Hi. I’m Taylor Lamb. I’m a (very) recent graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in English and a minor in Drama. And I am not going to grad school.
[Pauses for you to take a moment to scroll and check if you’re on the right blog] Yes, I know. This isn’t exactly the content you signed up for.
But I think I have a cool perspective to share anyway.
I love school. A lot. I always have. School is what I’m good at. It’s what I’m best at, in all honesty. As much as I may have complained about my assignments, the late nights, and the early mornings… I actually thrived most when I was a student. A lot of my self esteem was linked to me making good grades (which is probably unhealthy) and doing well in school was how I felt like I was doing well in life. With all of this in mind, pursuing a masters’ degree seemed like the most natural next step as I was finishing my Bachelor’s Degree.
But the problem was- I had no need for it.
Realistically, I didn’t even need a Bachelor’s degree. I want to act. I also want to write too, hence the english degree, but acting is really my main goal. I hope to break into the entertainment industry, and having a Bachelor’s is absolutely not necessary. Some could even consider it as a detriment. The past 4 years I spent in undergrad, I could’ve been auditioning, or taking acting classes, or saving money so that I could afford to move to a city that gives me a better chance at achieving my goals. But I love school. And I wasn’t ready to be done with it. And I had always dreamed of going to college. So, I matriculated for 4 years. And now I’m done. And scared.
I was thisclose to going to grad school just to go. My University just recently launched an accelerated master’s program for English. Just one extra year (of incredibly hard work, mind you) and I’d have a master’s in English. And, I deeply considered it. I could continue to thrive in school for a year, and I could also delay having to make Big Decisions for a year. It seemed pretty great.
But, the kicker- they didn’t offer financial aid. I’m fortunate enough to have graduated with a very small amount of debt due to a full tuition scholarship. That is why I attended UVA in the first place. It was pretty integral to my college experience.
So, would I put myself in debt just to delay my life for a year, for a degree that I ultimately didn’t need? Would I take out loans just so I could revel in the joy of being a student for one more year? I definitely considered it. Everyone else is in debt, why can’t I be? Was I really ready to leave the comfort of academia? Wasn’t it worth it?
Ultimately, I had to decide… no. It wasn’t worth it. Not for me, anyway.
I’m terrified. It’s been less than two weeks as I type this, so it hasn’t kicked in that I’m done with school, quite yet. But, I know that it’s coming. The realization that I won’t be getting graded anymore. That any “assignments” I receive will be for work and not just for learning. That I don’t have some big defined goal of attaining a degree that everything I do is ultimately working towards.
And I’m gonna miss it. I know I will. I love learning and now I have to be self-motivated in a pursuit of knowledge, which isn’t one of my strong suits. But, I ultimately had to make the decision that was best for me, my future, and my bank account.
I’ll continue to live vicariously by voraciously reading every post on Black Girl Does Grad School. I’ll be jealous that I’m not writing any more papers, and won’t eventually get to use #blackandhooded on my instagram pics.
Thanks to y’all who are fighting the good fight of post-graduate education, for giving me something to look in on and be in awe of.
A Black Girl Who Isn’t Going to Grad School
Taylor Lamb is an alumna of the University of Virginia where she studied English with a minor in Drama. She is a writer, actress, and passionate about art for social change. If you want to get her revved up, ask her about Beyoncé or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.