I had pretty much decided 100% that I would be going to Goldsmiths, University of London next year to study Applied Anthropology and Community Development. Then on Sunday night, after spending all weekend drinking cocktails and riding jet skis, I came home to find out that I was accepted at Columbia University in New York to study International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees in their School of Social Work! That send me from feeling great, to feeling like the world was my oyster. I am beaming with pride in myself and I don’t feel like that’s un-called for. I’ve been accepted to study at an Ivy League school – one of the top universities in the world with a 7% acceptance rate, so I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for this one. I worked crazy hard during my undergraduate and have tried to make the past two years out of school time on as opposed to time off and Columbia University has recognized that. I’m feeling pretty darn good. And torn as to what I should do.
Here are some considerations I have.
New York vs London
They are both awesome. I love New York, and I haven’t been to London yet, which makes them both super appealing.
They are both ideal places to study and work with immigrants and refugees. Both cities have a heavy pulse filled with culture, night life, and driven people. But in London, I could have all of Europe at my fingertips. Hello weekend trips to Spain, France, and Italy. Hello an international education that will allow me to work within a different framework of academia, which could help me stand out as I try to find work in an international arena. This is giving you major points, London. MAJOR points indeed.
Then there are these guys…
As far as families go, I’m pretty sure that mine is the tops. I miss them and wish that I spent more time with them. New York isn’t exactly close to home, but it’s definitely closer than London. After spending a year about as far away as I could possibly be, being able to hop on a plane and hang out at home for a weekend is almost as tempting as hopping on a train and going to Paris. I’ve only talked to Mom and Dad once since I found out that I was admitted into Columbia. They are ecstatic and love the idea of my being stateside and at an Ivy League school, but they keep telling me that this is my education, not theirs, and so the decision is completely up to me, not them. I love them for that, but it would also be easier if they still told me what I had to do, as if I were a child. But we all know that’s not the case, so they’ve taken the route of being one hundred percent behind me and happy for me in whatever direction I take. And that means that I have to choose a direction to take.
Higher education isn’t cheap – especially at the post graduate level. Both options are expensive, but Columbia is REALLY expensive. That brings me to the question of whether or not a fancy Ivy League degree is really worth it. Goldsmiths is a one year program, which automatically makes it more affordable whereas Columbia is a two year program. In addition to the time frame thing, tuition costs are much lower in the UK, even with all the international expenses and visa fees. If money was truly doing all the talking here, Goldsmiths is the better value bar none. That being said, would a degree from Columbia nearly guarantee that I’ll get my dream job when I graduate? Is that worth the debt that I will build up while I study there? Is that worth turning down the opportunity to spend a year in Europe? I don’t know and I’m really glad that I cut off most of my hair last week, so I don’t have that to pull out.
So, I’ve spent this week distracted at work, having trouble sleeping, and when I fall asleep, I’ve been having really weird stressful dreams that leave me exhausted when I wake up to start the day. If you asked me right now, my heart says that I should go to Goldsmiths, but my mind tells me that I’m crazy for turning down the opportunity to study at Columbia. My heart and my mind are working on deadlines, so they better come to an agreement soon.