Con: Kalynn Martell
As a senior graduating in May, grad school is
an ominous possibility. The pressure is on to
decide what to do with the rest of my life in one
That is incredibly unfair. As twenty-somethings,
we are told that we will most likely change careers
several times over the course of our lives. We are
also told that grad school is the best way to ensure a
place in the field of our dreams.
Feeling that pressure, I attended an informational
meeting on NU’s Master in Teaching program. I
quickly discovered two things. First, grad school is
typically for people who already have an established
career and want to advance but can’t without
additional education. Secondly, grad school is a
huge commitment, both of finances and time—a
commitment that can be stressful for someone
who is both starting a career and has just ended a
commitment to a bachelor’s degree.
I was totally convinced that I needed to have a
master’s in order to make a difference in the world,
to make enough money to live, and to get a “real”
job. I also was scared to go into the real world
and wanted to hang on to the world of university
education for just a little while longer.
But I made a bold decision. I decided to make the
most of my current job and to take full advantage
of the training and certifications I could get for free
(and actually get paid to get). I decided to break out
of the NU bubble and let myself grow into a career
that I will enjoy, maybe not for the rest of my life,
but for the time being.
Perhaps when I decide whether I want to be a teacher,
a chef, a writer, a speech therapist, or a zoologist, I will continue with my education.
Pro: Elisabeth Fonden
Pursuing a grad degree takes time, dedication, and money.
Up until recently, getting a Master’s degree was rarely seen
among students in this generation. However, many undergrad
students and alumni are having a hard time finding a good
paid job that relates to their career field.
According to Pew Research Center, in an article labeled, “For
Millennials, a bachelor’s degree continues to pay off, but a
master’s earns even more,” the median monthly earnings of
young adults with master’s degrees rose 23% from the year
1984 to 2009. As of 2012, the median monthly income for
ages 25-34 ranged between $5,960 to $7,234 with a bachelor’s
degree and around $7,000 to $8,618 with a master’s degree.
Now let’s hear from a few students and faculty.
Erin Saunders, a communication major, states, “I think a grad
degree is valuable to certain people, but not for everybody.
If you have a purpose and know what you want, then do it.”
Kelsie Geer, also a communication major noted, “It depends
on what job you are looking into. If it can get you farther
in your career or work area, then yes, I think it [a master’s
degree] is valuable.”
So is education more valuable than experience? Professor
Heinrichs commented that “master’s degrees offer a unique
type of experience that people usually cannot obtain on
the job.” She also claims that they offer, “unparalleled
opportunities to study with highly motivated peers, simulate
dynamic experiences, and study theoretical ideas that
underpin our actions.”
Professor Peg Achterman expresses her opinion by stating,
“It advances you in a profession you’re already in – for
instance, many teachers get their teaching certificates and
start working and after a few years go back and get a master’s
degree.” She also recommends waiting a few years after you
graduate to gain a clear vision. It won’t hurt, and is often
As far as NU pushing grad school, it’s not mentioned much
or pushed by professors during class lectures. Installing
at least one class lecture that incorporates the positives as
well as success stories relating to master’s degrees would be
truly eye-opening. We as a society are shifting from a 4-year
college degree representing the cultural norm to a 6-8 year
college degree. Every day more and more jobs are being filled,
and it’s important that your resumé stands at the top of the