Should I take on significant debt in pursuit of a Classics PhD?
April 8, 2008 2:27 PM Subscribe
I've been accepted to a Classics PhD program, and I can't decide whether to go or not.
It's a good second-tier program, and the research interests of a number of the faculty line up almost exactly with my own, something that was remarked upon a number of times when I spoke with them. When I got the letter of acceptance, I was thrilled.
Here, of course, is the catch: funding. I'm on the funding wait-list at the moment, and the deadline for my decision is April 15th. The possibility exists that I could end up with full funding at the last minute, but I'm operating under the assumption that I won't.
Now, since I already have an MA (in Classics and Comp Lit), I think I can shave a couple classes off the coursework, and I should be able to finish that within 2.5 years. Without any funding, however, this comes to roughly $90k for tuition alone.
I really want to do this. Really really really. I've been wanting to get a PhD in Classics since high school, as odd as that may sound. Yet my girlfriend, my parents and a number of my friends have warned me about getting into such debt. It is, I realize, a huge obligation. The chances of my making much money at all after graduation is essentially nil.
Yet I don't know what else I want to do with my life. I would be incredibly disappointed in myself if I simply walked away from this offer because I couldn't afford it. "Lots of people," I tell myself, "have taken on massive student debt and ended up more-or-less OK." Other people around me insist differently, especially with as non-lucrative a field as Classics.
I should add, I've been accepted at another school, but the offer is without funding at all, and the cost would be roughly the same.
So, I'm stymied. My personal inclination is to accept and take on the debt as best I can. The voice of reason, however, is telling me otherwise. Any ideas? Suggestions? Thoughts?