09/08/2013 01:24 pm ET

Say No to School: Ask Noah

Q: I was all ready to attend a prestigious graduate school. Then, suddenly, I got this dream job offer that was too good to turn down. Happily, I was able to defer admission, but now I feel a little pissed at the fact that I won't be back in school. Just hoping I made the right decision. Thanks.

A: Deferring admission to the prestigious graduate school was a rational and wise choice, although passing regrets are inevitable and may continue to linger for some time.

Scholastic life is enticing, and it's hard to dismiss the merits of furthering one's education. Gaining new knowledge, being among like-minded individuals and experiencing learning for learning's sake is profoundly seductive.

However, when you step away from shiny admissions brochures there's a real risk in taking yourself out of the job market. Essentially, there's no real guarantee of professional success post-graduate school. This can be very scary and produce serious anxiety in anyone. In addition, graduate school is expensive and frequently seems to exist in an intellectual vacuum, often quite separate from the actual profession being studied.

All of this doesn't take away from the fact that you may eventually benefit from attending this program. With this in mind, take full advantage of the time this deferment awards you. Educate yourself about the profession and the role higher education could or could not play in your career development.

By the next academic year you should be able to answer these three questions:

Do I need this degree to advance professionally?
Will it help me make more money?
Could it make me significantly more informed and passionate about my career choice?

In the meantime, focus all of your attention on succeeding at the terrific job you've earned. Embrace this professional opportunity, and explore all the "real world" has to offer.

If you start second-guessing your decision, let it be fleeting. Admission deferment has afforded you options. Take comfort in that.

Thank you, my friend, and I look forward to hearing more about the job!

Questions and comments can be sent to ASK NOAH at

Have a profitable and peaceful week,