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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » The Randoms » Apprehensive About the Future

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Author Topic: Apprehensive About the Future
Member # 13662

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I know I shouldn't be worrying about this, but it does bother me. Sometimes I feel very anxious about my life after college. I have no idea what I want to do, and I fear the working world, especially moving away from home. I know that I'm only a junior, but I feel that my life in college has been less than ideal academically and socially. My majors guarantee that graduate school is an option (not mandatory, but really helps in the long term). I look at my peers and professors and sometimes wish I can be like them. I don't see myself as a perfectionist, but I feel that I'm either disappointing people or letting myself down. I have had a few professors ask me if I was considering a PhD/grad school since minority professors are very few in academia. However, I look at my accomplishments and think, "i'm terrible at research. Sure I can write, but Grad school? I don't even know what to do with my own life!" Life looks scary after college, and I want to make sure I took the right courses, had the right job experiences, did the right research and more. I just don't want to end up unemployed or employed in a position that is not my true ambitions and interests. If you are curious, I do have a professional psychologist who I meet every other week (around my school schedule) to talk about my problems. Are you or even someone else you know very apprehensive about their future?
Posts: 93 | From: Michigan, USA | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Welcome to the club. I don't know many people who made it all the way through their undergraduate experience without some panic moments where they weren't sure what life will be like after those four years are over. I went through several of those types of breakdowns during my undergraduate career.

In terms of graduate school, remember that you don't HAVE to make a decision about a PhD right away. The first step in graduate school is usually a 1-2 year masters program. This is nice because the program is a lesser time committment than a PhD and because masters programs are not usually as research intensive. Many view an MA as a more work-oriented degree while a PhD is more of a research-oriented degree. If you start a masters at a university that also has a PhD, you can often use the credits earned in the MA toward the PhD.

As I came to the end of my undergraduate degree, my mentor suggested I enter a masters program. I wasn't at all sure what I wanted to do. My undergraduate experience had been good, but I felt that I wasn't really THAT knowledgable about any one thing and I wasn't sure that I wanted to work in the "real-world" right then. He suggested that a masters program would give me a taste of the academic life, give me a more focused area of expertise, and get me some experience in the classroom as an instructor. With an assistantship (paid tuition & stipend), it could all be paid really I wouldn't be out anything for my time. It seemed like a good idea to me. By the time I was half way done with the MA, I had decided that I wanted the PhD. I love the atmosphere of the academy. It fits well for my personal goals as well. (Really, the atmosphere in a graduate program is so much different than undergrad.)

But you have to make the decision for yourself. Decide based on what YOU want and what is best for YOU...not on the number of minority profs that there are in academia. Heck, you might not even enjoy teaching! Also, as a note...just because you aren't in love with research, doesn't mean you can't work in the academy. Sure, there will be an expectation for you to produce some research. But if you don't plan on joining a Research 1 institution or are set on getting tenure, you would not be under the same pressure to produce mounds of research.

Talk to some trusted professors about your misgivings. They might be able to provide you with advice as well.

Sarah Liz
Scarleteen Sexpert

Posts: 7316 | From: USA | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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