Monday, July 30, 2012

Is Graduate School Worth it?

I've spent a great deal of time lately in a less-than-quiet self-reflection. I suppose many people go through periods of self-reflection. I'm also of the opinion that it takes a certain event or serious of events to initial it. Perhaps this is all part of growing up. My period of self-reflection began about nine months ago. It began, perhaps not coincidentally, with the beginning of Janice's pregnancy. And as I consider self-reflection during this time it certainly got deeper as Janice's belly grew. Certainly nine months of preparation and anticipation and the imminent arrival of our son Lucian warranted my thought. These nine months have also been busy in other ways. I completed all the projects (and then some) that I've been meaning to finish. I've been sober to my chagrin, and clear-headed to my horror. And these nine months were the last nine months of my 30s. Yes, plenty of changes.

But this is no time for mere recollections. The question at hand: is graduate school worth it?

Before I begin, I must tell the world that I am pro-education. I am pro-grad school And above all else, I am pro-Goddard College.

However, I am not keen on credit, loans or spending money that I do not have. Other folks do not have a problem with this. And really, I feel like I got a top drawer education from a private New England liberal arts college for a very reasonable price. Admittedly, the cost of graduate school tuition as well as the travel between my home in Denver to Vermont did not factor in at the time I was accepted into school just like I don't think I would change my mind now.

The point remains, I borrowed an amount of nearly $30,000 for my MFA. If I had used my degree directly after graduation, I would have been a college instructor. Doing that full time would not even come to $30,000 a year. But no one, including me, pursues a Master of Fine Arts because they want more money. Perhaps MBA graduates expect good jobs and high pay, but the MFA graduate is perhaps more realistic about potential job prospects.

So, what of it? Well, if graduate school has ending for me now it is just another piece of the puzzle that is life's experience. I'll go so far as to say that it was money well spent. Even in light of the way I made the money to pay for it: my job as waiter. And as you may know the only difference between writer and waiter is one letter.

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