Graduate school is something I decided I want to attend over the past few years.
Given my degree in journalism, with minors in political science and philosophy, I have many options of where, and what, I want to study.
My reason for wanting to attain a higher degree is not necessarily for a better job or a higher salary; the university atmosphere is something I truly enjoy, and I want to continue in that tradition for a few more years and possibly beyond.
Assessing this decision through the lens of becoming a journalist, I came across a wide range of advice from a large number of people. Some said a higher degree is not necessary, some said to get a Masters in journalism, and some said to specify in a particular field, such as political science. I was so twisted around with what the best choice was, as well as what I personally desired, that I have missed the deadlines for most programs starting next fall. This may have been one of the most beneficial instances of procrastination in my life.
Deciding how grad school would benefit journalism was asking the wrong question.
Philosophy has always been a personal passion and something I studied as an undergrad because it honestly gave me enjoyment, and that was about the only reason I needed. I never really thought about actually studying it for professional reasons.
When I went to discuss this dilemma of whether or not to go to grad school, and whether or not philosophy was a valid field of study, one of my professors, Dr. Aiken, lent me some helpful advice. He told me what I was having was a classic Epictetan moment.
He said something along the lines of this: you can either get a degree in something that may or may not get you a job and is in something that you may not even truly enjoy, or you can study something that your heart desires and will truly fulfill you. The latter here is the obvious correct choice.
So in the past few weeks, I decided a philosophy degree is what I really want to obtain, and what comes after that can be what it may. Journalism is still on my radar. George Will is an example of a journalist who studied philosophy as a student, and went on to be a very well-respected member of the media.
The university will also be an option. I have enjoyed the intellectual fulfillment and atmosphere of a university to an extent that has made me not want to leave. Getting a doctorate is a straightforward step on the path to professorship.
Now that I have decided this, I still face the problem of the missed deadlines for the coming fall. Aiken also pointed something out that I was not aware of: you don’t have to be accepted to a program to take classes toward a graduate degree.
This was incredible news for me because it means that I can spend the next year of my life taking a few classes to decide if this is what I truly want without making any commitment to a program. When fall rolls around, I will have a more coherent idea of where I want to go in life.
As my senior year draws to a close and I finish the last of my class projects, I look forward to a new stage in life. This is a conscious choice, and one that is done out of a will to follow my desires. I urge you to do the same. n