I’ve been going back and forth about sharing my current dilemma, because bringing it up makes me feel like a spoiled brat. Then I told myself that if I blog about it, it might give me a little clarity. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I am a veteran and I am currently in school. I’m on track to graduate next spring, and after nearly a decade from when I first started college, I will FINALLY have my Bachelor’s degree.
I received an Associate’s degree prior to joining the military, so I had more than half of the credits I needed to complete my Bachelor’s. Because of my service in the military, I have 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, which pays my tuition in full and gives me a monthly housing stipend. From my own experience with struggling to pay for college, I know this is a pretty sweet deal. Once I graduate, I will still have about 15 months of benefits left, which would be enough to pay for all or most of a graduate degree.
Here’s where the tricky part comes in. After years of being obsessed with going to school and having the mindset that a degree would be the “golden ticket” to all the opportunities I wanted, I no longer have the same mindset. I have friends and family who obtained degrees and still can’t get decent jobs. Every job that I’ve looked at so far only requires a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum, and I fear that having a Master’s would put me into the dreaded “overqualified” category. Plus, I’ve been back in school for just over a year and I already feel burned out at times. I don’t know if I have the desire or strength to push through another two years of college.
So that’s the spoiled, cynical side of me that wants to call it quits after I graduate next year. Then there’s the other side that says, “GIRL. BYE.” This is the side that reminds me how fortunate I am to have college paid for, and to get paid WHILE I’m going to college. This side tells me to quit my whining, suck it up, and use the benefits I’ve earned before I end up regretting it. I’m still in the “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” stage, so going to grad school would be an opportunity to get more education in my field and hopefully give me a better idea of what I want career-wise.
I know there’s really no “wrong” decision to make regarding my dilemma, but I’m always afraid that I will let my emotions get the best of me in my decision-making. I don’t want to take time off from school and then procrastinate for years before going back, but I don’t want to half-heartedly plow through grad school and waste my benefits.
What would you do in this situation? Would you stop at a Bachelor’s degree or jump right into grad school?