Most of the people reading this post will balk at the idea: “I barely survived my undergrad. Why would I want to put myself through three more years of college?” Indeed, graduate school isn’t for everyone. But it might be just the thing for you.

How do you know it’s the right thing for you? You start to have strange, sometimes illogical feelings. Secretly, you may wish that learning could just go on and on, not that you’d ever share that with your friends or co-workers. To help you identify which group you fall into, we’ve compiled this list of five signs that you’re ready to go back for a graduate degree:

signs you're ready to go back to get your graduate degree1. You miss studying.

When you were in your undergraduate studies, you never thought you would’ve ever missed the readings, the papers, the lectures, and the exams. But for some, some time after they graduate with bachelor’s degree in hand, there comes that siren call, that unexpected thought: “I miss school.”

You see, as difficult as college was, your brain secretly liked the stimulation that came with it. Now that the most intellectually thing you read are your friends’ Facebook status updates, your brain is craving an intellectual feast and the sense of satisfaction that comes with it.

2. You’ve hit the Undergrad Ceiling.

This doesn’t apply to all fields, but in some fields, such as Accounting, Medicine, or Law, there is a clearly defined ceiling. And the differences in pay and ability between the two groups are stark. Associate accounting is nothing compared to being a certified public accountant. You see even vastly separate pay and mobility between legal assistants and attorneys, oral hygienists and dentists, and so forth.

Again, this isn’t true for all fields. You’ll know if it applies to yours.

3. You like the sound of “doctor” at the front of your name.

Are you starting to seriously consider becoming a PhD? You may be wanting the distinction that comes with such an achievement or you may be craving the achievement itself. For some, Mount Everest is a challenge one must surmount as part of a bucket list. For others, it is to earn one or more doctoral degrees. If you’re feeling this need, you might have the ambition it takes to actually earn that PhD.

4. You don’t just want to sort of know things.

Being in your undergraduate program felt like drinking from a firehose. Now, a couple years later, you start to realize that you were really just taking sips, and the motherlode of knowledge is still out there, waiting for you to become its expert.

If you have that innate desire to become an expert in a certain field of study, a bachelor’s degree won’t cut it. And this isn’t just about titles–it’s about depth of learning. Graduate studies that require theses force you to dig into one subject and write a several-hundred-page work on that subject. By the time you’ve complete your thesis, you will truly be a master of that subject.

5. You miss talking to really smart people.

One of the great things about colleges and universities is the high concentration of intelligent people that they create. You rub shoulders with geniuses and prodigies, have incredibly deep conversations with them… and then you go back to the normal population, where intelligence is more thinly distributed. As you begin to talk to “normal” people, you feel a distinct void. Your brain doesn’t have to work as hard, nor does it get that buzz it used to.

This may seem refreshing at first, but, after awhile, you may find yourself craving smart conversation. Graduate school is just the place to find it. More than in your undergraduate studies, you are surrounded by the cream of the crop and working regularly with professors and experts. Slackers don’t really take the next step to graduate status. This makes it a perfect place for a budding intellectual like you.

If you don’t have this feeling or some of the other feelings verbalized above, graduate programs might not be your thing. They’re not meant to be. But if you are exhibiting any of the above signs, it might be time to start investigating graduate programs.

Are you having these feelings? Have you started looking into graduate programs? Tell us in the conversations below!

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