you want to be studying, and why.
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    Oct 14, 2009 5:06 AM GMT
    Great point, MSUBio, thanks! I think it is the inertia of being a student that you mentioned that is pulling me in a certain direction. Many of my friends are going into grad school programs and it is making me feel like I should as well. I need to evaluate whether its that or its me myself that wants to go, and for the right reasons.

    Another point as well, it seems like many people i talk to who are in grad school or undergrad as well, dont seem to ever be truly happy in what they are studying or pursuing... Do we have to accept that jobs are jobs and money is the biggest pull? Or what? -- Another topic for ya'll to post to.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 14, 2009 5:15 AM GMT
    Take the government job. It's an excellent opportunity for someone right out of college. Stick with it for a few years. And if possible, go to school at the same time. Then when you're ready, you can look for other career paths.

    And just to let you know, it's "normal" for people to change jobs every 3 - 5 years. And some people change careers at least twice in their lifetime. You might not be thrilled to take the government job now, but that doesn't mean you're stuck with it the rest of your life.

    Also, I think it's a good decision in the long run. Should you ever decide to apply for another government job later in life, this experience will most likely give you an advantage in the application process.
  • kietkat

    Posts: 342

    Oct 14, 2009 5:32 AM GMT
    What exactly would you be pursuing if you went to grad school (MS or Ph.D)? and in what field?

    I got my BS in Biochemistry and went straight to work in biotech for a few years.. the pay was ok but I still felt a strong ambition to be better. So I went back to school last year for my MS in Organic Chemistry. Now finishing up and gonna do a Ph.D. for sure mostly because I find it absolutely fascinating.

    I think there needs to be some sort of passion in the subject matter to truly make a graduate experience worthwhile.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 14, 2009 6:52 AM GMT
    Take the government job.
    Words from my mother, "School will always be there."

    I always say you never really stop learning if you don't want to. I had the opportunity to take years and semesters off during my undergrad. I worked a variety of different jobs and met some amazing people that were not associated with school. Even if you take a year off and work then you probably would have a greater appreciation for going back to class. Have fun
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    Oct 14, 2009 6:55 AM GMT
    From a second year grad student- take the job and go to grad school if you desire later... Even if you didn't have connections, I'd still recommend everyone taking a break between undergrad and grad.

    If only I'd listened to people who told me the same thing lol
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    Oct 14, 2009 7:02 AM GMT
    If you put off extra schooling, make a schedule and goals. Pursuing something while you work as someone else suggested sounds like a good option. Sometimes though the longer you put off extra education the harder it gets because you get so busy.
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    Oct 14, 2009 2:28 PM GMT
    I am also an undergrad working toward my double major in psychology/ criminal justice. Finished my associates in Psychology over the summer and a year to go in my pursuits in criminal justice. Hopefully going towards my law degree, but we'll see much $$$ and years later I could change my mind, so good luck. Remember, always to fall back on what you dream of doing, irregardless of what the next person can tell you. I realize that it is a struggle especially since I"m so challenged in school with dyslexia and other challenges but I graduated as I said over the summer with a better than "B" GPA. So If I can do it, so can you. . .

    Good luck
    Continued successes

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 14, 2009 2:32 PM GMT
    From my own experience and watching many others struggle with the same question, I really think that taking a year or two before grad school is a good idea. And a lot of grad schools actually like you to have work experience.

    Good luck and congrats on getting where you are!
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Oct 14, 2009 2:37 PM GMT
    Grad School...

    Grad school is different for different subjects, but I will say this one thing...

    Grad school, for the most part, is only for those who cannot conceive of doing anything else. Especially if you go as far as a Ph.D. It is long, arduous, and painful. You will make it through based more on your stubbornness than on your smarts.

    This is not to say you shouldn't go to grad school, just that you should be aware what it entails. I'm about to get my Ph.D. in Biochemistry, after 6.5 years. That's almost 11 years of higher education, and I'm only just able to start a "real" job with real hours and real salary. Grad school means a lot, but it really doesn't mean you're smarter. It means you are stubborn, can think in certain ways, problem solve, and you're more stubborn than a two ended mule.

    If I were you, I'd be tempted to spend the extra year and a half, not for grad school but so you can finish the two languages and a second degree. Being polylingual is a big boon in mobility when it comes to the government work I'm guessing you're looking at.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Oct 14, 2009 3:10 PM GMT
    As someone who's spent as long in higher ed as DiverScience, but is still several years away from finishing due to a change in advisors and institutions 3 years into grad school (turning the first shot into an MS and restarting the PhD from scratch), I need to echo his statement:

    A PhD is only for people who can't really imagine doing something that doesn't require a PhD, whether that's running a research lab or teaching at the university level. It is almost nothing like being an undergraduate (law and medical schools are far closer to what being an undergraduate is like than a PhD is), so it's certainly not something to do just because you liked college. It is a long, frustrating road without a lot of feedback, without a clear endpoint visible from more than a few months out, and with the definite possibility that you'll sink a year or two into a project that goes nowhere because you're either unable to get some critical step to work or because the results are inconclusive or because someone else publishes essentially the same thing before you do. Stubbornness is more important to finishing than is intelligence. You will almost certainly face the Impostor Syndrome, where you'll spend a while convinced that you're a fraud and others will eventually realize you're not able to hack it even while knowing full well that essentially everyone deal with this at some point. You will end up doing a lot of very tedious work in an attempt to address your thesis questions, and at times you will realize that you could have done most of your day-to-day work back when you were 15; the years and years of good grades in classes merely qualified you to come up with the questions to ask in the first place.

    And yet, it is the only way you'll get to run a research lab or teach at the university level. If that goal is important enough to you, you'll shrug your shoulders, grit your teeth, and slog through. And those moments when your experiments work and the data is significant, or you find a great primary source that supports your thesis without having already articulated it, or whatever the currency of research is in your field will shine brightly enough to make you keep looking for the next one.

    Bottom line: if you're not completely sure of a reason to study something, don't go for the doctorate. Masters degrees can be done without complete dedication; doctorates require you to live them.
  • nadaquever_rm

    Posts: 139

    Oct 14, 2009 3:18 PM GMT
    Lots of good advice, but it seems to be premature.Whosyourpaddy isn't considering grad school now. He wrote that he wants to spend more time as an undergrad in order to finish a double major before graduating.
    That's a completely different ballgame.

    You wrote you might take another year and a half for school. Can you delay your start date with the job? 3 terms of classes is a lot of schooling- maybe 12 classes?? Taking one night class a term will take you years to complete the same amount of work.

    Are these courses really important to you? Getting into grad school with some life experience will quite possibly be easier than directly from undergrad.

    Long story short- if you really want the double major, stay in school now to finish. If they aren't absolutely necessary for your future happiness, take the job.
  • dreamer121

    Posts: 265

    Oct 14, 2009 3:20 PM GMT
    Go for the job.

    You Always have the option to go back to school. The Job Hunt sucks... especially finding one that you enjoy... I've realized, when you're young, make some not-so-bad mistakes to find out what you love... if you hate the job, put in the time, research what it would take to go back to grad school, and take that on.

    Congrats on everything so far, but I'm in a field that's not hiring right now, and its a struggle, if you have the opportunity to go work in your field in an area that interests you a little, go do it, you might not have that opportunity later. You have the future to decide if you don't like that route and want to go back to school and study something else in criminology or something else all together. Regardless, have fun with it all... Good Luck!
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16308

    Oct 14, 2009 3:26 PM GMT
    Hey congrats on your efforts. You deserve a pat on the back for making it this far...

    If it were me, I'd want to explore what I would be eligible for with the extra education. Whats the difference in what you'd get paid? What is the
    job demand for someone with that degree of education and where would those jobs be located?

    Remember, things are difficult now, but the cycle repeats, job hunting might be easier if you delay your job hunt for a couple of years.

    I'd be tempted to forgo the job now and get the education I really want. It will be more difficult to go back if you become mired in a job (and one you may not feel really suits you).

    If you find the extra education really doesn't put you in demand (more marketable for a much higher paying job), or the jobs are scarce... I'd probably go with the one you can get now.... but I'd do my homework.
    Always make informed decisions based on facts.. and of course what you really want in life. Congrats again.