Recently, I have been considering going to Graduate school to pursue a Master's Degree in (most likely) English.
I posted something about this on my Facebook page. It got a decent amount of response from friends and family, both in favor of my returning to school and those who said it wasn't worth it.
Let me outline a few things about this. I had/have a college fund that my grandparents set up for me when I was very young. I do not have any student loan debt from my undergraduate years. I do know how lucky I am to have this.
A graduate degree would do just about zip for my job. It isn't something that is necessary in an industry that is pretty much a learn-as-you-go type of thing.
I have money left in my college fund.
So all that aside, I can't say I was too surprised at the number of resounding "no" responses I got from people about going back to school. A lot of it had to do with about their being a return on the investment, if it was worth the money, if I would make more money afterward, etc etc. You get the picture.
Most who responded with "yes" didn't give much of a response other than "DO IT!" No other reason, no other explanation.
I fully accept the fact that getting my Master's Degree isn't going to do anything for me financially at this point. In fact, it would make my life harder, because I would undoubtedly have to quit one of my jobs in order to make the time in my schedule to go to school full-time.
In truth, going back to school has nothing to do with my job(s). It has nothing to do with making more money (right now anyway). Going back to school has everything to do with what I think would make me a better writer. What would get me more opportunities and what would open more doors for me in the future.
I believe that learning is important - if it's learning how to cook something, learning to change your oil, or learning how to write well - all of it is important.
I'm not saying that school is the only place that learning happens. It isn't. What I am saying that money spent on an education is never wasted. If money comes of it, great. If not, that's okay too. It's a bummer, but it happens, especially today.
The undergraduate degree has become the new high school diploma. A lot of people have one and if you don't, you feel like people look at you differently than they would otherwise. A Bachelor's Degree is becoming so generic that articles are now coming out that there's no point in furthering education past high school.
The problem isn't that a ton of people have B.A./B.S. degrees. The problem is how we view education. We see education as a stepping stone to make money, a time in our lives when we prepare for our careers.
I think that we should be viewing education as a chance to grow, expand our minds and be around people who think differently that we do and are different than we are. University has turned into a place where we take required classes to fill our required major, instead of taking classes that we are interested in and pursuing tracts that we like.
Universities today (American ones, at least) don't offer us the chance to meander, try things and test things to find out what we REALLY love to learn about, instead we must declare a major after two years and we must follow a specific set of classes, just like everyone else.