COVID-19 Pandemic: Should I Start Work or Go Back to School?

Looking through social media pages of many of my friends, it seems like it is another round of the job search season for the graduates of 2021. This brings back fond memories of my job search season last year, and I thought that I should write a post like this for those who are unsure of whether to start work or go back to school, especially during this pandemic. (For context, I started working recently at a Retail and FMCG Multinational Company, and turned down my full time masters degree offer from NUS, losing $100 in administrative fees in the process.)

Go to Work

It is a good choice to choose to go to work for some reasons.

If you were to look at the Job Descriptions of multiple jobs, you would realise that many of the jobs would require X number of work experience. That seems to imply that in order to even get a good job, you would need to have work experience. What better way than to just get started and join the working world right after graduation? If you have the skills which could let you succeed in your first job which you are interested in, by all means, you should go to work to see a brand new perspective and start building the career you wish to have.

Another reason to head out to work is to be able to earn an income. If your finances are tighter and you would like some financial freedom, going to work is the best way to start paying off the student debt and start living the life of an adult.

Building your network can also be one of the reasons to head out to work. By going out to work, you stand the chance to start building relationships with your co-workers, which can potentially be a chance for you to bring your personal brand out there into the industry.

Go back to School

Especially since it is a pandemic, and opportunities may be scarce out there, going back to school may be a good option.

One of the reasons why you should go back to school is if the career of interest requires certain prerequisite knowledge to enter. For instance, you may be interested in full-time research. If so, a PhD may be the way to go. If you majored in engineering, but would like to go into a different sector, for instance in business consulting, a graduate degree in business may help you gain more knowledge and keep you better positioned for an opportunity in the sector.

Another reason to go back to school is getting more opportunities in the process. When you are back in school, there is likely a dedicated career office available to provide career guidance for students. You would be able to access the various internship portals to acquire more experience.

Go to Work, while still up-skilling yourself

For myself, I decided to go to work, while still up-skilling myself. This is the way to stay relevant in the future economy. This way, one could get the best of both worlds, learning while also gaining precious work experience, in order to better position oneself in future.

The different ways to up-skill oneself while at work includes taking a part time degree in university, doing online courses, or just doing new things, for instance doing volunteer projects.

For more on why I decided to return to university while working full time:

For more on skills for the future economy, do read this:

For more on doing online courses, do read my experience with Coursera here:

Image Credits: Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash