My Terrible Mistake to Attend Graduate School
July 3, 2012 10:25 AM Subscribe
Should I leave my graduate school? Is it even worth it to get a master's degree? Long story inside.
posted by ohmansocute to Education (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had a baby at the tail end of my bachelor's degree (in Art History nonetheless) and thought it would be a wonderful idea to attend graduate school. (If you search my previous questions you'll see how I've struggled with the decision.)
I basically wanted a good, steady job in something I cared about, and thought that historic preservation would fit the bill. So i applied and got into a program that promised a lot of things, such as more hands on preservation workshops and a coursework in sustainability as it pertains to old buildings and homes. I guess I came into the program thinking I would find my niche really fast, and have yet to do so. The program, in reality, has a real focus on academia as the director of the program is basically just a scholar and has done not much more in his life than write books about architectural history. The hands on work that has been offered has been really disappointing, and others in the program will second my sentiment. Also, the program has doubled, even tripled its enrollment since I entered, which maxes out our facility capacity, as well as puts a major strain on the instructors (who, I might add, are ALL adjuncts, there is one tenured and that is the director).
Ok, so there's my beef with the program. Not totally a big deal. However, there is no funding for the program at my sports centered university, so I've footed the bill with student loans. I was inches from getting a teaching fellowship but didn't get any of the ones I applied and interviewed for. The first 6-7 months of the program I was alone with my toddler while my partner worked out of state, and he has since found employment in town, but it really put a huge strain on my mental state that I am still recovering from.
Forward to now: I have had to find a job myself, one where I could work nights and avoid daycare. So I got a job in a super popular cake shop, and have recently been hired at a craft beer tap house. I can't help but feeling I should just finish my master's degree so i don't feel like I'm going backwards in my life (I'm 26). I've held professional admin positions before, but am not wanting to foot a daycare bill and be away from my daughter 50+ hours a week, which would also cancel out any opportunity for me to finish my degree if I decided I wanted to. However, I'm still unsure what I want to do with my life, although I've spent a lot of money on my education (please don't bash me for that, there's not a whole lot I can do). I'd love to get a degree in something in the medical field, but financial aid won't cover a post bacc and I've maxed out my undergrad loans.
So, should I suck it up and finish my masters, or go in a different direction and cut my losses? I'm willing to move laterally into a different field that is in demand and have the drive to teach myself, I just don't know what it would be. Also, I should note, that my grades have been less than stellar (still passing) due to the strains of raising a toddler.