Okay for no apparent reason other than I'm in the mood, I'm going to post a thread about Why Not to Go to Graduate School Right after College:
1. You will make a lot more friends from a lot more fields and walks of life if you just get out there and work for a couple of years. At grad school you will socialize with ppl in your chosen profession. Which is great. But you want *other* kinds of friends, too.
2. Speaking of which, do you *really* want to get married, or partner for life, with someone in your exact profession? I know that works for a lot of ppl but there are a LOT of advantages to choosing an SO from a different profession.
(Just simple diversity of conversational topics, for example. I mean, do you want to come home for the rest of your life and talk about the same g--damn things you were talking about at your job all day long?!?! Don't you want to be exposed to a whole other set of stuff?
(Not to mention: If you marry within your field, be prepared for Competition and Rivalry. It happens to the best of couples. Even if you don't have that, there may be times when you are up for the same job, grant, prize, etc. Yikes!)
3. What about burnout? Even if you know for sure what you want to do for a living, even if you know you'll be great at it, I ask you: How early in your career do you want to burn out? If you answer, "Younger than 35," then go ahead and go to grad school right after college.
4. Doing something different between undergrad and grad school -- ANYTHING different from your major and future professional field -- allows parts of your brain/personality to take a rest and activates/awakens other parts of your brain/personality to wake up & grow.
5. You'll become more well-rounded if you get a couple of years of work experience at literally anything besides your chosen eventual profession. And this breadth of skills will HELP you in your chosen profession. B/c you will be able to see stuff & do stuff from many angles.
6. What about your sense of self-confidence as an adult, your ability to exist outside of school? You get that by *being outside of school.* Grad school may seem like adulting but in my experience, all school is infantilizing to some extent.
7. I say this an educator: Don't go straight through from college to grad school. You will be fresher, more energized abt your profession, w more diverse skills *and* social networks, if you take some time in between. Do anything else!! Anything is better than nonstop studenting.
8. How long a break? MINIMUM 2 years, I say. Don't take my word for it. Go find ppl who are in grad school for the degree you want, find ones that took a break, and find ones that went straight through. Eval how committed vs. burned out they are. Get a feel for the differences.
9. What should you do in between? Depends. If you like yr family move back home and do some low-paying but fun s--t, some artistic/cultural s--t. Or go to a resort & be a seasonal worker. Or travel & work for cash under the table. Or get a "real" job + pay down yr college debt.
10. Btw as someone who works w/a lot of aspiring arts/culture undergrads, I think taking the couple years after you graduate to do the low-paying jobs in those fields are super impt. B/c you never know, maybe you'll start getting somewhere in that career, w/o an MA/MFA!!
11. Have I seen ppl go straight through and be super-successful? Yes, I've seen several. But more cases than not are just TIRED, by 35. Tired of the thing they went to grad school for, even though they love it + are great at it! Who can blame them?
12. Grad school can feel like a safety net. Like you have "someplace to go" after college. It feels risky to leave the school thing altogether. But there is risk to doubling down on one profession in yr early 20s, too. Risk to being a monoperson rather than a multiperson.
13. I myself took a long break (8 yrs) and rly benefitted from it and could tell you my story. But I won't b/c you should go do your own inquiries. Talk to ppl who are grad students, junior, and senior level in your desired profession. Ask them abt this. What do they suggest?
14. I think the majority, probably the *vast* majority, will tell you what I am telling you: DO NOT go straight from college to grad school. Do anything different. Develop different/new skills and contacts. Surprise yourself. Learn abt diff paths.
15. If, years later, you decide, YAH I really want to go to grad school for The Thing I wanted to before, and now I feel refreshed and ready and psyched, then GREAT, you will do great in grad school! But btw, lots of ppl change their minds during the break, for great reasons!!
16. Taking a break between undergrad and grad will help you get a sense of what profession you really want. BEFORE you committed several years of your life to a profession that your 22-yr-old self thought was a great fit. Your older self will know you, + what you need, better!!!
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