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Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


I got into their Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences. It's a rigorous program, meant primarily to be a prelude to PhD study....but lets be honest, who spends that much money to do something that most schools pay you to do (via stipeds and tuition waivers)?

My mom wants me to go. My co-workers at work think I'd be insane to turn down this opportunity - even though they sympathize with my anxiety about the cost. Most of my friends think I should spend the money and forget about it.

I'm 25. I have 80k in student loan debt. I went to a good private university (Boston College) and paid a fortune to attend. I have spend the last three years, since graduating, barely making ends meet. Working temp jobs, struggling to pay off my loans. This is part of the reason why attending is appealing, despite the cost. Maybe going to U Chicago will open doors? Maybe I can get a cushy job with the government, or some management consulting firm? Maybe. There are no guarantees. I'm sure plenty of U Chicago grads make a fortune. But I don't know.

I am personally leaning against going. 120k....for a cloudy career trajectory, for jobs I don't even necessarily want. I just want to have a decent job that will give me a cozy life. I don't need a Maserati. I want to live within my means. I want to travel. I want a pension, and a decent amount of vacation.

Then there's the stress that comes with student loan debt. gently caress, it's horrible. I HATE being constrained by my debt! I want it to end! Am I really supposed to cure poison with more poison?

But what if I'm wrong? What if by turning down this opportunity, I stay stagnant, continuing to work temp jobs, living a marginal life and never making anything of myself?

What do you guys think?

UPDATE:

So I officially withdrew last Monday and I was a little depressed. Even though I knew, intellectually, that I had made the right choice, it was still a difficult thing to say no to an elite education. So much of my self-worth was bound up in the idea of attending a top school that it hurt a little bit to walk away from it all.

I told co-workers at my temp job of my decision. One of these co-workers as a funny, unassuming guy I assumed was just a regular office drone. He didn't carry himself in any special way, and I enjoyed our brief, casual conversations about the office, or politics, which he was passionate about.

Turns out he was an executive. He wanted me to go to U Chicago but upon hearing that I was sticking around, he suggested that I apply for an opening in a department he managed. I interviewed last friday and got the job. It's a salaried gig that pays dramatically more than I've ever been paid.

In the span of a week I've withdrawn from graduate school and initated a new career. Hopefully it works out - it will work out, because I refuse to squander this amazing opportunity. I'm beyond excited.

Radio Talmudist fucked around with this message at Aug 20, 2014 around 13:40

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Bloody Queef
Mar 22, 2012


I feel like the type of Social Sciences is important.

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


Bloody Queef posted:

I feel like the type of Social Sciences is important.

It's an interdisciplinary degree, meaning I can take courses from any of the Social Science departments in the school. I would primarily be studying Political Economics.

PuTTY riot
Nov 16, 2002


That sounds like a Rich Man's degree to be honest.

Tai-Pan
Feb 9, 2001


Radio Talmudist posted:


.... for jobs I don't even necessarily want.


There is your answer right there.

There are two reasons to go to graduate school. One, because the job you want requires it (Law, medicine, certain banking professions, etc). Or, Two, because you really, personally, want to study that area.

There are plenty of unemployed/underemployed people with graduate degrees, especially in the social sciences. It is by no means a panacea for your career woes.

Radio Talmudist posted:

I would primarily be studying Political Economics.
Yikes.
This sounds like a great degree if you have political connections or Daddy's friend is a director at the UN. Otherwise, this probably is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Tai-Pan fucked around with this message at Aug 6, 2014 around 23:03

EugeneJ
Feb 5, 2012


What's your undergrad degree in?

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010



You graduated from a top private university. Why don't you have a job that does more than lets you barely make ends meet, and how will UChicago change that fundamental issue? Don't say it will open more doors. You have plenty of doors open to you as a BC grad, you're just evidently not able to take advantage of them.

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

You graduated from a top private university. Why don't you have a job that does more than lets you barely make ends meet, and how will UChicago change that fundamental issue? Don't say it will open more doors. You have plenty of doors open to you as a BC grad, you're just evidently not able to take advantage of them.

I honestly don't know. I think I'm just horrid at networking. I even did very well academically, but when it came to the job hunt I foundered.

EugeneJ
Feb 5, 2012


Radio Talmudist posted:

I honestly don't know. I think I'm just horrid at networking. I even did very well academically, but when it came to the job hunt I foundered.

Contact BC and they'll help you find a job

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010



Radio Talmudist posted:

I honestly don't know. I think I'm just horrid at networking. I even did very well academically, but when it came to the job hunt I foundered.

What are you good at?

litany of gulps
Jun 11, 2001



Radio Talmudist posted:

I honestly don't know. I think I'm just horrid at networking. I even did very well academically, but when it came to the job hunt I foundered.

What is your actual degree?

Edit: Also, what are your temp jobs?

litany of gulps fucked around with this message at Aug 7, 2014 around 14:55

Bugamol
Aug 2, 2006


I would greatly advise against going back to college. I'm assuming this would mean you would further defer your existing $80,000 in student loans + add $40,000 student loans. Then while looking for a job let's say you defer for another year. Assuming this is a two year program:

Year 1 Interest $80,000 * .055 = $4,400
Year 2 $20,000 + $84,400 * .055 = $5,742
Year 3 $20,000 + $110,142 * .055 = $7,157

Year 4 Repayment $137,300 * (.055/12) = $629.29 in INTEREST each month. Obviously the above make some assumptions, and it's a rough calculation, but I don't think this is a great idea.

The real cost of doing this would be roughly $57,299 (Tuition + Interest) + ~$600 a month in interest going forward.

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


It's actually not a two year program, it's only 9 months long. But even with that more reasonable amount of time....it would still be a fortune to attend. And then there's interest. And that interest will be capitalized on my loans. And the debt snowball will eventually become unmanageable.

I know intellectually that attending would be horrible. There are just so many people in my life telling me that this is an amazing opportunity, that a MA will open so many doors, that it would super difficult to continue my education later on in life....and I have to admit that on an emotional level, I really want to go to U Chicago. I want to study alongside the smartest people in the world. I totally infatuated with the romantic idea of the University.

But this is not worth imprisoning myself with a 120k (excluding interest) in debt for. I cannot tell you how much my life has been constrained by my existing debt. If I didn't have it, I could afford to rent my own apartment and begin my life.

In terms of jobs, I'm current temping with a retail real estate company. It pays a pittance, but I'm able to pay my loans while I live at home. Honestly, it's not the worst job to have in a cubicle, but I didn't expect to be scanning poo poo all day at the age of 25. I thought I would have a job in public policy, or at least on that track. It's jarring to go from a life filled with intellectual engagement to the tedium of average corporate work.

I'm honestly considering enrolling in my local state school and getting some training in something technical. Maybe get a CCNA, and find a job at a help desk. I'd have to put my loans in deferment, but at least it would cost very little and I would have an expertise in something with job prospects.

Bugamol
Aug 2, 2006


$40,000 for a 9 month program in Social Sciences seems insane to me. What are some job titles you could be associated with upon graduation? What do they realistically make? Is there a market where you live? Would you be willing to relocate for a job? Even $120,000 in debt at 5.5% is about $500 a month in interest payments. Even if you made a $1,000 payment on it every month you're looking at probably 15-20 years of repayment (without doing the math). If you put it into deferment it could very very quickly spiral out of control. I would only do this if there is a high chance of you getting a job.

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


The University touts all the students who have gone off from the program to work in various private and public sector fields, but there is no default job for this major (except to become a professor, but that would be impossible with my debt). And I don't even know how much these people, in their assorted fields, generally make.

I'm not doing it. Definitely not. But it's crazy how incautious (older) people are when they discuss student loan debt. A professor who wrote my recommendation (she's also an alumni of U Chicago) told me not to worry about my debt because this is my dream and I ought to spend anything to pursue it. She got her degree in 1996. Of course it seems reasonable to take out a little debt, she hasn't dealt with today's tuition!

EugeneJ
Feb 5, 2012


Yo - OP who keeps closing his thread while not telling us what his undergrad degree is:

What is you undergraduate degree?

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


Political Science. I wanted to study Political Economics at the graduate level, and/or possibly work for government.

SmuglyDismissed
Nov 27, 2007
IGNORE ME!!!

OP, about how many hours a week do you spend playing video games?

fruition
Feb 1, 2014


Radio Talmudist posted:

Political Science. I wanted to study Political Economics at the graduate level, and/or possibly work for government.

Don't do it. You need to stop listening to your friends, family, mentors/teachers and whoever else. They are all obviously bad with money and have no idea what they're talking about. Unless any of these people have a job waiting for you when you graduate then don't listen to them.

Have you been applying for jobs all over the country or are you set in staying where you are? I would assume poli-sci degrees would do better in a city like DC rather than Boston.

Radio Talmudist posted:

I just want to have a decent job that will give me a cozy life. I don't need a Maserati. I want to live within my means. I want to travel. I want a pension, and a decent amount of vacation.

You sound pretty risk averse and if you aren't against suckling from the government teet why not become a teacher? It sounds perfect if you're looking for (above all else) loan forgiveness, a pension, and tons of time off for holidays/summers.

PuTTY riot
Nov 16, 2002


fruition posted:

tons of time off for holidays/summers.

lol

EugeneJ
Feb 5, 2012


fruition posted:

tons of time off for holidays/summers

I hope you like spending your summers actively planning for your next 9-months of work

fruition
Feb 1, 2014


EugeneJ posted:

I hope you like spending your summers actively planning for your next 9-months of work

People always love to say this, and I understand it's not completely 100% time off from "work" because you're planning and attending meetings but come on. I'm just bitter because I work weekends and holidays and it loving sucks rear end in a top hat to miss those days when the rest of your family is off and making memories.

I concede, there are too many union men and women on this forum to get into this discussion so I'm bowing out.

antiga
Jan 16, 2013


Think long and hard about the doors this degree would open. Are they truly closed to you right now? Is there an option to get there without the degree? Do you have to attend now? UChicago isn't going to disappear.

If your BC loans are federal loans and you can take all federal loans for the MA, it might be doable because you'll be eligible for public service loan forgiveness and/or things like IBR/PAYE (do your research before you take out loans). That's honestly probably the only way I'd consider attending, but your mileage may vary. Do lots of research.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web

fruition posted:

People always love to say this, and I understand it's not completely 100% time off from "work" because you're planning and attending meetings but come on.
If you haven't worked as a teacher, kindly gently caress the gently caress off.

Elephanthead
Sep 11, 2008


moana posted:

If you haven't worked as a teacher, kindly gently caress the gently caress off.

Did you read the story of the teacher that came to work the first day of school drunk and without pants? That is what I imagine is the requirement to not be fired as a school teacher. Just showing up sometimes even drunk and pantsless.

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


I think the competitiveness of teaching varies dramatically from state to state, probably even county to county. In my school district, teachers are very well compensated, with older teachers making 80k at my high school. They tend to have masters and good unions. I'm sure that this not the case in many places in the US, however, given the horror stories I've encountered.

Shipon
Nov 7, 2005
rock lobster kekekekeke ^_^

"UChicago Economics" and "smartest people in the world" are two phrases which do not belong anywhere near each other.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web

Elephanthead posted:

Did you read the story of the teacher that came to work the first day of school drunk and without pants? That is what I imagine is the requirement to not be fired as a school teacher. Just showing up sometimes even drunk and pantsless.
If you want to be a lovely teacher, then yes, you can do a lot before being fired. Do I really need to say that it's immoral to become a teacher planning to be a lovely teacher? Suggesting that someone become a teacher because it's easy time-wise is ridiculous. Most teachers work summer jobs or summer school to pay bills. Most teachers tutor after school and on weekends for extra money, because they don't give you money for school supplies and you have to buy them yourself. It sucks. Planning lessons and grading gives you 10-12 hour days your first year when you don't have any resources to fall back on.

The fact that 20 years of experience makes you 80k? I made 80k my first year after I quit teaching, working half as much.

Unless you have a burning passion to teach, DO NOT BECOME A TEACHER. Even if you do, it probably isn't worth it.

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


Out of curiosity moana, what career did you transition to after teaching?

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web

Tutoring, lol.

SlyFrog
May 16, 2007

KAWAIIII~~~


Radio Talmudist posted:

I know intellectually that attending would be horrible. There are just so many people in my life telling me that this is an amazing opportunity, that a MA will open so many doors, that it would super difficult to continue my education later on in life....

Here is the simplest, bluntest advice I can give you: do not listen to them. A large number of people in our society right now are completely oblivious to the contemporary job market and value of degrees. They're still living in the 80s and 90s culture of, "Any degree from a good school opens doors." They're behind the times, and do not realize that a non-STEM degree from a good university does not magically open middle and upper-middle class management positions anymore, that getting a social sciences degree even from a great university often ends up as a very expensive millstone around your neck regardless of how much you "network."

They are genuinely trying to help you, but their knowledge is dated and flawed. They are the functional equivalent of telling you to treat your case of migraines by drilling holes in your head.

Radio Talmudist posted:

and I have to admit that on an emotional level, I really want to go to U Chicago. I want to study alongside the smartest people in the world. I totally infatuated with the romantic idea of the University.

But this is not worth imprisoning myself with a 120k (excluding interest) in debt for. I cannot tell you how much my life has been constrained by my existing debt. If I didn't have it, I could afford to rent my own apartment and begin my life.

I went there. It's not that cool, such that it is worth living the next 40 years of your life under additional financial pain.

Find something that you want to do, that will provide a good living, and then figure out what you need to do in order to get there.

Figure out the ends, and then determine the means. What you are considering is figuring out means, without really having a solid idea of what the end will be.

SlyFrog fucked around with this message at Aug 8, 2014 around 15:50

litany of gulps
Jun 11, 2001



moana posted:

Tutoring, lol.

I haven't reached the point where I'm ready to quit teaching, despite everything you mentioned up there being true. Still though, where do you get started on decent paying tutoring jobs?

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


SlyFrog posted:

Here is the simplest, bluntest advice I can give you: do not listen to them. A large number of people in our society right now are completely oblivious to the contemporary job market and value of degrees. They're still living in the 80s and 90s culture of, "Any degree from a good school opens doors." They're behind the times, and do not realize that a non-STEM degree from a good university does not magically open middle and upper-middle class management positions anymore, that getting a social sciences degree even from a great university often ends up as a very expensive millstone around your neck regardless of how much you "network."

They are genuinely trying to help you, but their knowledge is dated and flawed. They are the functional equivalent of telling you to treat your case of migraines by drilling holes in your head.


I went there. It's not that cool, such that it is worth living the next 40 years of your life under additional financial pain.

Find something that you want to do, that will provide a good living, and then figure out what you need to do in order to get there.

Figure out the ends, and then determine the means. What you are considering is figuring out means, without really having a solid idea of what the end will be.

Thank you for this. I've reconciled myself to the fact that I'm not going. I'll get my PhD some other way - but I'll pay off this debt first.

more friedman units
Jul 7, 2010

The next six months will be critical.


Radio Talmudist posted:

Thank you for this. I've reconciled myself to the fact that I'm not going. I'll get my PhD some other way - but I'll pay off this debt first.

You're making a good decision. $40,000 for a 9-month MA program is wildly overpriced.

RICHUNCLEPENNYBAGS
Dec 21, 2010


Radio Talmudist posted:

Political Science. I wanted to study Political Economics at the graduate level, and/or possibly work for government.

You're probably better off going to work for a nonprofit or a thinktank or something like that than getting another degree. I work at a nonprofit (doing tech stuff so not really related) and there are a lot of poli-sci grads working there doing lobbying and that sort of thing.

Xandu
Feb 19, 2006


It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am.

UChicago is a very good school and you could probably learn some very useful quantitative skills studying political science there, but a 9 month, unfunded program doesn't sound that great of an opportunity, unfortunately.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web

litany of gulps posted:

I haven't reached the point where I'm ready to quit teaching, despite everything you mentioned up there being true. Still though, where do you get started on decent paying tutoring jobs?
If you want to do everything yourself, just start putting up posters in local cafes and grocery stores near schools. Or get a job tutoring through a company - I was working for 3-4 different places I found off Craigslist and then one of them gave me more and more hours, and then I got promoted to manage all of the tutors in that tutoring center. That said, I tutor math and science and SAT/ACT, so there's no way I will ever be out of a job. If you want to get into test prep, now's the time - the changing SAT in a year is going to gently caress poo poo up and everybody will be looking for someone who's qualified to tutor the "new SAT," so if you bone up on the new material you'll be in demand.

Radio Talmudist
Sep 29, 2008


So....they offered me half tuition when I explained my financial situation.

That would make the cost of attendance 25k, sans living expenses. Living expenses would be partially covered with work study, which I'm getting, and parental support. It would cost 25k to attend, essentially, leaving my total debt load at 105k~.

I don't know. My parents are telling me this is something I have to do. I had already reconciled myself to not going. 25k is still too much, right?

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010



You haven't answered the fundamental question: how does this program tangibly benefit you?

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Xandu
Feb 19, 2006


It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am.

It's something to consider. 25k is a lot of money on it's own, and combined with the 80k, it's a shitload of money, but re-reading the OP, it doesn't sound like your current options are all that much better.

I think regardless of whether you go, you need to develop a plan for your career, and that might involve moving into fields you haven't previously considered.

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