no seriously, is this masters worth it?
April 22, 2012 9:05 AM Subscribe
Help me make a decision I keep circling over again and again -- interdisciplinary masters that lets me do some cool research now, or continuing to work/exist in desired city and a more professional and/or appropriate MA/PHd in the next year or two?
posted by elephantsvanish to education (5 answers total)
Option A: Interdisciplinary social sciences masters. This program is very much "you get what you put into it," but I've made some contacts and started doing some reading and realize this is an awesome opportunity to shift fields, take fascinating classes, and do the kind of research I want to do. I fought for half funding, which means, combined with an AmeriCorps Ed award and some parental support, I will only pick up a modest sized bundle of debt (9-12k) after the year program is over.
Option B: Currently I do AmeriCorps at a public library and work evenings/overnights at a homeless shelter. I love both gigs. I won't continue AmeriCorps because it isn't a sustainable way to be part of an organization for me -- the money, and also the lack of power/staying presence in a group gets to me, although I would take my job as a hired position in an instant. However, I am just getting into the swing of things at the shelter, and would love to stay on. There's a chance I could move from general shelter work to case management over time, which would be huge for me personally, as I'm trying to feel out a career in social work/counseling/possibly being a therapist?/etc. I could also work a fun or interesting part-time job (i've always wanted to be a barista, and i would love a little gig that has to do with writing or radio). this year has been super-rewarding but trying in terms of energy and money, and so the concept of having a second year that is a bit more settled financially and with more breathing room to explore is really really appealing.
So of these two options, what leaps out to you all? I know that I want to work with/for people, and that I'm happy if I'm being challenged a lot. I think something like a counseling psychology PhD might be really desirable in a few years, but right now, I'm still trying to piece together what "social' and "community engaged" means for me (do I want to be a librarian? I definitely love teaching classes at the library, and urban spaces in general). i know the general logic about MA's is that if you're paying for one and there's not a super-direct rationale, it may not be worth it. however, this MA would give me a lot of room to explore my interests and parlay some solid research experiences into one of several careers (sociologist?) down the line. perhaps a year of academic intensity would feel very good after a year of vocational intensity. on the other hand, i personally value self-learning and free learning highly, and part of me wants to delay expensive grad-school style endeavors until there's a real pragmatic reason (i.e. i do fall in love with social work and want my MSW, i decide i want to be a counselor or psychologist, etc.)
(the subtext to me writing is that i'm about 95% committed to the MA, but now i'm starting to think that i'm being a little unreasonable with myself and would be quite happy and productive staying here! but i have this anxiety about not pushing myself enough that's kind of messing with that)
thank you for any thoughts! sorry this is so muddled, but I hope this can be of value to others in a similar spot