Entering a demanding graduate program this semester I have learned an important lesson, very few people actually understand the process and demand of higher education.
The process of graduate school is daunting on its own. The application process and the required admission exams. The experience required and dealing with the stress of maintaining meaningful relationships outside of school.
It becomes slightly frustrating and discouraging when family members and friends are constantly asking me when I am going to be finished with school. I always try to laugh and down play the answer by saying not for a while. However, the real answer if everything goes as planed, five to seven years.
I will give you all the quick tour through my graduate school process. There are two ways one can go post bachelors. Master’s program or Ph.D. program. Ph.D. sounds like the way to go, unfortunately with California’s budget cuts admission is close to impossible without a lot of research experience. Hence the master’s program in research. My master’s program is two years, some take longer. After two years I will apply to Ph.D. programs, J.D. programs and J.D. Ph.D. combined programs. Keeping my fingers crossed I can stay in beautiful sunny LA and not end up in the middle of no where in six feet of snow. Depending the program and if my current master’s degree is accepted, I will be there for five to seven years. The huge plus is that I will likely be getting paid once I enter a Ph.D. program. Either for teaching or doing research for that university. Keep in mind sometime in the next year I need to take the GRE again and the LSAT. I also need to attain at least three letters of recommendation that are relevant to the program I am applying and write personal statements for each program. In addition to my current course load and commitments to two research labs.
My point is simple; higher education is not easy. Waking up at 5:00 am and returning home at 8:30 pm is not easy. I am not here because it is easy. I am here attempting to make the world a better place.