Soon, you shall bow and call me Master

In June, assuming all goes as planned I will graduate with a B.Sc. in History with a minor in Political Science. It’s been five years plus a bit in the making, going to school part-time and evenings while working more-or-less full time.

I’m finishing spring break now and after spending several days at the seaside playing with my kids and staying in old motel on the beach I returned home to an email that informed me that I have been admitted to graduate school: a Master’s of Arts in History program. 15 months, fully online.

First reaction: Yay!

Then: Gulp. Holy shit. What have I gotten myself into?

So on one hand here I am—a 10th grade high school dropout with a GED who never took the SAT—about to start grad school: something I never, in all the years I have been whittling away at my bachelor’s, thought I would be able to accomplish.

On the other hand, I need to find a way to pay for it. And since History isn’t exactly one of the top-10 in-demand degrees, I’m concerned that if I take out loans to pay for it I’ll simply be saddled with an ever-increasing amount of debt that I may not be able to easily pay back.

I’m conflicted, scared, worried, and excited all at once. I need to find a job after graduating in June (Any Oregon dopers have any good leads?) but I’m not confident that will allay my sudden newfound fears regarding school. I sacrificed much to finish my undergrad—I moved 200 miles away from my wife and family to ensure that I had continuity in my education. My wife was finishing her associate’s degree at a community college and staying together would have meant one or the other of us would’ve had to quit school temporarily. Now, in a few short weeks, it will be over and I’ll be home and hopefully I will have a normal family again. That’s good. Maybe grad school will pale in comparison? I don’t know.

But I’m ready to take the plunge and to join the ranks of the college instructors that gave me so much encouragement and strength and many cheers as I struggled my way forward. I have no clue what this next chapter in my life will bring, but I welcome it.

Conga rats, and good luck!

But first, we shall nod in your general direction and call you Bachelor.

Conga rats heat up the dance floor

And Conga rats from me too

Conga rats indeed!!

In my past, storied as it is, I was a grad student in history. I received an income by TAing (leading sections, lecturing, and grading). I am not completely sure how this would work with an online program but I think something similar may be possible. I had a friend who worked at a community college and her classes were online. First stop, talk to the financial aid people and the folks in your department at your new school and see what they offer.

Nope, he’s not a bachelor, he’s married. :wink:

From dropping out of HS to grad school; impressive! <Dance time!>

Congrats in advance, Lancia! I know it’s been a long and windy path. Happy to see the results!

You stole my line :slight_smile:

I know… I’m really having a hard time believing it. I feel almost like they haven’t realized what a dumbass they now have on their hands, or maybe it’s some horrible practical joke—seriously, it took me a while to convince myself I haven’t fallen for some hugely elaborate scam.

This means a lot. You know more than most here what struggles I’ve had to deal with the last several years, and your cheers are much welcome. I may not be on my way to being a mathematician or IT pro, but I’m doing what I love.

High school grad to Air Force. Not enough scholarships to make University. GI Bill. Starved, Sweated, Worked my ass off to get my BS in English Lit, Dad says “get a degree or you’re nothing”. That from an alcoholic, closeted homosexual. 6 years for a BS, U of O '83. Worked as TA, Associate Prof at JC’s, never earning enough to support anyone. (Joke: What is the difference between and English Major and a Large Pizza? Answer: A large Pizza CAN feed a family of four.) Went back into the mechanical field (HVAC) where I earned my tuition/living money and am doing wonderfully. Married an RN. Have a great son and great life. Took me 3 years to pay off student loans. There’s something Shakespearean in there but damned if I can see it.
In hind sight I should have gone for Mechanical Engineering or some engineering field, but my dad was a Political Science/English dual major and as the first born, I was expected to go into the “Family Business” as it were. My next brother is a master cabinet maker and the youngest one is in Public Health, worked to eradicate Small Pox and other nasties in Africa. (Both sisters are Government Employees. But I love them.)

Congratulations! It’s a fantastic feeling to be accepted into grad school, and you’ve certainly earned it.

I originally graduated from college with a BA in History and planned on getting my PhD and teaching college. I was accepted into my #1 and #3 grad schools. But I couldn’t get enough funding and would have needed to take out more student loans.

In the end, I chose not to go. I was looking at another 7 years of school. If I could find a job after graduating, starting salary was forecasted to be about $30k.

I stumbled into another line of work (accounting), and made $30k that first year. My yearly salary is now substantially higher.

Do I miss history? Definitely. Do I wish I had pursued my PhD? Honestly, no. From a financial standpoint, my current income is higher and I’ve been able to start saving for retirement a full 7 years earlier than if I went to grad school.

I’m in school part-time now working on getting enough hours to qualify to sit for the CPA. I do wish I had either gotten an accounting degree to begin with, or gone back to school soon after first graduating.

There isn’t a right answer for everyone. Pursuing your masters might be the best decision for you and your family. I would recommend looking long and hard at all of your options before making a decision.

Good luck!!

This is a huge freaking deal. And yes, you’ve earned it. I know how hard you’ve been working.

And yes, it’s also scary. I’m going to try not to dissuade you just because of my own bitterness toward academia (though I don’t regret my Masters for a second, it’s the Ph.Ds I look upon with suspicion.) But these are financial realities to consider, you will be challenged to find a job and you may not make much money. But if it’s what you love doing then it doesn’t really matter. It is a calculated risk. But what’s life without risk?

Just curious, what were you planning 5 years ago when you started down this path? did you look into career prospects?

Hey, I’m also a history nut and I’d love to get a degree in history. But sadly I know it doesnt pay anything so I will just live out my hobby thru books, movies, and visits to museums. If I had more time I’d do historical recreations.

If they thought you were a dumbass they would have shoved you into a Doctorate program, not a Masters program.

With a Master’s degree in History, you should be able to find a job as a teacher’s aide somewhere in southern Malheur County, perhaps Lakeview if you get lucky.