Bianca Paola Gonzalez
Why I Shouldn’t Have Gone to Grad School Right After College
Grad school was the next step I was not ready for and here are three reasons why.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, many of us think about the next step in our lives and whether or not grad school is that step. Well, after years of studying, I wanted to take a gap year to travel and reflect upon what was next for me. Instead, I started the Master’s in Cultural Action and Administration at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus (UPR-RP) the semester after graduation. It wasn't long before I realized that maybe I shouldn't have and these are the reasons why.
1. Uncertain career path
Even though I was tired of studying, I was inclined to do a master’s degree to have the opportunity to study something within the arts. For that, I contemplated a master’s in cultural management in Spain, but I wasn't 100% sure. I didn’t take enough time to research different master’s or to explore other interests the way I should have. After taking many things into consideration, I applied and got admitted to the program. I was happy, yet dubious. It all happened a bit fast.
2. Same school, different experience
I’m a proud jerezana from the UPR-RP. It has been a privilege to attend this school, but change is often necessary (says the girl who’s not a fan of change). Even though is the same school, the overall experience hasn't been my cup of tea, as Len Goodman would say.
For starters, each of us has a time of day when we're more productive, alert, and energized. For me, that time is the morning and during the day. As much as I’ve tried, I haven’t adapted to night time classes, not on campus, nor online and those three hours seem endless. Besides, we also learn differently, so, because the dynamic is more discussion based than practical, I get bored, distracted easily, and very sleepy. Not a good mix for me.
As for social life? There was none. My routine consisted mostly on: school work during the morning, work in the afternoon, school in the evening/night where I chit-chat with colleagues (mostly about the class), and go home. Grad school is just a different dynamic overall. Those who go to grad know why they are there and where their focus should be.
3. The Power of the mind
The mind is extremely powerful. Mine was set and ready for a well-deserved and needed gap year (or semester). Since that didn't go as planned, I was very disconnected from school at the beginning. As a result, I developed poor studying habits unlike the ones I’ve always had. I was barely doing the assigned readings and wasn't putting much effort into my assignments. I even dropped out of two courses in my freshman year because I didn't like them at all. I was disappointed and frustrated. But you know, that’s part of the process of finding our beat. It’s about making decisions, often making mistakes, but learning from them and moving on to the next step.
Grad school is not what I imagined or wanted it to be, at least for the program I chose. However, everything happens as it should and there's always a positive outtake. One just has to look for it. For example, I was able to meet wonderful people, including an unforgettable professor that embodied everything I believe a professor should be. Most importantly, this experience gave me clarity. Even though this wasn’t the right master’s for me, it led me to reconnect with something I’ve always loved to do, but never took it seriously, and that is writing. I've changed directions and I'm eager to see where this path takes me...
Until we meet again next Monday, keep finding your beat while dancing to the rhythm of life, friends.