DEAR HARRIETTE: Many of my friends are going to graduate school post-graduation, but I have not made this decision for myself yet. My career values experience more than a master’s degree, but I feel like all of my peers are continuing school and I would, quite frankly, feel stupid if I were the only one without a graduate degree. Should social pressure lead me to obtain more education, or should I try to find my way in the professional world? -- Needing More, New York City
DEAR NEEDING MORE: While peer pressure is real and can cause a tremendous amount of concern, you cannot succumb to it as you plan your life’s steps. You must look at your career path and learn everything you can about how people excel. If it is true that work experience is king in your industry, then get to work. There will always be time to go back for a graduate degree should you need to have one.
If you find yourself having to defend your decision, consider this fantastic. You should be comfortable explaining why you have made the choices that you have. You should be as at ease telling your family as sharing the news with your friends or colleagues. So practice. You will become better at it, and better at your work the more you claim it.