Last weekend, I traveled back to Missouri to attend my Master’s graduation ceremony and to celebrate with friends and family. At the same time, my email has been bombarded with requests for articles on “Why getting your degree is overrated,” and “Is it really worth it to get your graduate degree?” At first glance, it seems like most people take the stance that the financial commitment outweighs the benefits such a degree can offer. Yet, I find myself taking a different view-point. Sure, it takes considerable financial investment, but there are numerous advantages to getting your graduate degree.
For me personally, getting my Master’s widened the job pool for positions that I wouldn’t have even been able to apply for if I hadn’t gone to graduate school. In the three years it took me to finish the degree, I obtained a Director-level position and more than doubled my salary. I know this isn’t true for all fields (for example, the wage you receive in a non-profit with a bachelor’s degree isn’t all that varied from what you’ll receive with a Master’s degree), but generally speaking I believe you have to spend money to make money.
However, there are a lot of non-financial benefits that perhaps, given their pricelessness, outweigh the financial benefit. Not only did I get to become an expert in a field that I love but I gained a skill set I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to master on my own. Sure, I love data analysis and I’m good at program evaluation but I wouldn’t have known how to design research studies or know how to prove or disprove that programs are in fact making a difference in the lives of the people they’re intended to affect. I learned an invaluable skill set that not a lot of people are trained in, which makes me a critical asset to the field I work in. No one can ever take that away from me. I guess what they say is true: knowledge is power.
In the end, choosing to get your graduate degree is a personal decision, but for me, it was totally worth it. In a sense, I understand how it can be a bit overrated but I also don’t think we should dissuade people from bettering themselves career-wise. I had never been more proud of myself walking across that stage to receive my diploma. It was empowering and my commitment to the program has had such a positive impact on my life. Even though I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement of friends and family, it reminded me that hard work and tenacity pay off. I loved being able to share that feeling with those who I care about most. Here are a few photos of one wild and crazy night, although it doesn’t encompass everyone I got to see (still waiting to get photos from others!).
Congratulations to all the other graduates out there and for those still in their program, keep on keeping on!
On a completely unrelated note to this post, I am writing an article on what’s different about dating in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. I created an anonymous survey and it’s short (5 questions)! Please take a moment to provide your feedback here. The more responses, the better the insight, the better the article!