The Fed Ex driver had no idea what he had laid on my front porch. The package that I would discover a few hours had cost more than any car I’ve ever owned and demanded thousands of hours of my time. It was my Masters of Divinity from Liberty University.
Just last month I carefully cut off the packaging and unrolled my degree. This journey, which started back in 2010, had finally reached its destination. As my wife and kids stood around, I thought of the sacrifice that they had all given toward this project as well. (My wife completed her masters a few years ago, and certainly understands what it represents.) Yet, it had been worth it. And after several weeks of contemplation, here are a few of the specific benefits.
1. Personal growth. This may be the only sufficient reason to pursue a graduate degree. Or another one, in my case. The Masters of Divinity is a 93 hour program and is rather multidisciplinary. Because of this program, I had learned another language, grown as a speaker, writer, counselor, and leader, and read over a hundred books.
2. Relationships. My graduate degree had brought me into contact with numerous well-qualified professionals, most of whom had terminal degrees and were published in their field. And even though the program was online, I have been able to maintain some of these well after the course was complete.
3. Discipline. While developing personal discipline is not a sufficient reason for doing a master’s degree, it is certainly one of the benefits. Sure, there were still times when I was flirting with academic disaster by turning in projects only minutes before they were due. However, I have developed a strong morning routine (and become quite addicted to coffee as well!) I expect both of these habits to continue for quite some time.
4. Professional advancement. In most careers, earning a master’s degree should improve your chance of making a decent living while doing what you love. In my case, this degree will also be an essential stepping stone as I prepare to move into a doctoral program next year.
All told, I was very glad I had decided to knock out this degree. The sense of accomplishment and personal growth made the degree worth it on the day it arrived. I have no doubt it will only become more valuable in the years ahead. How about you? What do you see as the primary benefits of earning a graduate degree?