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Graduate School

To go to grad school after graduating or to take a year off after graduating? I think that is a question that most college graduates interested in continuing their education come across. I have done my fair share of research because, I myself, have this question.

I am graduating from Monmouth in May with a degree in Communication. I have applied to jobs in Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising, and Social Media. None of which I am particularly interested in or look forward to pursuing. I think this is where I faced a cross-road. I had to ask myself what I want to do for a living. What am I passionate about and what career path will suit my lifestyle in the long run?

I realized that helping people was a fluent theme in my conversations with ones close to me when trying to figure out what profession I would pursue. I had considered becoming a lawyer with a Communication degree, following my father’s footsteps. I thought that would be the simple fix to my dilemma. I could help people and make money at the same time.

After some thought, I realized that I wasn’t in love with the law. I had gotten a lot of feedback about taking a gap year and saving money before going back to school. People also preached to me about the commitment law school requires and to make sure it was definitely what I wanted to do. For this option, I highly considered a gap year. For those of you who are looking at continuing education and are not sure if it is definitely the career you want, take the gap year.

I figured out law school wasn’t my thing, but that I still had a strong desire to help people. I decided on pursuing a Masters in Social Work. After making this decision, I sought advice on taking a gap year once again. One of my professors said, “I always advise a year off to get some work experience.” On the other hand, one of my mentors said to me, “if you feel like you want to go straight out of your undergrad, then keep the ball rolling. You don’t want to lose that fire,” and that really stuck for me.

For people in this same dilemma, give yourself some time to see what exactly you want to commit to. For me, that’s what determined if I was going to take time off or go immediately into graduate school. Everyone is going to have a different idea of what you should do. Many people told me to use my degree before accruing more debt. Others told me if I was going to go to law school then I should jump in as soon as possible. But what I realized from all of this chatter was that no one could tell me which way was the right way. There is no right or wrong way.

Picture your life in ten years and list what your priorities are. I knew by becoming a social worker I could accomplish those goals easier and decided that this was going to be the path I pursued. Personally, there was no reason strong enough to take a year off; for you, there may be. There is no one way to do this.

We all have to figure out our paths on our own so take some time to tune into what you want for yourself because you’re the only one with the answer.