Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Peer pressure and grad school

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 4, 2007

For the past 2-3 years I’ve occasionally felt peer pressure to get a graduate degree of some sort. And I’ve worried that without one I will find myself in a career dead end. But, to get one would require $$$, and probably more time than I want to take away from my other pursuits, such as my involvement in APIC.

Because most of the people I work with have graduate degrees, and because most of my friends from college have graduate or professional degrees, I am wondering if I am “falling behind.” Today I suddenly felt a strange sense of panic or inadequacy that I didn’t have that precious second degree.

I could go along with the majority of people at work and get an MBA. But, I have absolutely no interest in an MBA. The idea of working on group presentations and reading case studies is a complete turn off. I do confess, tho, that me going to business has always run counter to me self-image. I can’t quite explain it, but I just never saw myself in business school. Ever.

The only type of degree I would be interested in that could boost my career is an MS in computer science. The problem? I lack a BS in computer science. Thus, I’d have to play catch up to get into an MS program. I could take a slew of computer programming courses at UMass-Lowell. I could even get a second BS in Information Technology from UMass-Lowell. And, given UMass-Lowell’s number of offerings online, I could probably earn the degree via the web, from the comfort of my home. However, the requirements are all programming courses; no math, which makes me wonder how a master’s program in computer science would would regard that degree.

I could try for a certificate of computer science at UMass-Boston, which essentially requires that you take all the math and computer science courses a computer science major takes. That’d be just what I need. The problem? I don’t think I can take all the course online, which means commuting to Dorchester after work. That would be fine if UMass-Boston was on the way home. It is not. And, I would have re-learn a whole bunch of math I have forgotten. I could take a stab to refresh my memory, but I generally distrust my ability to learn things on my own, without a teacher and the threat of homework to motivate me.

So, what to do? Getting a graduate degree due to peer pressure seems just as lame as not getting one out of laziness. Objectively, I don’t think I need to get one, but it wouldn’t hurt. And it could give me more options later on. For example, an MS in computer science could enable me to become a teacher, since I’d actually have specific subject knowledge.

I do not have to decide immediately. But putting this off will only delay my progress on gaining more education. I should spend the summer thinking about this. At the very least, I should take a programming course this fall. I had thought about taking one this summer, but I spaced and missed the deadline for registering. Doh! So I made a calendar entry at work to remind myself in August to register for something.

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