As the summer before my final year of college goes by, I can’t help but wonder what the next step in my life will hold for me. I am experiencing the same type of excitement and anxiousness that I felt as high school graduation neared, and I’m sure that the rest of the seniors are feeling it as well. This past week my girlfriend and I took a trip to Manhattan to visit graduate schools. She plans on going to law school and I want to go to a seminary after I graduate from college. During our time at the different schools, questions such as “Where will I end up after I graduate?” and “Is graduate school worth it?” arose in my mind.
A few days after our trip to the city, I had a conversation with my cousin about what happens once college is over. He told me some alarming stories about friends of his who never found jobs in their field. He knows brilliant law school graduates working as waitresses and college alumni tending bars. He also told me some great success stories; he found a great job in his field as did a number of people he knows. The conversation was both discouraging and encouraging. It seems that there are similar chances of succeeding and failing.
Once I graduate, the next step that I plan to take is graduate school at a seminary institution. I aim to obtain a masters degree in a biblical or theological field, earn a PhD, and teach at the college level in a Christian school. I feel confident about the path I am choosing to take because it is not a very common career choice, so I will not have as much competition as would a doctor or lawyer.
One of the things about post-college studies that stands out the most to me is the financial aspect of it. My mom often tells horror stories about graduates with unbearable student loans that take decades to pay off; I do not want to end up as the subject of one of those horror stories. From what I have learned from people who have gone through studies after college, the most important things to keep in mind when considering the finances of graduate school are to plan ahead and stay realistic. Know in advance what type of salary you will expect after coming out of graduate school, and make sure your loans do not exceed that amount.
Like me, many seniors are considering graduate studies, but graduate school is not for everyone. For many people, more schooling would mean more time, effort, and money than it is worth. It is important to choose a path that will be satisfying to you in the long run, whether that means continuing your schooling or going directly into the work force.