Decisions, Decisions...

I am considering going back to school for my masters degree. I love being in school. I want to have more opportunities in life and I think that more education could really help me find a job that makes me happy instead of making me count down the minutes until the end of the day.

Many of you are aware of the craziness at my current job. Couple the unpleasant working environment with the fact that being an insurance agent doesn’t fill me with squee and you understand why I might want to go back to school. However, I keep having this argument with my brain:

pbbth’s brain:

Oooh, get your masters in history! You love history and you could do something you really enjoy in life!


Come on, brain, a masters in history is essentially useless and would leave me working for, like, $12,000 a year. Sure I would love my job but I do not like eating ramen. Try something else!

pbbth’s brain:

Oooh, go to law school! You love Law and Order and you are great at presenting, arguing, and being in front of people. You could really, really love your job if you were a lawyer!


Okay brain, first of all you know you cannot pick a career based on a television show. That always ends badly. Second of all, if I wanted to work 75 hours a week I would go to med school and be a doctor and learn to save lives or do something awesome to make up for the lack of a personal life.

pbbth’s brain:

Oooh, a doctor! You could totally…


NO! We just discussed that. No working more than 50 hours a week or so. Come on now, think!

pbbth’s brain:

What about art history? You love art, you love history, you could work in a gallery or something and love spending all day surrounded by beautiful works of art.


Hmm…that sounds like it could be good. I don’t have any work experience within the arts though, and how would that affect my ability to get a job after I got my masters? And how many millions of people out there have degrees in art history and serve coffee for a living?

pbbth’s brain:

Fine then! Stop asking me for help and ask someone else.

So I am taking my brain’s advice and asking you what field of study you would recommend for a masters degree. My favorite subjects have always been history, literature, theater, art, etc. I am not aware of any positions in any of these fields that would make you any decent amount of money except for the very tippy top of the fields (movie stars, famous artists, etc.) but there might be a lot of stuff out there of which I am not aware that I could enjoy and live a comfortable lifestyle at the same time. I am looking for something that would allow me, if nothing else, a comfortable middle ground between money and happiness. I don’t need to be super rich but I should be able to pay for all of my needs, some of my wants and save for retirement. I don’t need to be paid to eat chocolate and pet puppies and kitties all day to be happy either, but I want something that offers a bit of a challenge and could really hold my interest. I want my degree to be useful enough for me to be able to work in a related field (unlike my current bachelors degree) and not have the only benefit of it be the prestige that goes along with having a masters degree.

So what say you, dopers? Any recommendations?

Sorry, I don’t have any recommendations, but if you ever record your conversations with a brain and burn them to a CD, I’d like to request a copy in advance.

I would like to suggest the MA program that I had the good fortune to complete: MA Program in Humanities at the University of Chicago.

Basically, it’s a one-year program where you can design your own curriculum - our program included English literature, philosophy, art history, creative writing, cinema studies, and classicist majors, and everyone in-between. The alumni network is great and there are internships and whatnot to help you with the practical aspect of your grad school education. Most of us are working as community college teachers (which isn’t the best paying job, but if you work out in the suburbs it isn’t the worst paying job either), admin for educational and cultural programs at non-profits and universities, or in art museums, libraries, publishers, and so forth. It was an amazing year for me; very intense, as you are expected to do your coursework and write a thesis all at the same time, but the department is divided into smaller precepts according to fields of interest and you have the opportunity to take classes from some of the most brilliant minds in academia. It’s also a good opportunity to get a feel for what you want to do - some of us are planning to go on to do our PhDs, others are applying for law school.

Seriously, it’s an awesome program, and you get a two-year education for the price of one. :smiley:

Excellent suggestion HazelNutCoffee, but I would need to stay in NYC. I love it here and would rather keep working crap jobs forever and stay in the city than have a job I love but have to leave. I will check the universities around here and see if they have anything similar though!

I will add your name to the list. :slight_smile:

Journalism at Columbia.

Well I knew a few people in NYC who worked in museums – one is a graphic designer and the other two were/are in development. Of course they weren’t rich but they had full time jobs with benefits. So if you want to work in museums that seems like a reasonable enough goal. Publishing seems like another field that attracted friends with arts&literature interests.

If you want to stay in NYC then I would say pick the career first, then the grad school, IMHO grad school in NYC is too expensive to do without a solid game plan.