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Too many choices and don't know what to do!


ae26

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I graduated back in 2010 with a BS in Psychology. It took me 6 tumultuous years to complete this degree after changing twice from pre-med/Biology, and management, and one year of community colelge to re-admit back to the program after my grades went down. After I graduated I took a retail job and have since been working for 2 years. I moved up quickly in this job but at some point in last few months I suddenly feel I really need to get back to do some higher education. I don't have any desire to continue this path in retail and have been doing some research about grad programs. Being 26 years old I fear that it will be too late to go back to school and the time is now.

The problem is I have no concrete idea of where my interests lay. I have considered an MBA but don't have any particular vision of what to do with it. In my last year of undergrad I considered MPH. I have looked to some of my friends and peers who are in med, dental, and pharmacy schools and kind of regret I didn't complete this path and kind of wish the opportunity was still there to do this. I have spoken brielfy with a graduate counselor at the local university and am still confused and unsure. I have a wide range of talents and interests and have considered going back for a 2nd undergrad degree in computer science or informatics. This is the same indecisiveness that caused me issues in my undergrad years and I don't want to make the same mistake twice. My GPA may not be good enough for admission into the some of the masters programs including MBA program so I might have to go back as non degree seeking student for a few semesters. You would think I have saved up enough money last two years to return to school but I barely have enough for a year's worth of tuition and fees, etc. What would you recommend for someone in my situation? Thanks.

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Wow, tough questions. Let's put the $ woes aside for a minute. You probably owe it to yourself to explore a little bit. Take a couple of classes as a non matriculating student, and see if you can sneak into other courses of interest. Take a CS course and then mosey (sp?) over to the business school and set foot in one of their large, lecture courses. The following semester or summer, take a pre-med (or upper level bio) course and sneak into another course. If you're working, look into evening courses. The point is, you need to explore. And given your age, your exploration window might be getting ready to close. So... do it now! (I say this as a non-trad student myself...I took 4 yrs btwn college and grad). Once you do that, you'll have a lot more direction.

Also, don't commit to any degree if you don't have a clear idea of what you want to do with it. So, you should also look into career options for these diff. interests you have.

Once you find direction, a post-bacc might be a good idea (since you ran into a lot of academic trouble as an undergrad). You have your work cut out for you, but keep at it.

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I wouldn't spend money on classes until you've got a definite idea of what you want to do, especially since money is an issue.

I think what would be really helpful is research. Not just superficial I may be interested in this stuff, but actually look up what people study for such a degree, course listings and topics included, kinds of projects they work on, and what they end up working in for each of those programs you're interested in. Make a list of all the possibilities that interest you, and spend a couple of weeks tackling each idea and listing all related details, including what possible additional classes you may need to take, or if you need a second degree, need to apply to graduate degree etc. It may be easier to start with what careers interest you, and work backwards from there. I think when you have it all laid out in details in front of you and having done all the related research, it would make making the decision of what you actually want a lot easier and clearer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Have you thought about a MSN? A lot of schools offer a program where you can get your Masters of Nursing in just a year if you already have a BS/BA in any field. Since you were pre-med/psychology chances are you have the prerecs already. And this is in the medical field, which you mentioned regretting not getting into. Or even going to PA school. Maybe someday after doing this program you will decide to go to Med School and you'll have experience in the medical field already. I know doctors that didn't go to Med School until their 40s after they retired from teaching. 26 is still very young. I will be starting a Masters program in Jan at 28. I don't have much money saved up either but, I know I need the Masters to advance in my career path and I'm sucking it up and taking financial aid. I also asked for the books I need for classes for Christmas, so I don't have to take as much aid. I will also be working at least part time, the entire time I'm in the program.

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You really need to start talking with people in those fields. Sometimes it is easier to go through the alumni office at your alma mater to ask whether they have any alumni who are willing to talk with people about x,y,z field. Sometimes you can just email people you came across through searching the internet. Ultimately, you ask them simple questions about what they like about their jobs and what they don't like, how they got to where they are at, and what they typically do on a daily basis. You can have this conversation through email, phone call, or in person meeting (the initial contact should be email since that is usually less obtrusive). Generally, I would let them pick which method that they prefer. If is through email though, limit your questions to only the most important ones since emails that take hours to respond to might not get answered if and when things get busy. Their responses hopefully will help you narrow down what field you should consider. Then you need to decide based on those informational interviews whether you need to go back to school or not.

I definitely don't recommend enrolling in a graduate program if you are not sure on what field you want to be in. Grad school can be pretty expensive in certain fields and you don't want to be stuck in an area that you don't particularly enjoy because you need to pay off your loan debt.

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