I don’t post here much so quick rundown.
I have a BA in political science and psychology, class of 2010. Currently working in a random ‘in the meantime’ corporate job for the past 6 months.
Anyway, I made the last minute decision in December to apply for Masters in Statistics.
The results are back:
Purdue and Iowa: denied.
NIU, Loyola, Michigan State, Illinois-Urbana-Champaign(top choice – in state) – admitted! (without funding of course – it’s a masters).
Anyway I’m fairly certain I can complete the master’s in 1 calendar year. (3 courses fall, 4 courses spring, 2 courses summer).
However… all of the sudden I’m having doubts about attending.
I’ve been taking a linear algebra class as part of my preparations – and although I’m doing very well, I find it painful/ very difficult to crack open the linear algebra textbook in most nights. It just doesn’t inspire or enthuse me a great deal.
Now I’m thinking – is this a sign of things to come? I became greatly interested in stats due to my psychology and political science work and experiments – but at the same time, the ANOVA’s and regressions and logit/ probit models of undergrad social sciences are a far cry from Rao-Blackwell theorem or Edgeworth expansions. For starters they didn’t require ANY calculus, vectors, or linear algebra. I’m confident in my abilities in those, but I’m not so certain about my interest --- especially in theoretical math. I love applied statistical study more for the relevance and the insight – to be honest the discoveries in my linear algebra class about math were sort of interesting (particularly underdetermined vs overdetermined systems), but not as much as a psychology course.
I’m just having doubts about my math interest all the sudden. And then there’s the career afterwards. I’m not what one would call “certain” about my career interests. Would a one year masters pigeon hole me into a math or data based career for life? Or would it open up opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise?
Add to THAT, that recently a new job has come knocking on my door. Better salary, benefits, etc. It’s working with technology AND data analysis, including some statistics. The guy is willing to give me the job provided I don’t have graduate school plans in the fall, of course, which is sensible. This would be a great opportunity to see if data analysis is something I DO enjoy doing right now, plus I would learn more about business and further my technology/ programming skills. Wouldn’t that be better on doubling down on an unknown (grad school in applied stat?) --- or would 1 year, $13,500 total tuition grad school be so little an investment in time and money, that it would be fool-hearty NOT to do it?
I’m just so confused right now. I’m a bit intimidated by grad school, and I’m not CERTAIN math and stats is the ultimate field for me. Or whether a year of calculus + vector based upper level math is going to be a masochistic experience. I also feel like grad school is a now-or-never proposition.
Add to my career uncertainty, the social aspect. My social life is in shambles right now to an extent due to a period of unemployment after graduation (I’m still living at home, but would move out if taking the new job). And I think the allure of returning to a college environment (although grad school is MUCH different than undergrad socially I’ve heard) for social reasons might be clouding my judgment ---- like maybe I’m sort of enticed by visions of a great social life – even though just a one year grad program --- and not necessarily the rigorous study of upper-level statistics and stochastic processes.
Finally – and not to downplay the stats folk here – but for most business purposes, are THAT complex of statistics really needed, outside of high finance or insurance?
That would be my main goal of MS in Stats – to put myself in a better position to pursue a career I like. Aka, purely to get a job in industry. But do most jobs/ businesses/ fields --- other than finance, pharm, or insurance --- require thorough knowledge of Bayesian statistics or what not? I don’t know. I could always crack open a textbook on Categorical Analysis or Time Series myself, too, outside of school.
I’m just having a quarter life crisis right now it seems. Do I go to grad school? Take the new job? Yes, the main problem is I’m unsure of my ultimate career interests.
Anyone have similar feeling or know what to do? Advice especially welcome from people who went to grad school for stats, or other perspectives as well.
Forgot to mention: I have to decide if I want the new job by Sunday! (two days) Freaking out!
Edited by peter_parker, 23 March 2012 - 11:28 PM.