Friday, June 29, 2012

I Decided to be a Master

After much debate, research, thoughts, confusion, applications, etc, I once again made either a brilliant decision or a really, really idiotic decision. I decided to be a master. Once I made that decision, I had to decide what specific program and at what school. Did I want to go more in the direction of student affairs or of counseling

I was accepted to The Ohio State University, University of Kansas, and University of Southern California.

To make the long and grueling process and story very short, here's the decision:
I'll be attending the University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare in the Fall, pursuing my MSW.

KU, home of the Jayhawks (basketball fans, anyone?), is "a great place to be a champion" and their reasoning behind their School of Social Welfare is "because people deserve lives with dignity". Their program has four themes:
  1. Focus on people's strengths
  2. Celebration of human diversity
  3. Promotion of social and economic justice
  4. Developing a critical perspective
My undergraduate degree was primarily financed through scholarships. Well, all scholarships. Those scholarships, given to me because I did something well or providing some necessary service, were really the driving force to me deciding to minor and not take an "easy" semester. I felt like the state of Arizona had faith in me to do well--they trusted me academically.

My graduate degree will primarily be financed through loans. In fact, all loans. I had to take out $30,000 in loans to pay for one year of grad school and I'll have to take that same amount out for my second year as well. At first I took that to mean that the federal government and the school had no faith in me. They weren't trusting me and didn't believe in me. And then I thought about it differently. And I may be the only person to think of loans this way, but whatever. They have a lot of faith in me to repay that money (ends up being about $45,000 with interest--multiply by two--I'll be about $90,000 in debt in student loans.) They're trusting me financially. 

After doing a student loan calculator, it reported that I would be paying nearly $400 every month for 10 years just in student loans and in order to do that, I would need to get a job with a salary of $45,000/yr to have a "decent" living and the least amount I could make would be $33,000/yr--though if I did that I would live "very uncomfortably". I'm getting my degree in social work...

If I didn't go to graduate school, I could be one of the few without any debt. And all the money I'm making, I would get to keep. I could get a new car, buy a house, begin real jobs now, and not be in any debt. Instead, I chose to go to school. 

I'm choosing Kansas over California (my dream location). I'm choosing to rent a house instead of living in a house for free (helping me stay financially secure, ever so slightly, and I actually could get a new car). I'm choosing to be in debt almost in 6 figures instead of living debt free. I'm choosing to move away from the time zone I've lived in for over 17 years, away from all that I've known. 

After all this, it sounds like I made a really, really idiotic decision. And then I look at the purpose and themes of the school and hope that it ends up being a brilliant one.