Post # 1
I am in a serious dilemma and I need some advice, so here is the backstory:
I graduated about 6 years with a BA in History. At the time, I was just taking classes that interested me, and I was told that it was better to get a degree than get nothing at all, so I graduated and moved away and I loved it!!
Well, I decided to go back to school and due to an unfortunate death in the family, I ended up back at my old hometown which is a refinery town with a HIGH anti intellectual bias here. Not only that, but the air stinks and I am a liberal, trapped in a highly conservative area, which is just a recipe for disaster.Oh and get this, we are even going to end up destroying Syria’s chemical weapons here, can you believe that? I don’t want to be here for that! Well anyway, I wanted to go back to grad school for my MPA and leave this place forever and I thought that I could do that. I took three classes last semester and passed and I have 4 classes to graduate. Well I thought it was going to be a good idea to take all 4 classes. I am not working, and I miss having a job and now I can’t work because I am taking all 4 grad courses and my money will run out before I finish it seems.
To make matters worse, I have two of the WORST professors at the school. Both are women and are really snarky to the students. One I can deal with, but the other is just impossible. She already went off on the class for not reading and then gave us an assignment to do which she graded so hard that the highest grade was a 70(I got a 60). I have never gotten a D in my life and I was surprised when I got one. Well she wants us to do these stupid reaction papers and I did one and I got an 80 and I was surprised. Well now, she says that she is going to have to up the anty and I keep going back to get her to look over my work and she keeps telling me that I am just not getting it. She makes me feel stupid and I did the first assignment 3 times! I now have to do the 2nd assignment again, which will be my 2nd time and we have 4 more to go after this! I have tried talking to other professors and my advisor, no help.
All this just seems to be too much. I am doing more work for just her class than all three of my other classes COMBINED. I don’t know if I should just stick this out and try to graduate(even with money problems) or if I should just say screw it, drop two classes, find a job, work and get a masters in educational technology leadership(something I was contemplating earlier) which is online, but I will need to get a new computer as mine broke. As it is right now, I have to drive 20 miles just to use the computer at the lab at the university. Although I would be “starting over” I would at least be able to move since the classes are online and I heard that they are easier. I was also told that one or two may count towards the degree. If I don’t pass this class, I will have to wait until spring of NEXT year to take the class and she is the ONLY one that can teach it! On top of the 4 classes, I also have to study for qualifying exams..I am so lost here, I don’t want to make a mistake, but I am at my wits end here. Help!!
Post # 3
Will this educational technology masters really get you anywhere more than with what you already have? Can you transfer credits to a new university?
Post # 4
@Katepants: +1 I would look into transferring
Post # 5
I took the poll down because people are voting and i really dont see the rationale of staying in this area. If u believe that i should, can you let me know why? Ive been back for going on 3 years and i have only one friend, there is no njght life here, nor way to meet new people. Its always the same people since this area is just so small. Also if i stay, i will have to take the same prof again.
Post # 6
@Katepants: hi, yes actually it would. I can be an assitant principal, work in higher ed or be a cirporate trainer or instructional designer. The jobs pay well typically 50-60k starting out. The other problem is that im gaining weight because all i do is eat and study. I have health problems and i cannot gain weight or at least im not supposed to. Although i have had problems with this university, they have a program through academic partnerships and its 7000 for the degree, 12 classes, all online, 5 weeks. My friend did it and she said that it was easily doable while working. I just want to have the nice things that people have. Im in my 30s with no house or my own place and i want to have nice things like everyone else has. I am running low on money, and the thought of living in this area for another year just kills me
@sauerdragon: see above 🙂
Post # 7
@LovestoTravel: I would stick it out, get the MPA and MOVE! Most of my friends with an MPA have gotten great jobs at non-profits / public sector or have managed to get jobs that require an MBA, since there’s lots of transferrable skills.
I’m not sure what your financial situation is, but you can get a new computer for a few hundred dollars, which would save you time, energy and gas money.
Money problems aren’t going to go away, but can you get a student loan to cover the last year? I dropped out of my graduate degree (after 1 year of 3) because I didn’t want to finish or have any support. I owed 18.5k in student loan principal, but paid it off (including interest) before I turned 30.
You are almost 1/2 way through and are in all of your final classes… I would stick with it. All you need is to pass to get your degree. Transferring grad credits is tricky, from what I understand. Good luck!
Post # 8
School is not easy. I am currently finishing my undergrad BA and in my school 70-80 is a regular occurance for almost everyone, but no one has ever given up because of that. I honestly don’t think it’s worth it to not push through the classes you’ve already put so much effort into and quit. If you do not enjoy your current program and you want to switch to something else — now that’s a different story. But I don’t encourage quitting just because you’ve got a hard teacher or hard classes.
Post # 9
Honestly, life is too short to continue something that makes you so unhappy. I’d look into other areas where you could work and do online classes – it’ll keep you more active, give you an income and you’d be happier somewhere else anyway 🙂
Post # 10
- Wedding: March 2014 - A castle!
@LovestoTravel: 1) Congrats on getting a higher education!!
I can sympathize with your story – I’ve had terrible, arrogant professors myself. It’s just part of the “charm” of grad school 😉 Honestly, just one semester with them – grin and bear it – it WILL be worth it, I promise!!
2) Sometimes student loans are necessary evils, so if you aren’t working, you don’t have an external fellowship, and your money is going to run out, don’t feel embarassed or bad taking out a student loan. The rule of thumb is that the amount of student loans you have should not exceed what you would be expected to make with one year’s salary in your field.
3) Sometimes I look at this chart and it helps me put things in perspective (I’m getting my PhD and it’s for sure a roller coaster)
I just try and think “work hard now, play hard later.”
Post # 11
@LovestoTravel: Why would you have to live in the area for another year? The way I see it, you are almost halfway through this semester. I, personally, would suck it up and just accept that you’re going to have about three more months that totally, completely suck. But at the end of those three months you’ll have your MPA. You’ve already spent the money to pay for these classes and you’re too far in to the semester to get any % of it back if you were to withdraw. Just get it over with. And yes I know how you feel! I work 40 hours a week and am currently taking 5 classes. It sucks and it’s hard and I’m a lot further away from finishing than you are, but in the end it will be so worth it!!
Post # 12
@bitsybee: hey bitsy, thanks for your response. I have taken out student loans but the classes are expensive like 1400 a pop, so all i had was like 4k to live on, but i still got eye exam, braces, rent to pay for. I just dont see how i can make it without working. i actually did take out student loans so thats where the 4k comes from. I really cant afford a computer after all these thingsand i have no support either or nobody to help me. Oh btw, did their positions need a masters? I worked in non profit once and what really made me question all of thus was when we had a guest speaker who just had BAs in History and Political Science and she was corporate. It made me wonder..wtf am i doing here? Do i really need a masters? I know teaching does, but originally i was try8ng to get something that would give me a way out if i decided that i didnt want to teach anymore.
@Katepants: exactly. Thats what i was thinking.
@cinderella2: i woukd say its a little of both?
@carolinabelle: i would have to stay if i dropped or ran out of money. My adviser told me that if i dropped, that the class will not be offered until next spring, no exceptions and he told me that the lady i have now will probably be teaching it because that is her area.
Post # 13
@LovestoTravel: it depends on your undergrad and the company. I know one gal who’s the ed of a nonprofit without a masters but she went to a top three school in the US For her BA. One guy works in admin for a state university school system with his MPA. His role doesn’t require it, but he’s eligible for a larger pay scale because he has it. Another MPA friend is a management consultant and would NOT have his job without the MPA unless he got an MBA.
Post # 14
I went ahead and put the poll back, if you vote, please let me know why. I would like to hear all opinions. Right now, I am leaning towards sticking it out, but by spring break, if I haven’t seen a change, then it may be time to just cut my losses.
Post # 15
I originally voted move, but now I am not sure. You are just SOOO close. I was thinking that when I am in my last semester or two that I want to increase my classes so I can just knock them out.
I wish I could give you better advice, but I am doing my BA in business/general management. I have some scary classes coming up (math is my weakness) and I am nervous. I will say that I LOVE online school. It is wonderful to do it around other activities in your schedule. I think that of you have to pass some crappy classes by the skin of your teeth, so be it. No one cares if you got all straight A’s in college. It is only important that you graduate and get your degree…
Try to go for walks or do some jumping jacks/ skipping rope at home. It is harder to stress out about things after working out. I just started back… This will also help you avoid gaining weight. If you feel hungry drink a glass or two of water, it can make a difference.
I wish you the best! I REALLY want to graduate and take my sweet time getting my masters later.
Post # 16
I’m currently a grad student and I can relate to having a total jerk for a professor. I had to take the most hated professor in my department for two classes in two consecutive semesters. He ruined my perfect GPA but I survived it. I can also relate to the putting on weight as I have gained 20 pounds in the last year from emotional comfort eating and stress. When I started my program my housing fell through and I had to move into a very toxic situation with dysfunctional family members who berated me daily for “wasting time” in graduate school. I lived with them for 2 years in a small town that I hate that was an hour and a half commute to my school so I can relate to that aspect of your situation a bit as well. It was absolutely agonizing. Finally, I can definitely relate to watching your friends buy homes, new cars, etc. and feeling left behind while I am still a graduate student waiting to do all of those things. Considering all of these factors, I still voted stick it out and finish.
You said that you have four classes left to graduate and that you are taking them all now. That means that in May you could be done with everything. That is only three months away! I know that it is a lot of work, and I understand the frustration and even depression it can cause. I understand the mental, emotional and physical stress that grad school can induce. But you are SO close!!! The finish line is within view. Everyone I know that has a MPA has a wonderful, well paying job. It is a highly transferrable degree that is applicable in a wide-range of fields. If the several MPAs I know are reflective of the field, you will be able to move, get a job and build a life and earn a decent standard of living.
I can’t tell if you are just venting and stressed or if you really have already given up and decided to leave because your post and subsequent comments kind of seem like both. If you have already decided to leave then I still advise you to salvage what you can and get the best grades possible this semester. When you start a new program you will still want to be a competitive student who the admission committee will believe has the potential to complete a program. If you do want to stay and finish it may be difficult until the very end but it can be done. There is still time to try to bring up your grade in the jerk teacher’s class, even if you don’t get the grade you want. Have you inquired about additional assignments or extra credit from the professor to help bring up your grade? Since she allows you to re-do assignments she may be flexible in that area as well. If in the worst case scenario you pass 3 of your classes and have to take the last one next year would it be possible to try to improve your money situation a bit by working full-time in the summer and fall and saving up for next spring?
I hope that you come to a resolution that makes you happy and allows you to reach your goals. At least I hope my post shows you that you aren’t alone and that graduate school sucks for a lot of us.