Just like the title says, I’m dropping out of graduate school. I can’t handle it anymore. I am under a lot of pressure, and it’s causing me a lot more anguish than I need in my life. So here are my reasons for doing so:
1. I already have a Bachelor’s Degree. Right now I’m pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration, and it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be, especially now that I have a job. Yes, an MBA would allow me to go much further than my BBA will, but I’m pretty happy where I am right now and I still have a lot of opportunity to grow.
2. I’m using my degree. I have a pretty well paying job. The problem I have with my job right now is that I’m not 100% full time. I have to take Tuesday afternoons off to go to school. Since I work 4 out of 40 hours less, my pay is also cut 10%. What this means is that I’m grossing about $300 per month less than I would be if I were 100% full time, and that is a pretty big difference.
3.On top of making less money, school is now costing me more money than it ever has. Grad school is more expensive than undergrad. On top of that, there is less financial aid available to graduate students. I’ve had to take on student loans now (I was fortunate enough to get my undergrad degree debt-free). The ramification of my decision is that as soon as I drop out, I have to start paying on those. I guess it’s a good thing I’ll only be paying on a loan worth $4,000.
4. I live about 80 miles (about 140-ish kilometers) from my college. Every Tuesday, I have to make a drive that takes roughly an hour and fifteen minutes there and back. It takes a lot of fuel to get there. Even though gas is down, it’s still hard for me to afford that lifestyle. It’s not like I drive a huge truck that guzzles gas. I drive a Honda Prelude. Not the easiest thing on gas, but it’s not terrible.
5. Having a job has made school much more difficult. If I didn’t have one, I’d have no reason to be doing poorly. But now I’m making a B and a C. That’s not too horrible if you’re only getting your undergrad degree, but if you have more than 6 hours of C in grad school, they will hold your degree unless you repeat classes to change your grade. Even so, you can only repeat so many times before you get stuck with what you have. I’m only in my first semester and I’m likely going to get my first C. I still have 3 more and a summer to go after this.
6. I no longer like school. When I was getting my undergrad degree, I enjoyed it. It was fun. I made a few friends. I went to classes. I did my work. It was a lot of fun and I got out with A’s and B’s and graduated with honors. College was fun. Now it’s just stressful. I lose sleep over it. Last night I had a bad dream about failing school, being depressed over that, and then my depression affected me in my job, and so I got fired because I couldn’t work, and I ended up homeless for the rest of my life. Whether it was just a dream or a vision, I don’t want to end up like that. At the present, I am so stressed out by school that I find myself slipping into depression. And I’ve got another year and a half of this to go if I stick with it.
7. The awesome thing about work is that I choose to stay late if I want to. As salaried staff, I don’t get paid for overtime, but I like my job that much that I’ll stay and work for free to get caught up. Another awesome thing is that when I’m off at 5:00, I’m off. Work doesn’t give me things to do at home. Work doesn’t cut into my personal life. School gives me homework, which is always holding me back. I’m sick of homework. 18 years of homework is enough. I want to do other things besides homework. Lately, I’ve felt a heavy desire to volunteer around my city – soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc. – but I just can’t do that with homework sucking up my personal time to go out and do that kind of stuff.
8. Finally, I just need to change gears. I’ve been stuck in the school rut for a very long time now and I’m just tired of going to school. It’s all I’ve ever known. I want to move on with my life and focus on my career and well-being. My lifestyle is unhealthy because school has sucked the motivation out of me.
The only thing that has kept me from dropping out of grad school since I got in was my parents. They want me to strive to be more than just an entry-level accountant. Trust me, I don’t want to be an entry-level accountant for the rest of my life either, but my accounting degree does give me lots of room to grow. I don’t need a Master’s degree to get a CPA license. And hell, that may not even be for me. I may not be CPA material. I’m okay with that. If I never strike it rich and drive a new Mercedes-Benz to work, I’m okay with that. To me, it’s not settling for second best. It’s being happy with what you’ve been given. I’ll take broke as hell and happy over rich and miserable any day.
So my college career (effective at the end of finals week) is over. I don’t know how I’m going to break the news to my folks. But I can’t let this hold me back anymore. I’m ready to go forward. It’s time I make a decision and take both the good and the bad with it. I don’t know if they’ll understand, but I’m going to do what I think is best for me. One day I might go back. But for now, I just can’t handle the strains school has put on me. I think it’s time for me to move on.
It is smarter to admit when you have been defeated than to continue fighting a battle you are ill-equipped to fight. And that's how I feel about it. I'm just not ready for grad school.
So this is my decision. And I'm sticking with it. I'm nervous as hell, but it's time for a change. I'll keep my fingers crossed that my parents understand why I'm doing this.