Before my study abroad semester in Morocco, I was seriously considering going to graduate school. But after this semester, I realized that what I desire to learn I won’t be able to find in a classroom (more on this later).
Specifically, I calculated the economic cost of going to graduate school. I estimated that graduate school would cost between $25,000 to $45,000 per year, and after three years of graduate school, I am about $75,000 to $135,000 in debt.
Of course that estimate doesn’t take into account the income lost for not working during that period, but also, it doesn’t take into account the time I would lose and never regain: my early 20’s, when I am free from all commitments and obligations.
Personally, it isn’t worth it. With a graduate degree diminishing in value every year in the US (more graduate students in the work force and the current stagnation of jobs), the costs exceed the benefits.
But in the wise words of Mark Twain, “Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.” Even though I will not be attending graduate school, it doesn’t mean I will stop learning. On the contrary, my education is a life long journey and mine is not ending when I graduate next spring.
When I take into account the free-online courses that are being offered by Ivy schools, the infinite information thanks to the internet that is available, and access to public libraries, museums and so forth; we are at the forefront of a shift in how education is acquired.
Furthermore, what I truly desire to learn about, I won’t be able to find in a classroom. These last five months in Morocco taught me that traveling teaches you about the world, about history and society, but it also teaches you about yourself. I realized, that in a world where so few people know who they are, where so many people follow the mindless herd — knowing who I am as a person is far more important to me than hanging a diploma on a wall.