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Old 12-12-2012, 10:15 PM
Michiyo-Fir Michiyo-Fir is offline
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Default Those of you with/considering Masters or Doctorate Degrees

As I'm nearing the end of my BA program, I would really like to complete a masters degree in the same field (art history). However, I know it's not the most useful degree and jobs are very very rare. That aside, for those of you that complete (or are in the process of completing) your Masters or Doctorate degrees, do you feel that it is worth it?

And those of you that want to do one, are you feeling nervous financially? Academically? General thoughts, feelings and reasonings for wanting one?

1. How are you managing in terms of finances, did you have to work part time jobs (retail/customer service) while attempting to complete the program?

2. Did you have grants and fellowships or worked as a TA/prof to undergrad courses?

3. Did you end up with a lot of debt?

4. But most importantly, overall, would you do it again? Do you think the experience was a positive one, and did it add anything to your life? Also if you could let me know what you did (are doing) that would be awesome.


Currently, I'm in a predicament. I would like to take another year to work on my research skills and grades in order to apply to an MA program in art history that I prefer (limited enrolment about 5 a year), however I know there are a few good programs within the country that would admit me already.

However, I'm also accepted into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing for next year but I'm thinking of turning it down. My parents are urging me towards the nursing side because it's a 20 month degree and income will be stable (and plentiful). I just don't feel like it's what I truly want, to me it feels more like a last resort, a way to get a stable job that I may feel indifferent about and my gut feeling is that I should try for what I really want before going for something that I'm not extremely enthusiastic about. I'm sure I would do fine and do the job well but....

Also I'm currently working 30-40 hour weeks and doing full time school so I don't have any incurred debt for my BA if anyone's wondering.

Sorry about the rant, just wanted to hear your thoughts on your degrees.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:35 PM
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joce joce is offline
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I am thinking about my masters since I started back for my BSN and its been so easy. But honestly I don't want to be on call to manage so pay differance is not going to be there. Do want to do outpatient though so I dunno. Well see.

What do you wan to do with an art degree? I am glad I went into nursing. I love psych nursing and there are sooo many fields you could go into(I'd pick surgery now and do M-F 9-5).

I work full time and pay for my bachelors now. My work would but I don't want to owe them if I find a m-f when I'm done. My mom paid for my associates through our community college. Was a great school, could have done the university partnership and gotten my masters I think, maybe just bachelors, but wanted to start working and had swing shifts so couldn't.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:06 PM
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Good questions that I also want to hear the answers to!

I am about to finish my BSc and am applying into a Master's program for next fall. I'm pretty sure I'll end with a TA position that will pay about $17000 per year I think, then the rest I'll probably either work part time, or (hopefully!!!) my husband will have a good job by then so I won't have to work.

My advice on the Nursing: DON'T DO IT! If you don't really want to be a nurse, don't let others pressure you into it just because it's a "good" job. I went into Nursing because I didn't know what else I wanted to do. 2 years of university and loads of debt later, I dropped out. I dreaded my clinical placements, and *all* of the nurses that I worked with/met were miserable and overworked. I know some people love it and for some it's a calling, but it is a hard job, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:12 PM
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I come from a family of nurses. It can be hard, hard work and a lot of people hate it. My sister got a nursing degree from Penn State (debt!!) and just quit her job because she hates it so much.

So just make sure it's what you want to do before you start. Maybe you could do some volunteer work in a hospital?
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:12 PM
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I'm in a MS program in biology right now, and I do TA. It's great, I love it! I'm going to be applying for more grants and scholarships; I just started this fall. I won't end up with much debt at all. :]

I'm really enjoying the opportunity to do research.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:33 PM
Michiyo-Fir Michiyo-Fir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joce View Post
What do you wan to do with an art degree?
I can't tell you exactly what I plan to do with it to be honest. My ideal would be to go into either research or teaching or a combination of the two but in reality it's highly difficult.

Most likely, if I can manage, I will be continuing onto my doctorate degree.

A girl I know that graduated with an MA in Art History is working as a human resources manager because she didn't know where she could work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzerotti View Post
My advice on the Nursing: DON'T DO IT! If you don't really want to be a nurse, don't let others pressure you into it just because it's a "good" job. I went into Nursing because I didn't know what else I wanted to do. 2 years of university and loads of debt later, I dropped out. I dreaded my clinical placements, and *all* of the nurses that I worked with/met were miserable and overworked. I know some people love it and for some it's a calling, but it is a hard job, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I don't necessarily think I would hate it as I am fascinated by health sciences. However, I'm pretty sure I won't love it. I feel quite indifferent towards the entire thing. My aunt is a dialysis RN and my mom's an LPN and while my aunt doesn't love her job, she doesn't hate it either. My mom on the other hand hates her jobs and complains about it on a daily basis. I just find it so strange that she's trying to push me into a career move that she herself despises but cannot get out of... I understand she wants me to have stability and adequate income not to be struggling through day to day life, but it just doesn't seem to be what I envisioned for myself. Maybe she's right and I'm too young and naive with my head up in the clouds. I don't know.

My other reasoning is that I can always go back to the nursing program if I choose so at a later date. However, my MA in art history wouldn't be so easy to get back into. References move away or leave or forget about your research and your application doesn't hold much weight anymore, especially if the program is so competitive.

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Originally Posted by PWCorgi View Post
I come from a family of nurses. It can be hard, hard work and a lot of people hate it. My sister got a nursing degree from Penn State (debt!!) and just quit her job because she hates it so much.

So just make sure it's what you want to do before you start. Maybe you could do some volunteer work in a hospital?
The problem is that I'm unsure that's what I'm going to do. I'm positive I can do it and do it well but it's not what I see for myself. I do have a lot of respect for nurses, having a few in my family as well but I just don't know if that's what I want to do for the next 40 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red.Apricot View Post
I'm in a MS program in biology right now, and I do TA. It's great, I love it! I'm going to be applying for more grants and scholarships; I just started this fall. I won't end up with much debt at all. :]

I'm really enjoying the opportunity to do research.
Is the job market pretty good for your program after you finish? My parents' concern is that out of my MA program, there won't be many jobs available at all and not only will I not be doing what I want (research, teaching), I'll have to go back to retail or something like that. In that case I don't end up with the stability and income of a nurse or a job related to my interest.


By the way, thanks for listening to me rant. I really do appreciate it. I don't have many people to talk to about this in real life other than my best friend because my family doesn't want to listen and my friends think I'm being annoying and indecisive. It's great that you guys are giving me ideas and suggestions.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:40 PM
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Red.Apricot Red.Apricot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir View Post
Is the job market pretty good for your program after you finish? My parents' concern is that out of my MA program, there won't be many jobs available at all and not only will I not be doing what I want (research, teaching), I'll have to go back to retail or something like that. In that case I don't end up with the stability and income of a nurse or a job related to my interest.


By the way, thanks for listening to me rant. I really do appreciate it. I don't have many people to talk to about this in real life other than my best friend because my family doesn't want to listen and my friends think I'm being annoying and indecisive. It's great that you guys are giving me ideas and suggestions.

Yes, it is. I'll have quite a few years of lab experience under my belt, which will help.

I'm also hoping to stay in research, so I might go on to get a PhD. We'll see.

I don't know about MAs; perhaps you should look around? Talk to people? My undergraduate school had lists of career options for different degrees; maybe your school offers something similar at their career center?
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:45 PM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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I would strongly urge you NOT to go into nursing unless you really want to do it. It is a tough round of schooling and it's a tough job. It's a big commitment of time, money, and emotion for something you don't feel called to do. A friend of mine just graduated from her nursing program today and she is delighted, graduating with her dream nursing job, but it was a tough road for her. It's definitely IMO not something for you to do if you just feel "meh" about it. You will probably burn out incredibly fast if you even make it through the program. Unless there is something in nursing you really want to do, like work in a special needs school or in an ER or or or... I wouldn't go that route.

As far as the Masters in Art History goes, what do you want to do with it? Why do you want to pursue the Masters instead of just stop with the BA? I think with Art History you might be able to get a better job with the Masters than just the BA, but what are your career goals? You might be thinking of entirely different jobs than I am - is the Masters essential for those jobs?

I considered grad school many times, especially after a well-respected professor of mine offered his assistance on getting me in. But I wanted to be a college art teacher which you cannot do without the master's degree. So it would have been 100% essential to get my MA in art education if I wanted to go down that career path. I still fancy that idea, but I have to tell you, words like "thesis" and "dissertation" make me feel like I'm about to have a panic attack. =P I have no doubt I would have been good as an art teacher; but ultimately I just decided against the commitment of money and time. There were other jobs I wanted, too, other things I would have liked to have done, and for those I didn't need the MA. So I just picked a different career path.

I think more than thinking about the nursing degree you should strongly consider your career path and if it's worth it to you to put in however many more years of money, time, and hard work. And as somebody who also worked to graduate college with no debt, it's HARD work! I was definitely ready to be done with the juggling when I graduated! OTOH, even if jobs in the field are scarce, if you know what you really want to do with your life lies down a path that requires that Master's degree, you have your answer.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir View Post
3. Did you end up with a lot of debt?
You most likely will end up with a lot of debt from it.

If you're passionate about it, it's probably worth your time. But what are you actually going to get from this degree? Will you be able to use it to get a job you're equally passionate about? Or will you end up like your friend, doing something unrelated to your degree?

Most people recommend business communications to me. . . it's seems to be versatile and appealing to employers.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:00 AM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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Honestly, now that I'm out of school I look back and really wish I'd have thought more about the money aspect of what degree I was pursuing. I think it's very easy while you're in school to forget that the point of schooling is get a job (or well... at least most of it). Money isn't everything but it's kinda nice to have. And stability is also nice to have. Something I long took for granted...

I'm very grateful my parents pushed me into maths and sciences because I think I would have gone for a much less marketable degree. I wish I would have gone further and done an engineering program like my dad had said instead of straight up math. But oh well...

I definitely think if you're going to hate a job then don't go into that field. that's how I was with vet med. I realized I would hate it so I switched. But I do think job marketability should be a big focus if you're going to go through school. I know too many people that end up without a job.

But also, I don't think you need to be in love with your job plan or even have a firm career path right when you leave. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do out of school. I like my job now but it's not a dream job.

If you get a degree in something, go out and get a job and then discover it's not what you want, you can always try something new. You're never going to be married to something for 40 years if you don't want to be. In the mean time you'll have gained some experience and useful skills you can take with you.

In the end, I would just think it through. Figure out what you want (career wise) from this. How realistic/obtainable that is and how much debt you will incur doing this. Then decide if it's worth it to you.
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