Dear Mable: Solving a Quarter Life Crisis
Hi babes! Sorry it’s been a minute, I was busy making friends at BookExpo America, but I promise I won’t “ghost” on you again (get it??)! Let’s get back to business! Today we only have one question to answer, b/c this chick needs our advice ASAP! So let’s make some dreams come true.
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I am 27 and currently in the middle of a midlife crisis. I’ve been contemplating about going to grad school for the last 3 years but was not able to do so due to my financial circumstances (I’m not an American btw and I live in a third world country). I was only able to go to college because of a scholarship and wasn’t even able to use my degree due to the job market. Now that I’ve saved up some money, I’m thinking of going back to school but feel that it might be too late. Studying part time would take 4 years(!) and is most probably incompatible with my rotating work schedule. I feel so torn between making do with my current job or striving for more at the risk of incurring huge debts. Can you give some advice?
Take a deep breath and buckle up sis, because I’ve got some advice for you. There is nothing in this world that is unconquerable – we’ll figure this out! Firstly, I am so proud of you for busting your ass and getting scholarships to put yourself through college – it ain’t easy. Now, why do you want to go back to grad school? If it’s because you think you will have more of a chance of obtaining a job with your degree, I would make sure you’ve exhausted every option of looking for a job that uses your degree first. Have you gone to degree-specific networking events? If not, get on it babe. Have you kept in touch with your professors or bosses from an internship? Reconnect with them (whether you have been in touch or not), and ask them for advice on getting a job with your degree – see if they know anyone who has a job you would want and ask if they can connect you with them, and then network, network, network. If you feel like you are harassing people for help or advice, you’re doing it right.
If, however, you want to go to grad school because the job of your dreams requires a higher degree of education, then babe, you have to do it. You said you’ve thought about grad school for the last 3 years – don’t think and wonder and dream about it for the next 50. It won’t be easy, that’s for damn sure. But if it’s your dream, you have to try.
Make a list of grad schools you would want to go to (don’t eliminate any b/c of cost yet). Email or call their admissions department and ask about scholarships. Go back to your under-grad professors and ask them about any applicable scholarships they know about. Hell, Google some scholarships!
I’m sure that going to school part-time would take longer than you would like, but the average female life expectancy is 79 years, so what’s 4 years! Plus, it’s your dream, soo…
Try and see if you can talk to your boss/manager/whatever and ask if you can have a concrete set of hours so you can have a reliable schedule to base classes around. If you’re asking for regular hours to go back to school, and not to like, make out with your boyfriend behind the mall, I’m sure they would be willing to help you out.
I’m recommending 2 books for you because, honey, you need them both and they’re both great. Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner is a great learner’s guide to personal finance. Made specifically for those in their 20’s and 30’s (you’re a perfect fit, it’s a sign!), this book helps break down the stupidly complicated world of money into easy to manage segments. You’ll learn to decrease your debt, avoid common money mistakes, and invest for your future. This book will be your bible for managing the debt of grad school, and will walk you through how to plan your future.
Now, I was torn over 2 “inspirational” books for you, because they both seem like great options, but I am going to pitch you the funny one (I figured if you like Glommable, you’d probably want the funny one). Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary is a life-survival guide based on Linda Kaplan Thaler’s and Robin Koval’s own experiences with perseverance and determination in the face of adversity. They discuss how the number one factor to success is not money, or privilege, but rather hard work, and they back this up with anecdotes and research. This book will help keep that fire lit under your butt, and will make sure you have all the reasons you need to push yourself until you succeed at grad school. Don’t worry though, the lightness of Thaler and Kovel’s voice and their injections of humor will keep you from being bored, I promise!
I know this is all a lot, but I wouldn’t tell you all this if I didn’t think you could handle it – I mean, you’ve already earned yourself a college scholarship and then graduated from said college! I think you already know what you should do – you told me that your options are “making do or striving,” and no one should make do with their life.
Now go out there and make yourself proud.