Julia Rosén Staff Writer
With graduation only four weeks away for the seniors at LIU Post, some students are choosing to take a break from school and work, while others are going directly to graduate school. The choice between work and school is hard, however choosing the right graduate school, once you’ve decided to con- tinue your studies, might be even harder. The decision to further your studies should not be taken lightly. Matters like paying your tuition and having the discipline to stay focused on school must be considered first. There is a lot to consider, but foremost, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of graduate school.
Before continuing with your education, you should first know if your desired profession requires a higher level than an under- graduate degree. In some professions, it is a necessity for getting a job, and starting a career, while in others, it is just a plus. For example, if you want to work as an artist, a graduate degree is usually not required, since it is your skills and talents that will get you a job. However, if you want to become a doctor, you have to go to medical school to get a license to practice medicine and therefore graduate school is a must.
Alea Rahim, who graduated from Post in the spring of 2012 with a BFA in Print and Electronic Journalism, decided to continue with her studies right away. As an international student from Malaysia, she had to continue her studies in order to stay in the United States. Rahim said, “In my situation, I didn’t have much of a choice in taking a break after receiving my BFA. However, if I did have the chance, I would still have gone right in to my Master’s.” Rahim is now studying Writing and Producing for Television, at the LIU Brooklyn campus.
The choice to pick that particular program was hard for Rahim, and at first she intended to continue with her studies in Journalism. “As I started to learn more about my abilities and about myself, I found that I geared towards the creative aspect of writing and was writing scripts on the side.” Rahim continued, “I felt relieved when I joined grad school. It sifted out those less interested and determined and placed a fairly small group of passionate individuals varying in age, educational background, and life experiences. So not only are you learning in class, but you are receiving lessons from the people around you. Grad school raises the bar in education.” Rahim says that she now goes to class at Steiner Studios and there, she is surrounded by professionals in her field, which allows her and her classmates to collaborate and act as if they are real writers. She says that she thoroughly enjoys class and that she is now always looking forward to it.
“In comparison to my undergraduate career,” Rahim said. “I find that my graduate studies are obviously more beneficial. I have started seriously collaborating with some of my classmates for projects out of class and I believe that I wouldn’t have had that opportunity as an undergraduate. What lacks in undergrad that you find more in grad school is passion. And you want to surround yourself with that or there’s no point in furthering your studies.” Rahim believes that every person is different, and there is no right answer on whether or not to go directly to Graduate School or not. She would recommend to those that are not sure as to what they want to do after their undergraduate degree, to take a break and find out what they want to do with life. “I mean, it’s an extra two years at another institution so you better be certain that’s what you’d like to get yourself into. Otherwise, you’re not only wasting your time, but every- one else’s in the class too,” said Rahim.
Elina Viitasaari, a senior with a double-major in Psychology and Criminal Justice, has chosen to go home to her home country, Finland, to work and then continue her studies. Viitasaari stated, “I have to work [a] little bit before going for a Masters in order to get the student loans a little smaller. So I’m mov- ing back to Finland. I’m now in the process of waiting to hear from different places to which I applied.”
Viitasaari’s plan after working is to apply for the Forensic Psychology program at the University of Helsinki. In Viitasaari’s case, money was an issue, but she wouldn’t mind going directly back to school either. “Guidance counselors don’t really suggest taking a break, but I don’t see any problem with that. After high school, I took three years off in order to do my military service and to work. I love studying, so for me the break always just makes me more motivated to go back to school but I’ve heard opposite story as well when people get too comfortable with their current jobs. I think you just need to do what you think is the best for you and what your life situation allows you to do.”
T.K. Wu, a senior Film major, does not feel graduate school is important for him. “School isn’t really important for me in the first place,” said Wu. “I’m a film major and unfortunately I don’t think film is something that can be taught at school. It solely relies on on-set experience and connections. Graduate school or even undergraduate school is not at all important in this field. Therefore, no, I won’t be going to grad school.”
Whether or not you are ready for graduate school, it is good to look at your choices and whether or not you are ready to give a couple of more years to educating yourself further. It is not always so easy to know what you want to do, but it is important to remember that it is okay to take a break to ensure you are making the right decision. For me, graduate school is something I want to pursue immediately after my undergraduate degree. However, what exactly I want to do is still not clear. I know I have time to figure that out. Right now, I am enjoying my time at Post and, hopefully, the pieces will fall into place by themselves.