The experience of attending college as an undergrad is universal. No doubt, each person’s experience will be unique, but overall, people’s lives are running side-by-side at this point in their lives.
For those who choose to study at graduate schools, the situation is not the same. Traditionally, attending undergrad is to go immediately following high school. There are no common educational pathways for higher education.
As you think about going back to school to get your graduate degree, you must consider how this will impact your life now and how it will impact your existing routines and networks.
#1 Financial status
Graduate degrees cost money, but you might not know where the money will come from. You may be hesitant to rely exclusively on your student loans, especially if you took out student loans for your undergrad that you are still paying back. Consider your current budget. Are you able to devote money to tuition every month from your salary? Do you have dependents that you are responsible for? Can your spouse’s salary cover some of the additional costs while you spend more time studying?
Or maybe you are single and live alone or have a spouse but only live in a one-income household.
There is much to consider. Do not let previous student loans deter you from exploring this option at this stage. The good news is that you likely have a more established credit history and can potentially receive loan terms that are flexible, manageable, and support your long-term financial plans. You can grow without the financial burden of tuition by taking out a student loan from a private lender. These firms offer a level of flexibility that is well suited for students at a graduate level who have more on their personal and financial plates than exclusively attending college.
No doubt grad school will take a toll on your relationships, with others as well as with yourself. This change does not mean negative experiences though. In fact, adding a graduate degree to your schedule can sharpen your skills in relationships such as communication, time management, and transparency. If you are hoping to become less co-dependent in your relationships this can be a great way to achieve that goal. Taking on this challenge will increase your self-reliance and help you learn how to problem-solve independently.
#3 Physical impact
Do not underestimate the tool that grad school can have on your physical self. Elements like sleep patterns, energy levels, and exercise habits will all be impacted as you work to get your post-grad degree. This should not be received as a statement meant to overwhelm you though.
As with every other life change you have encountered to this point, simple adaptations will be major game-changers.
Take inventory of how your body best thrives physically and prioritize those habits. If you can wake up and hit the ground running, consider prioritizing things like earlier bedtimes, and morning workouts into your routine to help support your physical wellbeing.