North Texas Daily

The pressures of going to graduate school

The pressures of going to graduate school

The pressures of going to graduate school
June 21
18:01 2017

As a journalism major, many people have asked me, “Why?” A lack of pay, when compared to other fields, and a resulting lack of living stability are some of the reasons they tell me I didn’t make the right decision or why I should change majors.

Another thing I hear is how I should go to graduate school.

Graduate school would add more to my student loan debt, and many suggest there is no point in going if you are a journalist, or will go if they can’t find a job within a certain amount of months after graduation.

Four years of college already causes emotional, physical and mental strains on students, and so would another round of college. But parents who successfully finished a graduate education can rarely understand this.

For instance, my dad graduated with a UNT business degree in 1985 and began graduate school a few years ago to move up in his career. Those entering graduate school all hope that will be the case.

Students who feel pressured by family or employers should not cave in by default, especially if they don’t want to. As long as you are happy, keep doing what you’re doing. Graduate school should always be an option, but never something to do just because you were told to.

A popular opinion from the mature market – which comprises of baby boomers and generations prior – is how lazy and uneducated millennials are. Studies have also shown millennials, with and without a college degree, remain unemployed. According to Student Loan Hero, the nation currently owes “over 1.4 trillion in student loan debt.” It makes unfortunate sense considering education is practically a necessity for us, rather than the privilege previous generations treated it as.

After beating the odds over the course of four years to earn a degree, is going to graduate school and drowning in more debt even worth it? The 2013 unemployment rate for people with master’s degrees was 3.4 percent, which was only 0.6 less than people with bachelor’s degrees, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

At the same time, if you are pursuing a career as a doctor, lawyer or anything of the sort, graduate school benefits you almost immediately. A 2015 Washington Post article compared 10 common career choices with the amount of loans a student pulls, how much money they could make and how much money they will realistically make. While journalism was classified a lower income profession, many of those majors may even not consider graduate school due to the loan return rates.

As a journalism major, I am considering a master’s degree. Not because I feel pressured to, but because I want to and I know the future may require it.

That said, the fear of paying off more loans during a post-graduate career still looms ahead for a lot of students. A personal fear of mine would be not to move up in my field, or to move up but make the same amount of money. Although I believe in the mantra of “Oh, I’ll probably not make much, but I’m happy with where I’m at,” I’m still slightly anxious about the aftermath if I take that path.

No, I will not change my major. Yes, I’m a millennial who doesn’t know what the future holds. However, I continue to love and value my education and career choice. Regardless of what anyone says, you should make the right decision for you.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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1 Comment

  1. Bird4
    Bird4 June 22, 16:29

    Well said Ms. Falcon!
    A Proud ? Grandfather!!

    Reply to this comment

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