Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

October 19, 2011 2:10 PM

Grad School?

To go or not to go? Well, there's no real easy answer, honestly. It seems sometimes like everybody's going and it's just natural to think, "Well, hey, maybe that means me too". Perhaps. But I would argue that whether your aim is to go to grad school or not, that the important thing is just to keep your options open. Regardless of whether you go or not, it doesn't hurt to have the extra curricular activities, it doesn't hurt to get good grades, it doesn't hurt to have experiences that enrich you and broaden what it is that you're all about.

I suppose if I really wanted, I could say "Go to grad school, because the more education you have the better of you'll be!". One could argue that point and win, with numbers and statistics about incomes and all that, but I want to argue that it's not about going to grad school, its about you doing whatever it is that you do best, whether that's math, or science, or art. Ultimately, when you graduate and even now while you're in college, you're making a statement about who you are, what you care about, all the important core "stuff" that will stay with you and influence everything you do from here on out. If grad school fulfills that statement, then sure, have at it. If not, don't trip, I'm sure, dead sure, that you'll find a way to live your statement.

My statement you ask? Ironically, it's hard to put into one sentence, but if I could, and mind you I hardly think this is complete, it would be this: to live, learn, and inspire in order to create a more sustainable world. What exactly that entails, I think, could change. Right now, I'm toying with the idea of becoming a city planner and traveling to do research in communities in order to help them manage local environmental issues. Peace Corps is definitely very very high on the list and who knows, perhaps even grad school for environmental policy. My point though, is that there are options, that the future isn't one track where you move from point A to point B to point C. Up until this point, I suppose it seems that way, but especially after you graduate, especially then, it's not linear, it's not even necessarily fluid. It's where the sidewalk end. It's just life, I guess, and out of that huge mess you have to fashion some kind of road. I haven't gotten there yet, so I can only imagine what it must be for the seniors. But I also think that it's amazing, this chance to choose who to be, what to do, and how to do it. Best of luck to you all!

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