Is graduate school your next step?

My Nguyen

Each of us has our own goals that we set for ourselves throughout our life. With education, there are different achievements that everyone chooses to celebrate.

In high school, the end goal was to graduate. After high school, pursuing higher education becomes an optional decision. Many people chose to go on to college to get a degree in a certain field that they can benefit from.

There are so many students that come into college knowing what they want to do and are driven by the excitement of the future. Others have a harder time narrowing down what they enjoy doing.

Once the students decide their areas of interest and who they want to be in the future, they will become passionate about their goals at certain points.

When undergraduate students get closer to graduating, they have a choice to either go to graduate school or to find a job and earn money.

There are multiple reasons why students choose to carry on their education. Some students want to earn higher salaries and desire to become management professionals. Others want to pursue higher education to earn more knowledge.

I took the time to talk with a soon-to-be graduate from Augustana College about their commitment to becoming a theatre major while also dabbling in Music and Creative Writing courses.

Senior Ryan Hurdle said, “I do not plan on going to graduate school. Instead, I will be taking classes at the “Second City Training Center” for improving and sketching writing.”

Hurdle continued to say that after taking the required classes that “I will audition for their “Conservatory Program,” which would put me on the path to be in a “Second City” show someday…I’ll just be making music, theatre and comedy wherever people will let me.”’

Fine arts majors in college will take different steps. They have their own schooling, and each student has multiple goals they wish to achieve.

Following through in education with fine arts can result in different directions. Earning a Ph.D. takes between 5-6 years. In fine arts, you can earn a Ph.D., but that is to study a particular interest, such as acting. Students that chose to follow through with acting after that earn an undergraduate degree chose to venture off and try to make it into the professional world.

Estlin Feigley, a professor in the entertainment media department, first got his undergraduate degree at Augustana College in acting. He then broke down his reasoning on why he waited two years after graduating as an undergraduate to get his “MFA” (Masters of Fine Arts) at the University of Iowa.

“As an actor, you’re a product. As a product, personally, I was a big guy, physically large with a babyface . . . If I’m a product, my product is not going to be needed that much at this stage in my life. I might as well try to get a degree so one day things don’t work out for me, maybe I could go back and teach,” Feigly said.

Getting insight from people that have already accomplished what some students hope to accomplish is the best way to determine what the next step could be right for you.

Chris Heller is an accounting professor at Augustana that waited a few years to go back for his bachelor’s degree. He cited family as the main factor in his decision. “In the long run, when you get your graduate’s degree, you’re going to make a heck of a lot more money . . . but get it done before life gets too complex. That’s my strong opinion,” Heller said.

Whether an undergraduate ends up schooling with a bachelor’s degree or continues to receive a higher degree in school, the choice is of that student. Getting a graduate degree may already be required for some students because of their choice in career, while others have the option to do so for the reason of receiving more knowledge.

That decision may be coming up closer to others which can be exciting to think about, but it can very well be nerve-racking. Every accomplishment varies between students, but all one can do is to choose the next step that can benefit them and contribute as crucial parts of who they want to become, which lifestyle they want to live.