Make Grad School the New G.E.D.

15 Feb

Ray: We’ve touched on the subject of graduate school several times on this blog. Personally, I couldn’t decide on getting an MBA or going to law school. Then I decided on going to law school but never took the LSAT (the standardized test required to getting into law school) and that’s where I left off.

Since then, I’ve had some time to think things over a bit more. Primarily, why should I pursue a graduate degree? I have already decided that I don’t want to work for anyone but myself, I don’t need a graduate degree to be “successful”, and there’s that major issue of being a broke college student all over again. With that said, there would have to be some compelling reason for me to pursue a graduate degree.

In the back of my mind, I keep replaying this very vivid memory: the year is 2006 and Seth and I are at the Chaka Fattah Conference for Higher Education right on the Main Line in Philadelphia. Seth had a ticket, I snook in. The climax of the conference (at least for me) came during the keynote address given by Constance L. Rice. If that names sounds familiar, she’s the cousin of former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Ms. Rice, as I remember, is a fiery little woman and her speech was quite riveting. After her speech, Seth and I decided we had to meet with her.  She basically put the fear of God in us and made us promise her that we would go to graduate school. That promise has been on my mind ever sense and there’s a reason for that.

I want people to succeed at whatever they do as much as I want to succeed myself. I’m not saying graduate school is a necessary ingredient to obtain success, but it definitely doesn’t hut to acquire a specialized knowledge from a world class institution. The recent recession has been an eye-opening experience for many people. In order to land work these days, you need to have valuable skills and proven experience. Having a graduate degree can help to serve as a safe-guard from being easily replaced or eliminated in the job market.

People with graduate degrees have opportunities that most people will never experience. They become politicians, doctors, lawyers, and CEOs of major companies. They become leading researchers of critical global issues and author new information that will be used to teach the next generation of human beings. Not to mention the personal satisfaction that comes with reaching the higher echelon of formally educated peoples.

There are tons of reasons why a graduate degree may benefit most people. What I do know is that the world is moving at an exponentially faster pace and those who lack the mental capacity or necessary information to keep up will be left to fight over an ever decreasing supply of government services. I encourage everyone to add value to their lives in any way possible. Going to graduate school may be one the best ways to do so.

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