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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two Degrees Below Cray Cray

Decisions: I HATE THEM.

But they're a part of life, and I have a pretty big one I need to address.

My school offers a dual degree program, which means normal students could earn both a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Administration degree in two years. Since I am an advanced standing student, I am already getting my MSW in a year. So, I can't take them both at the same time, but I can still jump right in and get the MPA by the following winter. That would mean I could get an MSW and an MPA in five semesters. Not terrible, right? For what I want to do, it might be a good idea. But I am going insane trying to decide this, and I need to decide it sooner rather than later. So, minus Ted Mosby and the yellow legal pad, I am making a pros and cons list. This is going to be so fun for you, who is still bothering to read this.

I am a pessimist, so let's start with the:

  • Being in school for the past two months has made me remember that I hate school. I love learning, but eff all this effing hoops-jumping and paper length requirements and grade-obsessing. And never having fun because there is ALWAYS something else to be doing. And taking classes I don't care about. EFF IT ALL I TELL YOU.
  • Taking the first MPA class this coming fall, along with the required work of the MSW, would put me at a brain-deadening 16 credit hours, including an internship for 21 hours per week. I want to shoot myself in the foot just thinking about it. Only taking 12 credits this semester minus any internship and barely working is giving me panic attacks. Admittedly, I could be better at handling my stress levels... I'm working on it.
  • Money. School costs a lot of fucking money. Plus interest. My undergraduate debt already terrifies me, and I am going into more debt for just the MSW. Will all of this pay off? What if it doesn't? WHAT IF IT DOESN'T YOU GUYS.  I could wind up featured in some sad article about how I have all of these degrees and all this debt and work at Pizza Hut wishing I hadn't gone to school at all. The Baby Boomers will read it and laugh, and my generation will read it and quietly weep, knowing it is to be their fate. It will be tragic, and I will be tragic. (Yes, my brain goes that far. Stop judging me.)
  • Time. Going to school full time for another two semesters is time that could be spent working and making money. I am very eager to get a big girl job, start a career, and be a grown up who has things like insurance, a normal sleep schedule, vacations, and uhm, pantsuits? I don't know. 
Whew. Now for the:

  • By December 2014, I will have earned two advanced degrees in under two years, and I will feel pretty damn proud of that. 
  • Here's some realness: The MPA is more in-line with what I want to do with my life than the MSW. I don't want to work directly with clients. I want to change the policies that make the clients need social workers in the first place (that's a simplification of my ever-changing life goals, but you get the picture). I probably shouldn't have jumped the gun and gone directly into the MSW program because it was there and would only take a year, but what's done is done and it would be stupid to change to an MPA completely at this point. 
  • My job opportunities will be better. I think. Right? They'd have to be. I sometimes felt that my BSW didn't pay off, but if I'm honest with myself, I just wasn't looking hard enough because I didn't even remotely know what I wanted to do, and I was never in a position to be choosy. With both degrees, I think I could be more choosy, and I'd be more likely to get a job I truly want instead of settling for something that I might get if I only had the MSW. 
So there's that. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, nerds, but if I were a Vulcan, I would choose the CONS and not do it because there are more of them than the PROS. But I am not a Vulcan. I am an exceedingly emotional human and I change my mind on this subject literally several times a day. Usually it depends on if I'm working on an assignment, and how much I hate working on said assignment. I just can't decide what's best for me (us). Joel thinks I should do it. His is really the only opinion I've invited so far because he's the one other person besides me who would be affected. I just want someone to choose for me. It is honestly one of the hardest decisions I've encountered in awhile, and it is keeping me awake at night (but so does everything else. Ever). 



PS - On a lighter note, and completely unrelated:

Joel and I went to Canada this past weekend to visit his family. We stayed in his parents' neighbor's house while they were on vacation and they had these cool masks. We (I) had fun playing with them.

Welcome to your most terrible nightmares.


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