I apologize in advance as I'm pretty sure this will get a little long and rant-y. Haven't posted in a pretty long time so probably need some backstory... I was always considered the smart one of my siblings and have always been a big nerd. I went to a top university and had always been a good student, but ended up taking a break early my junior year to deal with some serious depression. My parents pretty much forbade me from doing it and when I put my foot down they flew out and took me out of school, pretty much severing most of my school relationship. I'm sure you can guess where this is going: didn't end up going back. I bounced around a couple of lame jobs while living at home and trying to figure out what to do. In the meantime everyone in my family constantly asked when I was going back to school and every conversation was always about why I wasn't going back right that second. It started to get really unbearable as I became increasingly more bored of answering the same questions and offended by questions like whether I was on drugs. My parents lost a lot of their savings with the stock market crashing in 2008 and had to sell their house and completely change their lifestyle. Then came a really messy seperation and divorce which is still ongoing and has left both my parents (both with multiple degrees and in their 60s) very financially unstable. In the meantime I've been at least moderately successful working in retail. I was making close to 80k a year in my last job though switched to one with a more regular schedule and no crazy overtime like I had before making somewhere in the 40k-50k range. I'm not saying it's where I imagined myself (I had always planned on going to medical school) and I admit it's nothing special, but I still have to deal with constant judgement from my family. I have so many friends who graduated the same year I should have who are still living at home and can't get a job. I met a cousin's Harvard grad friend who graduated a year ago and doesn't have a job, which she said isn't that uncommon among her friends. I realize a lot of what my family members see in me is lost potential and they really care about me, but I am so sick of having to defend my choices every time we talk. I haven't ruled out going back to school by any means, but is there a polite way to get them to stop asking? Or am I completely insane for being happy I have a job and am self-sufficient? It seems everyone I grew up with and am related to are so obsessed with that paper saying I graduated that they can't see any possibilities without it. Any older and wiser women have any words of wisdom? Is it really unanimous that immediately going back to school, accumulating debt, and then re-entering a brutal job market is really the best course of action? And if not any advice on how to kindly tell my family and their friends to come up with a new topic of conversation?