WHEN IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO GET A MASTER’S DEGREE…

FROM THE GIRL WHO HATES SCHOOL

Written by Alice Bell

Growing up I hated school. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved the whole school environment: gossiping with my friends, planning weekend slumber parties, obsessing over boys. But when it came to actually doing my homework, there was never any motivation and my report cards certainly weren’t impressive. Seriously though, my parents should have been proud I wasn’t interested in subjects like Geometry, U.S. History, and Latin. Those subjects are boring AF and my life would be so dull right now if that had been my calling.

 

My clear lack of interest in anything academic related continued from both middle and high schools well into university. The thought of heading off to college was not appealing in the slightest. I kept choosing the wrong colleges to attend without researching what kind of classes they had, and over the course of four and half years I ended up transferring a total of THREE TIMES. Ridiculous to say the least. As graduation quickly crept up on me, I realized I had spent all my time hating school, and not enough time planning out how I would find a job.

 

I knew I wanted to work in fashion, I just wasn’t quite sure how to go about doing that. Not only did I choose the wrong universities for my career interests, but also I knew no one in my field to whom I could reach out to. Last summer, stuck at a shitty internship that I hated, I realized I was sick of waiting around for my dream job to come to me. I was going to have to go out there and chase it down. With a horrible track record from university, there was no way in hell I was a viable candidate for anywhere good. The only solution? Erase my shitty undergraduate history with a year long master’s course. And so this is how I—the person who hated school the most— decided to forgo my freedom from academia and apply to graduate school. Surprisingly, it ended up being the best decision of my life thus far. Keep reading if you want to know why grad school could be a good idea for you too.

I. If you know exactly what career path you want to take.

Yes, I wanted to find a job in fashion. However, it couldn’t be just any job. PR? No thanks. Buying? Too much math. Digital? Not good with computers. I knew it had to be writing and editing related, because that’s where my main strengths lie. So this narrowed down the search for the perfect school quite a bit. ​

 

II. If you have researched all possible school options.

If you’re going to drop even more money on your education, the school’s reputation matters. I wasn’t about to waste time at a place no one had heard of before. I had to go for the best of the best. And thus, my research began. Parsons and FIT in New York lacked journalism courses, NYU was too expensive, and Polimoda in Italy was more for marketing and business. Anywhere in Paris didn’t work, because I can’t speak French that well. The only city left to exhaust was London. There are several fashion schools in London but the top one is Central Saint Martins: alma mater of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and M.I.A. the rapper, just to name drop a little. London universities are also hella cheap compared to American ones. So yeah, obviously that was my top choice, and lucky for me I wrote a bomb ass application that got me in to my dream school.

 

III. If you lack connections

Fashion is all about connections and who you know, and as I’ve spoken at length about in previous posts—I’m a very antisocial person. I’m definitely trying to work on this negative trait of mine, but in the meantime I needed easy access to people who could help me out on my career path to success.
At the start of my master’s program I was momentarily forced into being a “nice girl.” As a result, one of my newfound friends recommended me for an internship on the fashion section of a newspaper during the second week of classes. Once there, I worked my ass off—staying late and coming in on days I wasn’t scheduled to come in for and it paid off. So school got me the connections, but then it was up to me to make the most out of my time working.

 

IV. If you can deal with the fact that grad school is nothing like undergrad.

​​Literally I have 3 hours of class a week tops. I’ve also had 6 months out of 12 dedicated to vacation time, so I can’t really say there’s been a lot of school. In the past this would have meant I got to watch TV in bed all day, everyday. Not now though. There is no time to waste since the course is only a year long. When I’m not at Vogue on the weekdays, I have to force myself to write my final projects and blog posts. No one is babying me, asking me if my assignments are done on time or getting after me if I don’t do my reading for a class. It’s been entirely up to me how my year at grad school would end up. Aside from everything else I’ve mentioned, the single most important thing I’ve learned this year is that I am the only person in charge of my own future.

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