I have been in grad school for a little over a year at this point. I’m halfway done, cranking through, but really feeling unstimulated and mostly bored.
My reason for getting a masters in community development was largely based on my desire to learn more about the topic. With a background in marketing and public relations, I convinced myself over the last 2.5 years in my job that I am not really qualified, not informed, and not capable of making large decisions. Most people call that the imposter syndrome, which affects many, many twenty-somethings. I don’t think those things 100% of the time, but there’s that voice we all get that says hateful things and can be fairly convincing at times.
I was looking to the masters program as a way to prove myself, while also learning more about a topic I deeply care about. Most of the content has been based on community development “theories” or basically things to remember when working with people to improve a community. The program has its roots in sociology, looking through the lens of humans who live in a community as we make decisions about development (which I love). And while the information is helpful, I’ve been in the field for over two years and experience has taught me most of these lessons.
When I’m forced to sit on my couch and crank out papers that are basically similar to reports I’m making for meetings at my day job, it feels meaningless. Like, what am I doing that’s new or innovative or inspiring in grad school that can translate to change in my own city? Most of the time, I sit on Twitter or Tumblr to find urban revitalization or to check out different public art and community event ideas. Grad school feels so blah, like something I have to spend a lot of time on just so I can check it off the list of life accomplishments.
I’ve never wanted to be a person who does things just to get an award or be recognized or to gain popularity (except maybe in middle and high school). I want to do good, meaningful work and enjoy life’s big and little adventures.
And I’m just… bored. Not only am I bored, but I’m paying thousands of dollars to be bored. And stressed. And busy. On Wednesday, I was sitting at my desk in tears because an assignment was so confusing, my professor wasn’t responding to my email for days, and it felt like no answers were available. I spent hours of my time digging for information, pretending to care about the topic, and getting absolutely no guidance. How rewarding is that?
So, I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, wondering what to do. Spend the final year and a half and $6,000 to get the degree or call it quits.
The biggest reason I’m writing this is because it helps me process all the thoughts I’m having about grad school and because I’m looking for input. Are you glad you have a masters degree? Do you wish you wouldn’t have spent months of you life working towards that degree? Did getting your masters help you advance in your career?
I’m in this moment of knowing that either way offers its own benefits, but I can’t quite come to terms with either side.
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