Why I Took a Gap Year Before Grad School

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that recently I was accepted into grad school! I’ve always known that I wanted to get my MBA, but after undergrad I made the unpopular decision to wait a year before re-enrolling in school. Many people didn’t understand why I chose to wait. Especially since my alma mater had an accelerated MBA option. If I were to attend grad school at the same institution, immediately after receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I could receive my Master’s within a year as opposed to 2 years. So all together, ideally, I would’ve had my Master’s and Bachelor’s degree within 5 to 5.5 years.

Sounds great right? Yeah it does. But that just wasn’t for me. While some of my friends chose to enter their masters’ programs immediately after graduation. I waited, and here’s why.

Undergrad Burnout

After attending school for 16-years straight, I was burnt out. I was so tired of going to class, studying, taking exams and repeating the cycle all over again. Growing up, I loved school. After graduating with my bachelors, I realized that I didn’t have that same passion for learning in the classroom anymore. I was hungry for real world experience outside of the classroom, and I just needed rest and time to breath before immersing myself into more coursework. I didn’t want to waste my money and a professor’s time, enrolling in class just to go through the motions and say I had my MBA. Why take up space in a class that could be given to someone else who actually wants to be there? I made the decision that when I decided to go back to school, I wanted it to be a valuable experience and something that I was passionate about and appreciative of.

Career Experience

After talking to many of my professors, I felt it would be a good idea for me to gain real-world experience before going back to school. This would allow me to better relate to my coursework and have meaningful dialogue with my professors and classmates. Also, it’s very hard to get a job with no career experience as opposed to getting a job with no MBA. While you can get career experience while pursuing your masters, as I said before, I was burnt out and no longer had the same passion for learning in the classroom that I once had. I definitely feel that my career experience will help me with my coursework in the Fall.

Weighing My Options

While I had a great undergrad experience at Winthrop University, I wanted to experience something different. My gap year gave me time to look at many colleges, their MBA options, tuition rates, business school accreditation and choose a program that was right for me. Don’t rush into something that you aren’t really sure of. Especially with graduate school. While many people will say “a degree is a degree no matter where it comes from”, if you’re working and going to school at the same time – you need to choose a program that fits your lifestyle. If you’re going to be paying for your own tuition – you’ll also want to choose something that fits your budget without compromising your lifestyle.

Ultimately, you have to make your decisions for you and only you. What’s right for all isn’t necessarily right for you. If you don’t learn anything else from reading my blog posts, I want you to learn that you have to do what’s best for YOU!

I could’ve easily listened to everyone who tried to “warn” me that if I took a year off I wouldn’t want to go back. But instead, I chose to do things my way and prove them wrong. If anything, waiting a year made me more appreciative of the experience I’m about to embark on and I’m able to approach it with a much better perspective than I had a year ago. There’s no doubt in my mind that working full-time, going to school part-time all while trying to juggle my blog and social life will be hard. But, I’m a firm believer that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Are you graduating soon and considering grad school? Maybe a gap year isn’t for you. Read my friend Shadelle’s blog post to get insight on why she chose to pursue her masters immediately after undergrad.

If you’re currently juggling grad school, work and extracurricular activities, leave some tips in the comments below on how you manage it all. Let’s connect on Twitter and Instagram to keep each other motivated! And don’t forget to subscribe to my Tenacious Talk newsletter!


Be Tenacious.


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