The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Graduate school continues to be overlooked by students

Ivy Rose Ball | Mississippi State Athletics
Whether or not to attend graduate school is a difficult choice.

Mississippi State University class of 2024: let us reconsider going to graduate school.

As I practice walking across my living room to receive my bachelor’s degree this May, I think about what my professional plans are after I walk off that stage. Many around me have encouraged applying for graduate school to continue my education, and I have heavily considered their recommendation.

However, I will not pursue a graduate degree because I lack real conviction to attend. I believe we should not treat grad school like it is the natural step after a bachelor’s degree.

Students should not attend graduate school just to continue staying in their college bubble. According to Inside Higher Ed, “Grad school is not undergrad 2.0.,” as it is not merely a continuation of undergrad.

I think many students find false security in grad school because school is primarily all they have known since grade school, and a professional job, or no job at all, is much more intimidating.

Perhaps students do not have a definitive job lined up, or they suddenly realize their resume is empty from missed professional opportunities. Either way, a conviction to become highly specialized in a subject seems to be missing from many interested in grad school.

This idea of “undergrad 2.0.” is not only a disservice to graduate learning but also a financially irresponsible attitude. According to online research organization Brookings, “Most bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with little to no debt,” while “about half of federal student loan debt is held by individuals with a graduate degree.”

If your grad school offers you plenty of scholarships and assistantships to attend, but you have little conviction, I can understand, since you can grow to love the research you do. However, grad school is not for the faint of heart considering the hours of hard work that is done to earn the graduation hood.

Additionally, undergraduate students who are overly concerned about their futures should take action to gain experience now through internships, leadership roles and work experience.

I believe there is a chronic misunderstanding of the purpose of college. In my senior capstone course, the class that brings every major topic into a professional project, my classmates tend to be flippant.

One asks for classes to get cancelled; others show up late. Some hardly pay attention while scrolling on their phone. This class is like the final boss on a video game, a window into our professional future projects and expectations, and we cannot seem to take it seriously.

According to The Hechinger Report, “More than four in 10 bachelor’s degree holders under 45 did not agree that the benefits of their educations exceeded the costs, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve.” If we could not take our education seriously in undergraduate classes to further our knowledge and success, there is frankly no point in pursuing grad school.

Take agency now in your education and examine your motivations and perceptions towards grad school. Network with professionals and talk to professors to better understand post-graduate opportunities.

Truly identify your desires for college as an undergraduate so you can walk across the stage, perhaps with the intention to walk across again with letters behind your name, with more confidence in yourself and your professional future.

About the Contributor
Elisa Stocking
Elisa Stocking, Staff Writer
Elisa Stocking is a senior communication major. Elisa is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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