Planning for the long term

When do we make long term plans? 

As winter moves towards spring, my main job is to help potential students apply to graduate school—for programs that won’t start until Fall. And while most people assume a master’s degree takes two years to complete, that quickly goes to three when attending part-time. 

So, I’m asking people to envision their life three-plus years down the road when most of us can barely figure out what we’re going to do this week.

When I talk to people contemplating graduate school and the time commitments needed to be successful, I tell them it will go by quickly if they can fully commit to the program—planning for interruptions and distractions that will undoubtedly come. For working professionals, particularly in STEM disciplines, the goal of higher education usually isn’t learning for the sake of learning but to develop new knowledge and skills that will create value for themselves and their future employers. (Although I don’t think you can be successful without finding pleasure in learning itself.)

So what’s the plan?

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and undersetimate what they can do in ten years.

Bill Gates

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