[quote=“owl”]the price tag and application pains are making me hesitate. So I’m here to ask those of you that have been to graduate school whether you think it was worth the money, time, and headache to go?[/quote] Yes, it’s a pain, and expensive, but it’s worth it.
[quote=“owl”]Does it really increase your job opportunities?[/quote] Yes, it opens more doors. A B.A. seems to be good for a job at the mall these days. :s At least, given the number of people holding undergraduate degrees, having one doesn’t catch the eye of employers the way it once did. A graduate degree isn’t a magic bullet though.
[quote=“owl”]Are you glad you went?[/quote] Very. I left here thinking that I’d be gone for one year, and just do a quickie degree. Had so much fun, I stuck around to do a second. It was a fantatic experience. How often do you get to devote yourself, full time, to pursuing a passion? Even if I were to never get any sort of economic benefit out of it, it would be worth it for the experience. It is worth it–everyday–because as a result of having gone, I see things differently… see more than I did previously. Screw the bank balance: it’s enriched my life. How much is that worth?
[quote=“owl”]Would you suggest the same thing to me, or that I instead just jump back in the job market?[/quote] Can’t even begin to guess. It’s not for everyone. Going back after years abroad, you’ll have advantages over students who have gone straight through. You’ll find it to be a different experience, being one of the more mature students. I found grad school to be an absolutely fantastic experience, but wish that I’d focused a bit more on cultivating a few of the contacts and resources that would grease the skids on the career track. Not a biggie, as everything’s falling into place rather nicely, but something for you to keep in mind.
There’s a lot that you can do on your own, and given that the application deadlines tend to be around January/ February, you’ve got lots of time (assuming you’re not applying for funding, in which case, get busy!). There are also a lot of resources on line now, from places like MIT and Stanford. Much of grad school involves pushing yourself: see how much you can find and do now, on your own.