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Life After Graduate School: What happens next?

The topic of finding a job after the PhD, and life outside of the ivory tower has stirred reactions in a good number of people. Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Gemma Gaten, who gives her warnings and outlook for life after graduate school. Gemma is a literature major and works as a paper writer She is a blogger, photographer, and traveler. She writes more about education, student lifestyle, writing, and careers. To know more about her please visit herblog and add her in google+.

People believe that obtaining a master’s or a PhD degree is a good investment for a bright future. If you are a diploma-holder of a higher degree of education, there are more doors of opportunities that await you once you step off the portals of grad school. Having an advanced degree is a big advantage in almost all industries especially in the fields of education, social services, medical health, business management, etc. If you have a desired position in a professional field, you need to take an advanced degree. In our education and employment system, it is like you are required to get a higher degree of education to become qualified to the position that you want to attain.

Why you should go to graduate school and be a PhD candidate? Well, to put it simply here are the things that graduate school can give you. Graduate education will provide you the intellectual ability, work ethics, improved and advanced skills, in-depth knowledge, and well-related work experience to the field that you want to belong to in the future. As you know and learn these benefits, you became more driven to increase your career security, professional and personal development, right?

If you know and understand the positive aspects of getting into graduate school, you get excited to start a graduate education right away. But before you indulge yourself to the challenging and stressful life in grad school, there are things that you must know first. Life in graduate school is different from the life after grad school. What do I mean by that? Many students didn’t know that the things that matter during their graduate education years don’t matter anymore once they got their Master’s or PhD diploma.

Let’s say you have completed the years of your master’s or PhD degree, you got your diploma, and you’re done with all those academic paper works. As you bid goodbye to your alma mater, do you already know what awaits you in the real world? How are you going to face your new life? How are you going to address the transition after graduate school into the workforce? To give you a clearer perspective of what I am saying, here’s a simple illustration.


Some graduate students thought that they don’t need to work harder and exert much effort in searching for job opportunities since they already got a ticket, their PhD diploma, to get the job that they wanted. This can be possible for PhD graduates who already have a career while taking their master’s or PhD education. But for those beginners or those students who do not have a job in their prospective field, they have to start looking for a job immediately that would best fit their skills and educational attainment. Because even though they are Master’s or PhD degree-holders if there are no available positions for them in the market place or in non-academic careers, it would take a while before they land a full-time position. But for those in line with research and academic work, there are plenty of job opportunities that they can apply for.


Even if you are a graduate student or a PhD candidate, you need to keep your options open. Whether it’s a non-academic or academic work, you have to understand that the real world doesn’t only look at the diploma that you are holding or the years that you’ve spent in the academy. There are already many students who pursued their graduate education and not all of them were given good academic jobs. Becoming a graduate from a prestigious graduate school is a good credential, actually being a certified Master’s or PhD graduate is already a big accomplishment. But the sad part here is that the school you graduated from and the degree that you have don’t matter anymore once you go to the workforce. Companies need your advanced knowledge and abilities so you have to show them what are the things that you can do for them because if they don’t see you as a good contributor to the success of their business they will not going to hire you.


You have to accept the truth, real world is far different from the life that you had in graduate school. Whether you like it or not, you have to understand how the real world works. You will obtain the career that you want with the help of your good credentials, advanced education, and the professional network you have built. But the promotions, recognition, high salary, and good benefits that you will receive will depend on the contribution that you will make to the company.

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This Post Has One Comment
  1. the harsh reality that some companies do not value the diploma as much as the one who earned it might be true…but it I think it is a matter of finding the company that values what you value…diploma can be just a paper..diploma per se doesn't mean a thing maybe but the skills and discipline developed during the process of earning the degree are indispensable, which could be seen as assets by companies

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