I just recently retired my 6 year-old Apple Macbook (RIP buddy) and traded it in for a new Macbook Air. Since the beginning of tech time, there has been an eternal tech war about Macs vs. PCs. I had that battle myself Continue reading
I can’t believe that I am 10 weeks into the semester already! Time flies by very quickly when I am jumping from one place to another at IU: work, class, homework and social activities. As a third-semester grad student, I am always surprised by how I am still struggling with my work-life balance. I can be a machine and keep working for hours. Yet, sometimes, I need to learn when to take a break. Fortunately, fall is a great time for breaks (and distractions). Fall is a time for Continue reading
Through my assistantship, I am fortunate to have a stipend. However, I am not rolling around in cash, and my stipend is just enough to feed me, house me, and have a little lift for entertaining me (movies, dinners with friends, and yes, shopping). Yet, I have to be Continue reading
Nature, art, and microbrews are just a few minutes away in Nashville, IN. This quaint little town is located about 15-20 minutes west of Bloomington in Brown County. I especially love going to Nashville, IN Continue reading
And on Saturday, the graduate gods said, “Let there be socializing!”
Graduate school can be a difficult balance between academics, professional, and personal responsibilities. My life, right now, is going to class half a day, going to work at my assistantship in the other half of the day, and then taking care of myself after 5 p.m.–working out, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and studying. I feel like I am constantly on the move 5 days of the week! But it is just as important Continue reading
A shot from Waikiki Beach during a Hawaii recruiting trip in Fall 2011. Photo taken by Stephanie Nguyen.
I remember asking this question to different people–alums, faculty, and advisers– when I was a senior in undergrad. Each answer I received was different from another. In other words, there isn’t a right answer to this question, and it really depends on a few factors:
- The industry/field you are interested in actually NEEDS people with professional/higher degrees.
- If you want to teach in college.
- If you want to contribute original academic research.
- How burnt out you are from school (and yes, this is a factor!)
So the best answer for me was entering into the workforce. I had a great time in college–I double majored (marketing and piano performance); I studied abroad; and I was very involved in clubs and student government. But by senior year, I was a pretty burnt out. To me, the idea of doing two to seven more years of school was as dreadful as getting my teeth pulled at the dentist.
I worked three years for my alma mater as an admissions counselor, and boy, did I have a lot of fun! A few things I loved about working:
- There’s no homework!
- You get paid for your work!
- Saving (or spending) your new found paycheck!
- You can focus on your hobbies!
- Traveling on the company’s dime!
- Meeting new people!
Besides having fun, I learned professional skills like supervising, advising, and budgeting. Most importantly, I learned more about myself both as a person and as a professional. Personally, I used my free time to become a half-marathoner runner and to volunteer in the community. Professionally, I realized that my passions lay in interacting and advising undergraduate students as well as understanding the process of running a university. So, with the help of my current boss at the time, I decided that I was ready to apply for a master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs.
So, I am a big proponent of working before going to graduate school. To summarize, working for a few years will help you find direction in your life. It will help you figure out if you truly want to go back to graduate school, and possibly help you figure out which academic field is the best fit for you. Also, taking a few years off from school will help you appreciate academics more when you do go back to school. Of course, having a paycheck doesn’t hurt as well! Ultimately, though, this is a choice you must weigh based on many different factors of your life and your career goals.