Is Grad School Worth It? 6 Women With A Master’s Degree On Whether Or Not They’d Do It Again

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For the third year in a row, Bustle's Upstart Awards are honoring young women who are doing incredible things in the realms of business, STEM, fashion and beauty, the arts, philanthropy, and beyond. Want to be an Upstarts honoree one day? Read on for career tips, insights, and inspiration to help get you there.

There comes a time in every young college grad's life where she has to ask herself a question: is grad school worth it? This is a question that's influenced by many factors beyond academic passion, from career ambitions to student debt, and the desire to avoid the "real world." (Have you seen the real world? I'm good, thanks.) There are some professions, such as academia and scientific research, where a graduate degree is a necessity. In others, it's helpful, but not an essential feature of your résumé, and for a vast amount of potential career paths, it's not really an advantage either way. As a woman who got a PhD in a creative field, I can tell you definitively that my doctorate was brilliant, hugely enjoyable, taught me incredible things and got me great contacts — and is now only really useful for proudly putting "Dr." in front of my name at the vet's office when I pick up my cat. Would I do it again? Yes. Was it worth it? It depends on your ideas of what "worth it" might mean.

If you're tossing up staying at college to get a Master's or some kind of higher degree, it can be helpful to hear from people who went through the same decision-making process, ticked yes, and are now looking back on how it affected their lives and careers. Six women, all in their 30s, with a variety of graduate degrees under their belts, spoke to Bustle about what the idea of "worth it" meant to them, and whether they considered their grad school experience to be an asset, a disadvantage, or a combination of the two.

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Grad school definitely isn't for everyone, but for some women, it's an important investment in their careers (not to mention in their personal development). If grad school is something you're moved to do, keep getting opinions from people in your life who have done it, your academic advisors, or other people you trust. Ultimately, you'll make the best decision for yourself one way or the other.