Finances & Money

Graduate School: Change of Plans

When I was accepted to graduate school a year ago, I had an ambitious plan to finish the degree in 2 years. That means 4 semesters of 2 classes and 2 summers of 1 class. The whole program is 10 classes (30 credits).

After completing 4 semesters, and halfway through this summer’s semester, I’m changing my plan. I had to register for fall classes last week, and rather than two classes, I decided to just take 1 class in the fall.

Honestly, I’m burned out. I go home after work and just sit there and browse the internet or play games because I don’t want to work on anything else. I don’t like interacting with people anymore because all I can think of are all the home, work and internet projects I have to work on, including this site. I have so much to do, but no motivation to do anything. That’s why you’ve seen so many guest articles in May and June.

So I asked myself “Why am I rushing to finish my degree in 2 years?”

Good question. The original intent was so that we could be able to leave the D.C. area, if we wished, as soon as possible. That means getting my masters before we could hightail it out of here. But since we have no plan on going anywhere, that reasoning doesn’t quite apply any longer.

Another reason, I think, is that I have a 1 year repayment requirement with my employer. That means that I have to stay with my company for 1 year after any tuition reimbursements to me. Right now, I have 3 dates to worry about:

  • July 13, 2008 – This is the first reimbursement date of about $5,000. Once I hit July 13th, then that 1 year is fulfilled and I will no longer owe that money back if I leave.
  • Sept 28, 2008 – This is a small reimbursement for some books for just under $200. If I leave before this date, I’ll owe it back, but I’m not worried about it.
  • Feb 8, 2009 – This is the $5,000 tuition for the Spring 2008 semester. I don’t want to have to pay this back if I can avoid it.
  • June 6, 2009 – Another $200 for A book (yeah, just one)
  • Feb-ish, 2010 – For the upcoming $5200 for spring 2009 semester (tuition went up)

So those are the dates to which I’m committed, or will be committed. This summer, fall and next summer (and now fall) will be out of my pocket as my employer only covers up to 5200 per year. So either way, whether I take 2 classes this fall or push it off to next year, I still have to cover that last class.

When I mentioned I was only taking 1 class in the fall, Stacie got worried because she thought it meant I would be committed to that much longer with my employer. Nope, as you saw above, if I take their money for the 2 spring 2009 classes, I’m stuck till early 2010 no matter what. Unless I push my degree into 2010, I won’t delay my potential departure from my current employer (not that I’m planning anything, but I need to be prepared).

Additionally, since we’re going to Israel in November (pending the problems there now), I’d like to only miss classes for one course, not two. And having to manage the workload that I’ll be missing would be horrendous for 2 classes.

I don’t plan to stop writing for Clever Dude, but if you see me miss a day here or there, you’ll know why. I don’t want to put out crap content, so if I just don’t have the motivation to write or any good topics, then I just won’t write. I’ve had an unwritten rule for myself that I would write every weekday, but that might change as my workload changes. But now that we’re done with some major home improvements (but the minor ones never ends), things might get easier.

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Clever Dude


  • I totally agree with what you’ve done. I’m in a similar situation, although I don’t have the 1 year stipulation. As long as I am employed by them the first day of class and when I get my final grade, I will be reimbursed. I also have a yearly limit- $5,000. I decided to cut back to 1 class this Fall (from 2).

  • You are lucky to have tuition reimbursement. I am trying to do it on my dime and without student loans, so it’s pay as I go. My current employer only offers $100 per semester so I have to work during the summers to take a full load at least one of the regular semesters. As of January 2009, I will just have my junior and senior year classes to finish, though.

  • I know exactly what you mean by being burnt out as I feel that too once in a while!

    I don’t think there’s a rush but the danger is that you end up taking no classes so as long as you keep at least one class going, it’s a good choice.

  • CleverDude, just wanted to say I totally understand what you are going through. It sounds like we are in the exact same position. I’m in a 2 year, 10 class, 30 hour MBA program and after this summer term I will have one year under my belt.

    I miss being able to come home and just relax rather than think about class. I want to put my best foot forward on all fronts — home, marriage, work, blog, AND MBA. Admittedly, I’ve let MBA slip a little (as seen last night when I “bombed” a test).

    Very tough, but I’m sticking it out so I can be done and get starter on my employer’s 1-year commitment faster.

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