Grad School Analysis Paralysis

If there’s one thing I love so much about working for a university, it’s that that we have the benefit of free tuition. Yes.. FREE. TUITION. I’m going to give you a few minutes to let those words sink in. I myself still can’t believe it.

I’m determined to take advantage of this privilege someday by getting my master’s degree. I often tell my co-workers that “I’m not leaving this institution without a master’s!”, and I say that with absolute conviction. Every molecule in my body means it. For me not to try to get a master’s degree, something big and unforeseeable would need to happen in my life. To take this benefit for granted is simply ridiculous to me. So many people go into debt to get their master’s in order to advance their careers. Heck, I even know people who had to sell properties just so they can afford to go to grad school. In their case, they were international students, so their tuition was a lot more expensive than usual.

Of course, I will still need to be admitted into the program. Staff members don’t automatically get admitted just because they work for the university. Standards remain the same. They will still need to qualify for the program. Fun fact: my first real job was as an assistant for the graduate admissions team. Through this experience, I learned how competitively cutthroat some programs can get.  So, I’m not entering into this with blind eyes. I know the process quite well. Maybe I won’t get in, but I will at least try.

However, the issue is I don’t know which program is right for me. I considered applying for the MBA program, which I know I do not qualify for yet as I am still technically a “fresh grad” and only have three years of full-time work experience. An MBA represents career advancement and executive leadership to many, but I’m not sure it’s the best fit for me. I’d also like to clarify that I don’t just want to go to grad school just for the sake of going to grad school. I consider myself a lifelong learner, who is eternally curious about many things.

Truthfully, my interest and passion have always been in the arts. I love reading and learning about philosophy, psychology, culture, society, history, and basically anything that falls under the arts umbrella. I’d love to do research on many things. I constantly have so many ideas floating around in my mind. The arts don’t have a good reputation because of their predicted low-income potential, but that doesn’t really worry me.

I was never overly concerned about how practical my degree is and how much money I can make from it. I have friends who studied Nursing and Engineering because they believe (but mostly their parents believe) that those careers would fulfill their financial and material needs in the future. They’re not wrong, but I also observed how some of them were such bad fits for those fields. I believe people who have intelligence, discipline, a good attitude, and grit will indubitably achieve success no matter what they do. Am I too optimistic? Maybe, but no one can change my mind.

So, no, practicality is not a major consideration. What I really fear is that if I act in haste and don’t think this through, I will become an expert in something that’s wrong for me. What a waste if so. Time is the ultimate investment. We will never get it back. In Canada, where I live, master’s degrees on average take three years to complete. That’s a long time in my opinion.

So this is my current state, stuck in an impasse with what program to choose for grad school. You can’t move towards a goal when you don’t know what your goal is. Now that I’m in my mid-twenties, I see marriage and children on the horizon. I’d really like to get started and be done with my master’s degree before I have children because well, I only have one body. I don’t know how some women can be a mother, worker, and student at the same time. If you are one of these women, congratulations on your superhero abilities.

As I write this blog post in my local café on a Saturday afternoon, I can’t help but brim with excitement and positivity for the future. Even though I’m not making any progress with my decision-making, isn’t it great that we don’t know what lies ahead? Maybe my life will lead me somewhere totally beyond my imagination and I won’t end up going to grad school. A psychic once told me that my life purpose is to write about spirituality, and another one told me that I’m not meant to live in one place ( He proceeded to draw the map of the 8 countries I’ll be regularly travelling to. I’ll tell this story another time because it’s absolutely crazy….).

No matter what I’ve been told, I have to say… what a cool thing it is to be young and have so much possibility ahead of us.

3 thoughts on “Grad School Analysis Paralysis

  1. I took advantage of this too! I worked for two universities as a coach and used my spare time (and free tuition) to get two master’s degrees. Funny enough, I “didn’t have enough credit” for some MBA requirements despite being a business undergraduate, but I took a few prerequisites and got that covered.

    Getting an advanced degree is completely worth it. I’ve always had a passion for education. I honestly wish I could go back and get a third, but alas, the college life was not for me anymore.

    Best of luck!


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