by Stephanie Small
Published April 15, 2013
Hey grad students: think you’re special??
Well, actually….YOU ARE!
According to the 2011 US Census, only 10.6% of the population has obtained a graduate or professional degree. That’s about one out of every ten people. While being a member of this exclusive demographic is important in its own right, there are so many more reasons grad students are a special.
1. You’re smart enough to get in to grad school. If 10.6% of the US population has attended grad school, there are even more people who applied to grad school and weren’t accepted. Sure, there are grad programs out there that take anyone who applies, but graduate school is usually quite difficult to get into. Some graduate programs accept fewer than 10% of their applicants. So if you’ve managed to score a spot, congratulations! You must be good.
2. You’re clearly able to delay gratification. The famous Stanford marshmallow experiment, conducted in 1972, correlated children’s ability to delay eating a marshmallow with their success later in life (Yeah, this sounds weird, but it is true). In some ways, attending grad school is a great example of delayed gratification. Think about it: your peers are off starting their careers, earning paychecks, and building their adult lives, while you’re signing up for one to seven more years of student life. Unlike those with conventional gigs, you don’t get weekends off, and you’re probably living on a beans-and-rice student-style diet. You probably don’t have the funds for the vacations that they do, and you may even put off major life events like having children or purchasing a house. HOWEVER, in the long run study might lead to a FANTASTIC career where you feel inspired and fulfilled – delayed gratification is often not without reward.
3. You’re probably good at test-taking. While, test-taking itself isn’t a skill you’ll necessarily need as a professional, it may help develop other skills that you willneed – logic, analytical reasoning, and quantitative and qualitative analysis, and a solid command of math and vocabulary basics. If you scored well enough on your standardized tests to get into grad school, you’re probably pretty good at all of the above. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a lot of people out there…
4. You’re willing to take risks. Many grad students borrow a lot of money, and dedicate quite a bit of time to the process of obtaining their master’s or Ph.D. And there’s no guarantee of employment upon graduation, particularly in the current job market. Taking the first job you’re offered out of grad school is often seen as a “safe” route, but sometimes, “safe” may become unfulfilling. So if you’re embarking on a graduate degree, you’re definitely taking a risk. Fortunately, the world often has a way of rewarding risk-takers.
5. You value intellectual development highly. Think about all of the other things you could be doing with your time. Backpacking around the world. Working at a lucrative job or at least a steady job with a regular paycheck. Volunteering. Not working, and collecting unemployment. While each of these options potentially offers its own form of personal development and growth, you’ve chosen the one with arguably the most intellectual rigor… That’s pretty cool!