Money Monday$: Post-Grad Life

Happy Monday all!

I hope all your weekends went well. I spent mine working and then spending time with the Spigelman/Surfaro clan. Most recently, at a Mets vs. Yankees game.

Let’s not talk about the game though…le sigh.

What we can talk about is what seems like an unending conversation about the dim and grim situations us twenty-something college grads have found ourselves in.

When I was 18 and first started college, I originally thought I was going to be a doctor. I took science course after science course in conjunction with math classes that I hated. And after a while, I decided that this was not the path I wanted to take. Instead I subscribed to that wonderful part of college that said “Take classes that interest you! Take part in great moral discussions! Learn for the sake of learning!” Which, of course, is fantastic. What wasn’t so fantastic was the fact that I had no balance or guidance to also mention that I should consider double majoring so that I could learn about what I wanted AND get a second degree at the same time.

If there was one thing I could tell college freshman–aside from “Beware the student loan monster and apply for internships and network and be true to who you are while simultaneously not being afraid to try out new things” it would be to…

DOUBLE MAJOR.

 And here’s where you might be thinking “Duyen, what does this have to do with money?” Well, if you’re going to a four year university as a full-time student the cost of tuition is going to be about the same whether you take the minimum number of credits or 20 credits more than that. So the more classes you take, the more bang for your buck.

If we’re going to have to pay through the nose to get a degree, wouldn’t it make sense to get two if you can? This also would allow you to pursue a degree in something you love, like say English Literature or History or Music Theory, and in something with a more pragmatic function like Mathematics or Communication.

Of course, a degree or two is not a guarantee for job or financial security. As evidence by this recent article in The Atlantic. But it’s a start.

And if you’re out of school, like me, going back to school might seem like a tempting option to avoid the dismal job market. But before breaking out the GRE and LSAT and MCAT book it might be worth looking into getting a Certificate for a particular skill. Schools and post-grads and employers are catching on to the value of such programs as noted in this recent NYT article.

So before enrolling in grad school full time, thus incurring more debt, I would strongly consider taking a course to advance a particularly desirable skill set. Most colleges offer things like this in their continuing education programs and there are plenty of free (or really cheap) courses available online too.

Here are some resources I found:

Coursera

Udacity

Straighter Line

Khan Academy

Skillshare

Saylor Foundation

And ultimately, you have to have a sense of humor about these things. Sarah Shanfield writes about what it means to be 25 today. And one of the takeaways is that “We can’t control the economy or our entry into grad school, but we can laugh with one another and slowly pay off our credit cards.”

Here’s to being a post-grad right?

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