For anyone considering pursuing a Master’s degree, do it! I know I may be the only one saying this right now, but the worst-case scenario is that you get an incredibly rewarding experience. Anyone who is seeking more knowledge should be willing to pay just for the experience, even if it did not have obvious benefits. Now for the hard part: doing it without financial support.
For those of you who are unwilling to take on a ton of student loans or if you do not qualify for some reason this is the guide for you. To get through the incredibly rewarding, but grueling situation you need to make sure your mind is right before you start and that begins with getting your priorities in order. If you do not have your priorities in order then you will fail at this incredible task of funding your own graduate study. Your priorities should go in this order, as strange as the order may seem:
- Family: Your family will be your support system through this and you should always make them feel valued. When you are with your family, be with them completely. Ignore emails and phone calls from work or school and pay attention to your loved ones. If you manage to finish your degree, but have damaged your family relationships than the education was not worth it. In addition to maintaining relationships, this time with your family will also provide you with some relaxation in you very hectic life, which will help you to be more productive in every way.
- School: Once you and your family are on the same page, you need to realize your education is your future and it has to take priority over other professional commitments. If you feel the degree is not as important as your current position then it is likely that pursuing a graduate degree (without your employers blessing) is a poor idea.
- Work: Since you are funding your own graduate study, you will have to work. Your work will be incredibly important, but you always have to remember that there are things that are more important because when you are done with your degree it will help you progress professionally.
The second step to getting your mind right is to realize what your life will be like if you decide to foot the bill for your own education. It is likely that your schedule will look something like the following:
- 1 hour to workout (trust me you will want to).
- 1 hour of travelling.
- 8 hours to work.
- 1 hour for lunch.
- 2 hours of class.
- 2 hours of homework.
- 3 hours to spend with family.
- 6 hours to sleep.
- 8 hours of sleep.
- 4 hours of chores.
- 8 hours with family.
- 4 hours of homework.
If this is a schedule cannot commit to there is no way you should attempt to pay for your own graduate school. However, if you can commit to the above schedule (or something like it) you may be ready to take the leap. In the next article we will talk about the actual preparation process of selecting a graduate school and a job if you have that luxury.