Is it best to continue my career in academia, or take a different path?
December 13, 2013 5:00 PM Subscribe
I am a 25 year old woman, and handing in my thesis tonight for a Master’s in English. I am at a crossroads in my life, and it’s making me very confused. My original plan was to go on to complete a Ph. D and become a college professor of English, while working as an adjunct instructor to gain teaching experience. But with the expense of living being what it is, as well as the student debt I’m in, I’m not sure if it’s worth it. Not only will a Doctoral program take me to greater debt, but working as an adjunct wont pay very well at all, and doesn’t come with benefits. I would need to take a handful of other part-time jobs to supplement the adjunct salary, just to pay the bills.
posted by summertimesadness1988 to Education (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Also, graduate school brought me a lot of stress: although I feel like I gained a lot of knowledge and writing/communication skills, the research and work load stressed me out beyond words. I had persistent headaches, and gained a ton of weight from emotional eating.
My other option would be find an administrative job at a college or university: as an admissions counselor, academic advisor, writing center coordinator, etc. That would pay a stable salary and come with benefits, and I can still fulfill my desire to work in higher education and make a difference in the life of students. If I chose this path, I would still try to teach, but the adjunct work would just be a hobby on the side, one or two nights a week. This path would also leave time for me to take care of my health and eventually raise a family.
The administrative job as a career path sounds like a good plan to me, but I cannot shake off the feeling that if I don’t even try teaching or attempt at Ph. D, I’m going to feel like I sold out for a clichéd 9-5 job, and took the easy way out. In this economy, becoming a full time professor is a long shot even with a Ph.D, but I’m scared that if I don’t even try, I’m always going to wonder what could’ve been, and where such a path would’ve taken me.
So, I’m confused as to which path would be best for me, and am looking for sincere advice in terms of where to go from here. Do I follow my dream as it was since I was 20 and see where it takes me? Or do I alter my dream for more job security and less stressful lifestyle?