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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    To grad or not to grad?

    I don’t like to ponder uncertainty. I’m not even sure if it is a waste of time. Nevertheless, one uncertainty I have been mulling over, along with a sizable portion of this campus, is life following graduation. With less than three months remaining on our leases and beer money dwindling, many of us have just arrived upon the footsteps of adulthood where the decisions we make not only shape our futures but the decisions and plans of others as well.

    I am not trying to raise anxiety by bringing up the future -ÿno sense crying over a diploma – but it seems like a prescient issue to consider. This is why: in the past, when our virgin souls were more biology than bodies, life was historically taught with a sense of na’ve nostalgia to be very simple. One could either graduate and work, graduate and get married, graduate and go on to grad school to re-graduate again, or inherit a lot of money and never work a day of your life. Fast-forward to 2009 and we find a few salient facts that have changed.

    First, the economy is hemorrhaging on all fronts (expect for government spending), the job market is bleak except for military vacationing (government again) and even “”Obama-mania”” isn’t quite enough to restore confidence in the markets (Reagan just rolled over). Secondly, if the marrying age is between 25-27 and Us Weekly hasn’t done a marriage exposé issue in recent memory, I am led to conclude that no one is getting hitched any time soon. Lastly, the irony is that even if you have money, you will probably be moving back in with dear old mom and dad this coming May. And from the feedback I’ve received from many, this prospect is either a loving joy or a return to San Quentin.

    At this point you may be thinking to yourself, “”why not delay graduation or conversely rush full speed into the loving arms of capitalism?”” To these considerations, I offer an alternative opportunity that both shields us from moving forward concretely while advancing our lives for the better called graduate (or grad) school.

    Grad school, a hiccup for some and a re-baptism for many, has long been thought of as the “”real”” school you are supposed to honestly apply yourself in. When I consider grad school, the first thought that comes to mind, besides Bush hitting the books at Harvard Business School, is the opportunity for a fresh start – essentially, a clean slate to re-write the “”mistakes”” I made as an undergraduate as well as a more time to develop my intellect. Grad school presents a genuine opportunity to not only learn more about a subject you are passionate about, but also the freedom to become the “”individual”” you were supposed to become in college. At the very least, we learn to become more informed decision makers; something I argue is impossible to fully develop in four short years.

    I know, it’s a blanket statement to suppose we weren’t sound, rational decision makers while undergraduates. But in reality, many of us had no choice in our decision to go to college, and in retrospect, are damn well excited about the closing scene to our “”High School Musical,”” part 2. In this new age, grad school is a bold statement and proof of our desire to pursue higher education for its primary focus, and not simply to embrace the circus sideshow we call the weekend.

    In terms of decision-making, if the funds are available, I suggest bypassing the unemployment line right now. Although many firms may appear to be hiring as of late, the opportunities for advancement are less sterling now and the opportunity to make an investment in our futures is less costly today. The current economic condition is not ripe for our generation’s graduate class to compete for jobs, especially when the new class of “”under-qualified”” applicants will be competing with “”over-qualified,”” “”experienced”” and “”desperate”” individuals with mortgages.

    So grad school may not be the only option on the table for some, and the idea of more school just may force you to quit reading altogether. But, with grad school applications due right around the corner, I encourage everyone to consider this option. For whatever reason you wish to continue your education or don’t, the uncertainty of the future always presents an opportunity to decide who we want to be tomorrow.

    If we are to be prudent in our decisions and fully conscious of their impact on others then the first step and cure toward curbing the uncertainty we all despise yet feed through our procrastination is to have a reason for what we ultimately decide to do.

    Paul Cervantes is an accounting senior. He can be reached at

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