Congratulations on earning your bachelor‘s degree is always followed by the question “So what are you going to do now?”. Don’t be fooled by the openness of this question. There is only one answer, and it doesn’t contain the word ‘job’. Having taken my time on my bachelor’s, my student loans were running dry and wouldn’t last another year. As a result I was forced to consider whether I actually wanted to pursue a master’s degree. I believe everyone should consider getting their master’s, but no one should take it lightly.
In the process I came to realise more and more that, in essence, a master’s degree is more a preparation towards becoming a researcher than a requirement for a professional career. During the master’s course, the theoretical scope is narrowed down within the chosen field of research, followed by a year of actually doing research. In today’s world though, the degree seems to have lost its essential value. Heck, in some fields you barely stand a chance of getting a job if you haven’t done extracurricular activities beside your master’s, because the degree itself is seen as common practice. This is even more baffling when you realise that in many lines of work the theory acquired even during your bachelor’s degree is scarcely touched upon. Imagine if you get a job outside your field.
It is a lonely line of work that takes mental endurance and dedication
And actually getting a master’s degree is not something that should be taken lightly. At first it seems just a ‘harder version’ of the bachelor’s, until you come to the research part. People seem to underestimate the difficulty of doing research. It is a lonely line of work that takes mental endurance and dedication to study a single subject. I honestly haven’t spoken to any master student, graduated or still going, who didn’t at some point face mental health issues ranging from ‘just’ weeklong periods of gloom to people on the brink of suicide. A barely touched upon fact for prospective students is that a number of students actually quit after years of struggle.
In my quest in finding a job, I found out that becoming a working member of society isn’t as terrible as it is made out to be. Employers are realising more and more that people should be judged as persons, not just as lists of boxes to be ticked. Employers are also realising that whatever study you did, as a mere scholar you have no idea about working life. They know you will have a lot to learn on the work floor and are prepared to help you on your way. And do not be scared of working nine to five, many people fear ‘the everyday grind’, but they fail to realise that at 17:00, you’re done. Try that as a student. Oh, and you get paid.
Boudewijn de Roode was bachelor student mechanical engineering and is currently working as a project engineer.