QuarterLifeCrisisFilter: I've been thinking about my future career and considering going to grad school. I only have a vague idea of what I might like to study, but I know I want an advanced degree (preferably sooner rather than later). Is this a bad idea?
I turned 25 this year. Classic, right? I have a B.A. I've spent the last 5 years job hopping, moving a lot, doing random jobs that never made me much money or had much future.
I'm a seriously introverted introvert who likes lots of time alone, but years of working with the public have given me the ability to fake outgoing-ness. In a weird way, I do sort of like working with people. I like helping people learn about the human experience. I like helping people figure out how to use technology. I love to read and research, but I have the INTP
tragic flaw - my favorite approach is to read a little bit about everything, find the most interesting parts, and move on to the next topic, rather than spending an enormous amount of energy on one narrow subject. Thus I am a jack of all trades and master of none.
I would like to master a topic, but A) I'm not totally sure what I'm most interested in and B) I can venture some guesses, but none of them are the path to a career that will make me much of a living. I like the humanities - philosophy, cultural studies, media studies, history, museums, libraries, and adult education. To give you an idea, the last two books I read were The Hero With a Thousand Faces
by Joseph Campbell and Convergence Culture
by Henry Jenkins, which I found extremely fascinating.
I have worked in a library and loved it, but I know what the job market is like. I have taught college as an adjunct and loved it, but I know what the academic job market is like. I thought about journalism, but again, it's an industry that's going down.
While I respect and believe the doom and gloom prophecies of the future of libraries, higher ed, journalism, and humanities fields in general...I'm considering applying to master's programs in public history, cultural/media studies, library science, or interdisciplinary education programs (like Stanford's LDT
) - basically something that will give me credentials in a field that I might enjoy, and a stepping stone to eventually pursue a PhD and maybe try to teach.
I know there's controversy about the wisdom of going back to school, but I think I might really regret it if I don't at least TRY to pursue a career I'm genuinely interested in. I have been wanting to go to graduate school since I finished undergrad back when the economy was good. I love school, I love reading, studying, writing, and the academic environment (I know there are nasty political issues in academia, but I still somehow see myself being happy in spite of all that). I don't need lots of money. If I get an advanced degree and never land my dream job, I still don't think I would regret it. Then again, I'm only 25 and what do I know about life? So here are my questions for the hive:
1. Can you talk me in or out of my vague grad school plans or specific programs? Offer any suggestions for master's programs that incorporate my interests?
2. Have you ever regretted your advanced degree?
3. Given the state of the academic job market, I am aware that I would have to prepare myself to fail. Is a PhD in humanities or education completely useless in the real world? Especially for a flexible, hard-working, open-minded younger person?