One of the things that have been most adversely affected due to the Coronavirus quarantine is education. Whether you are studying in kindergarten or a postgraduate degree, in-person classes have been suspended indefinitely to arrest the community transmission of the disease. Since the pandemic started when many crucial examinations and admission processes were underway, these got hampered too. But one thing can be said with certainty. The ones whose future were affected the most were those who were on the cusp of completing their education and foraying into their professional life – the graduates and post-graduates. Ph.D. programs have been postponed or are yet to issue a definitive statement while the job market has tanked badly. So, the question arises: is it worth pursuing a Master’s program in this economy?
To Be or Not to Be
If you just completed graduation, you will be faced with the dilemma of whether doing a Master’s course will help your future. Here are some reasons why it will still be significant:
- Your Master’s degree will take 2 years to complete. By that time, it is expected that the pandemic will be under control. In many parts of the world, it has already been brought down. A vaccine has already allegedly been developed. With the level of medical advancement today, two years should be more than enough to bring the situation under control.
- The pandemic has badly affected many sectors. This is not a situation a lot of businesses and sectors prepare a contingency and mitigation plan for. They are badly in need of expert professionals who can help them regain their position. As a result, the demand for highly qualified candidates has increased.
- Universities have not halted their plans to take in students for their Ph.D. programs. There have been postponements, but most have announced that sooner or later, they plan to restart the application process. So, you should not have any problem gaining admission if you do pursue your Master’s as you had planned to.
But of course, apprehensions cannot be suppressed just like that. Just as there is a chance that everything will be fine, it might not go that way either. Here are a few things to consider:
- It cannot be denied that a lot of people are not taking the quarantine seriously, for lack or impropriety of another phrase. The rate of transmission does not show signs of decrease yet. This means that in-person classes are not going to start soon. While most universities have adapted to the situation really well and are taking online classes, these are yet to match up to the standard of in-person classes. If you are in a discipline requiring heavy laboratory work, no amount of online class conductance will make up for that.
- The increase in recruitment is seen only in some sectors that are doing especially well in the pandemic, require essential workers, or are too big to be affected by the recession. Most others have decreased hiring, postponed the recruitment of people who got the letter just before the pandemic, and are yet to join the office, laid off many employees, and are working on a slim workforce. If working from home or at least on select days of the week only is not possible, the workplace is performing horribly. It is not a good situation for freshers.
- Whether you are about to join a Master’s degree, remember that you will have to go out to attend university if online classes are not possible or insufficient. You will be risking catching the disease when you go to attend classes. Is that a risk you want to take?
So What to Do?
We understand how you might be feeling right now. You are not alone. A lot of people are starting to reconsider and reassess their future plans. In case you are rethinking your earlier stance of pursuing a Master’s program, here are some great alternatives to consider:
- If your chosen field allows it, do your Master’s through distance learning. It is all the rage now.
- While the stress of changing your stream can be scary and stressful, you can consider going into a field that is more in demand now, like something related to the medical field, marketing, finance, or software technology.
- You can enter the professional world as a graduate itself. Many companies are looking for candidates to work from home. There is also a demand for contract workers and freelancers.
- You can start studying for government exams. These can be done completely from home.
- You can do online courses from places like Coursera, Udemy, or Khan Academy, for upskilling, reskilling, or strengthening your skills in your current stream.
- If you have an entrepreneurial bend of mind, you can start a small business too. A lot of people are turning to local businesses at this time.
Taking the right decision, whether it is to pursue a Master’s degree or not, will determine your future will be secured or not. Hopefully, this guide will push you in the right direction.