Is grad school going to help you career or hurt it? Find out.

As the daughter of an academic, many people around me have asked me, “So when are you going to grad school?” They assume that because one my parents has pursued advanced degrees, that I will as well.

In the few years that have passed since I graduated from university, I’ve seen many, if not all, of my friends decide to pursue more advanced degrees, and although I can’t lie and say that I haven’t considered the option, I’ve ultimately decided to hold off on the option of graduate school for now despite many people encouraging me to do the opposite in order to ensure that I’m around other individuals my age in grad school. Here’s why:

I Don’t Have A Clear Vision of What I Want To Do With My Career

I don’t insist on having a crystal-clear vision of what you would like to do in your career (because as humans, we often change our minds about various things throughout our careers) but the fact is that graduate school is a major investment, no matter how you look at it.

As good as grad school might look on a job application, I would rather hold off on graduate school than decide to do something that I’m not sure I’d like to pursue long-term.

Some might say that my waiting until I have a vision about what I want to do in my career is what they would call a perfectionistic trait, and while I don’t deny that, I think exercising restraint when it comes to making big life decisions like going to grad school is a good thing Without a clear goal in mind or an idea of what I’d use a graduate degree for, I wouldn’t feel good about investing all that money and time into the process of getting one.

I’m Not Prepared

It’s no secret that the process of applying to grad school is a long one. The lack of preparedness goes beyond the fact that I don’t have a solid goal. People often start preparing materials for grad school applications months, sometimes years in advance by doing research on particular programs, and noting important deadlines.

Moreover, being financially prepared to invest in grad school is a major factor in anyone’s decision. Whether or not you decide to pursue graduate school within the United States or abroad (as some choose to do), having the finances and resources to pay for grad school is a major factor.

I’m not saying that everyone should let finances and lack of preparation deter them from applying to grad school if they want to; if you do want to go to grad school and you think it will help your career in the long run, by all means, commit to going. I’m not suggesting that everyone pay out of pocket for grad school either, because let’s face it, not everyone in the world has that kind of money.

I’m just saying that I’m the kind of person who likes to be prepared before I make a major commitment, and in my mind, grad school falls under the category of “big commitment.”

I’m Thinking About Graduate School For The Wrong Reasons

Grad school may be considered a necessity for some degrees, and I can’t deny that it looks good on a resume, but here’s something else to consider:

Are you going to graduate school because you genuinely need the degree to get further in your career? Or are you looking at grad school as a way to escape the daily grind of the job market?

Getting an advanced degree, be it a masters or a PhD takes a lot of time and effort. As the daughter of an academic, I’ve seen a lot of students over the years who have gone to grad school because they genuinely need the degree to get further along in their careers, and students who have gone to grad school just to escape the daily grind of the job market.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Grad school shouldn’t be a way to delay real life.” quote=”Grad school shouldn’t be a way to delay real life.”]

Working day in and day out at your job may be hard, but that doesn’t mean that graduate school will be any easier than your current job. In fact, depending on which school and subject you choose to study, it may even be harder.

Graduate school is not your undergraduate degree part 2. You will be expected to work a lot harder because the expectations will be a lot higher. For me personally, I would want to be absolutely sure that I am both physically and mentally prepared to handle the challenges of continuing my education instead of using school as an excuse to leave my job behind.

This is by no means the only way to do things. For some of you out there, leaving your job to attend graduate school may be the right choice, but I know that given where I am right now, I would be leaving the job market and pursuing grad school in order to leave the job market, which in my mind, is not the right reason to invest the time and effort into pursuing an advanced degree.

[clickToTweet tweet=”3 Reasons You Should Wait To Go To Grad School” quote=”3 Reasons You Should Wait To Go To Grad School”]

In the four years that have passed since I have graduated, I have come to realize that the education many of us can take for granted is actually an opportunity that many individuals around the world are unfortunately denied. Both undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees are opportunities, and in my opinion, they should be treated as such, especially because of the time and money that you will invest in the education process.

I am by no means ruling graduate school out completely, but for the reasons I’ve explained above, I’d like to carefully consider various factors before making the commitment, in terms of time, money, and effort.