Anyone esle NOT plan on pushing their kids to go to college? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Neither of my parents went to college- my Dad had his own welding business and worked his butt off and made close to $100,000 a year in the 80's (which was a LOT back then). My mom slowly but surely worked her way from a minimum wage waitress job to making $50,000/year with great benefits working at Merck.

They were always VERY adamant about us going to college. Everything was in preparation for getting into a good college so we could get a great job.

Well I got into a great college, graduated at the top of my class, racked up $80,000 in debt, and could not find a SINGLE job willing to pay me more than $12/hour...or even a decent full time one for that matter. I doubled majored in psych/criminalistics.

DH went to Penn State, hated school, loved college life, and ended up racking up tons of debt in the 6 years he partied there and never graduated. He now owns a successful tile business making around $100,000/year. He could have never made that much with the degree he was pursuing.

I am a SAHM. After my kids are in school I plan to open up my own business.

So, my point it, unless my kids have a specific career path in mind that they are set on, I am not going to make them think college is the be all end all.

Anyone with me?

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#2 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:17 PM
 
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Absolutely. If they want to go that's completely fine with me, but I'm not going to hype it up to be something that they have to do to be successful. Dh and I both have student loan debt and nothing to show for it.
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#3 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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I wish my parents HAD pushed and supported me going to college......

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#4 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:21 PM
 
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I don't think that college is required, but it can be a big help. We will have the funds available to pay for college if that is what they want or the money can sit there waiting until they need it for another reason.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#5 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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I don't plan on pushing my kids into college. I think learning is important and I hope they continue to learn their whole lives, but you don't need to be in a school setting to do that. If they want to go to college, I support that decision. If they want to work instead, I support that decision.

I will not be paying for college. They are welcome to stay at home with us while they go to school so they have no food or rent costs, but I won't be paying their tuition.

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#6 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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I guess I am confused. Yes, I will always want my children to put their education as a top priority. But I guess I had a different experience with my education. I didnt see my college time nor do I see my degree as a chance to "rake up debt, party or spend 6 years" doing so.

There are many ways to get a decent education that do not include partying for 6 years. Also a degree does not guarentee a job waiting at the finish line nor making more money. Finally, this can be done with out running up 6 figures or 5 high figures of debt.

What is it- something no one can ever take away from you. You now are armed w knowledge. Also it should be a learning experience. My father always jokes that people with more formal education know what they dont know. Where as people with out, do not know what they dont know!

We will always make education a priority and make it easier for my girls to pursue furthering their education, just like both of our parents did before us. But yes, I think college is not for everyone.

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#7 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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I definitely won't 'push' them into college. I might encourage it, support them along the way --including financially to the extent that we can, but I surely wouldn't be heartbroken if they choose another path in life.

Neither DH or I have a college degree. I do feel like the oddball in my family, my bro has his MBA, my sister a BA, my mom has two Master degrees, my dad a PHD (in law) but yet we are comfortable and doing fairly well right now.

I know plenty of people with college degrees who are unhappy, have a good amount of student loans and make 1/3 of what my DH earns. SO, it's not like I feel that it's the most important thing to do after highschool.

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#8 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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I will encourage my children to get some type of training. I really don't care if its a 4 year degree or something at a technical college...i.e. wind farming is becoming HUGE in our area.
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#9 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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This thread made me smile. I can't see pushing them into it as I am a non-college-educated mama, thankyouverymuch. I didn't know what I wanted to "do" (besides my dream of writing) when I graduated high school, and I didn't want to rack up tons of loans and debt and waste time in school on a non-major (I got a lot of flack for being a failure because I didn't go straight from HS to college, BTW). I ended up traveling, working assorted interesting (and not) jobs, then I needed to work because I was getting married and DH was still in school, so I too a nanny position, got some great "on the job training" , retired when I had my DS1 and then had DS2 22 months later.

All that to say, a degree would have been wasted on me by now anyway. I don't see it as a be all end all thing. I want my kids to do what they are happy doing, good at and passionate about. I am not AGAINST college, and may go some day when I am done mothering full time and if what I want to do or be would benifit from the education. DH has a different veiw of this I am sure. He did 6 years of school, worked crappy jobs to pay the bills for a couple years and now has a lovely career which is his dream job. He is an engineer, so school wasn't really optional for him.
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#10 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:39 PM
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I would never "push" my kids to go to college if they wanted something else. However my college education has given me a job I love. One of the reasons I was adamant about college myself and why I kept going till I found what I loved was that I saw my dad "work" at a job he hated to make ends meet. I decided I wanted to do something fulfilling. College gave me that. I feel like I make a difference in the world. Which makes it worth the (horrible) student loans to me.

Now there are plenty of ways to make a difference without college! I mostly want my kids to be happy, fulfilled and never limited by something they think they can't do.

great question. I love the thought provoking issues on this board.
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#11 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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I won't push DS into going to college. For me it was just expected that I would go, and as a result I never questioned it and just went to college, racked up debt, I now have a degree I've never used and don't intend to use. A little more time and a little less pressure may have resulted in me making some smarter choices.

In high school I worked for an artist, doing production work in his studio for catalog pieces while he made the "real" art pieces, and I loved it. I KNEW that's the kind of work that was for me, but instead of sticking with the mentorship I went to a four-year college at my parents' insistance and ended up with a relatively useless degree for what my life path has been. Oh well about that, but I will certainly not push DS into the same situation.

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#12 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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Well, as a college professor, it's going to be hard for me not to push my kids a bit toward college . On the other hand, I've also seen many students in college who really would be better off having taken a different path - learned a trade, for example.

So, I hope that I'm open to my kids' needs. Ds' greatest desire right now at age 7 is to be a bus driver. I can't say I'm thrilled. I think he'd be bored silly, and he's got a very academic-y kind of mind. But I also don't say "oh no, you want to do something else". We talk about what it would be like to be a bus driver, what kind of training you need to get, how old you have to be, etc.

What I would never advocate is going deep into debt ($80,000 to $100,000) -- it's possible to get a 4 year degree at most state universities for a lot less than that!

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#13 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:44 PM
 
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I just wanted to add that if DS wants to go to college I will support him fully in that! I am definitely not anti-college, but going there straight out of high school was a mistake for me.

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#14 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:47 PM
 
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I see what you're saying, but I think a lot depends on the child and the situation.

If my son knows down to his bones that he wants to be a carpenter or plumber or something else where a degree is definitely not required, sure (although requirements to apprentice are getting stricter, plus apprenticing is further education too).

And if my son wants to take a year or two off between high school and higher education to work and save, I'm all for that too - I think focusing one's interests is a good idea.

But if he's ready for post-secondary education and not sure what he wants to do (like a lot of us), I would definitely encourage a degree. I agree with a PP that the knowledge and work you put in adds to your life. I do think the choice of degree matters.

Also, as far as the actual job market goes, I do think that unlike when your parents were working their ways up, a degree or at least certificate of some kind really is the minimum standard for a lot of things now. Your mum might not be able to make it into into her starting job, or to be promoted, on just a high school diploma under the rules of the road now.

So I think I will make those views clear to my child, and also still contribute to his education fund.

Debt can be crushing but there are ways to get around it. My grandparents helped fund my education and I believe my parents are thinking of something similar, although that is up to them and we don't count on it.

I sort of have a vague plan in mind that we'll put in two dollars for every dollar my son earns and saves during his high school years (summers, etc.) or something like that. Again it depends on him and his interests but I think that's one way to drive home to him that he needs to at least try to make wise choices around programmes, bursaries, working and studying hard, and minimizing debt.

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#15 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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I will be starting a college fund for DS as soon as possible. Most industries in order to be successful you do need some type of formal education or certification. Nowadays there are expensive tests for everything from automotive to welding to accounting to etc, etc.

A bachelor's degree isn't the be all end all as many PP have said but I want the funding there for what could potentially be thousands of dollars in tests and certifications. I joined the military so that I could go to college without racking up major student loan debt. My parents pushed college but made it very clear they wouldn't pay for it. I don't want my son to be stuck between a rock and a hard place like that.

If he decides he doesn't want to use it, then DH and I will roll it over into a different type of account for us.
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#16 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 06:00 PM
 
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No. I will encourage it, but it won't be forced.

My mother insisted I go to college, paid for with scholarships and working nearly full time. I didn't finish and for the most part, wasted alot of time half-assing it. If I were to start now, I would definitely do much better. Of course, I still haven't decided what I want to be.

My fil and I have gone rounds about the boys going to college. I say they don't "have to" but we'll definitely encourage them to and help with the costs. He says they have to go, everyone in his family has all these degrees and so on (he's kind of forgotten dh never finished either). My fil also has a master's degree and is now driving a city bus, so I'm not sure what argument he thinks he has, unless its just the education factor.
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#17 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 06:06 PM
 
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I really wanted to go to college but my mom, for whatever reason, wasn't very supportive. She wasn't anti-college but I think maybe she didn't think it was something that was for me. I don't know. It's the one regret that I have looking back. I really wish that I had somehow found a way to go.

I also ended up "falling in love" with an anti-college, stick it to the man, live off the grid, type of boy. He helped me see what a waste college would've been. Ahhhh, to be 18 again. lol.

I'm going to support my kids in whatever they want. I just want them to be happy. Hopefully they stay true to themselves and do what they feel is right for them.
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#18 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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DH and I have joked that we will push one of our DDs to be a plumber and the other to be an electrician. DH is extremely good at DIY, but he has enough sense to know that his skills are limited when it comes to plumbing and electrical. If we had an electrician and a plumber in the family it would save us some serious cash. We'd like DS to be a stone mason. DH likes nice stone houses.

Of course, we'll let our kids follow whatever career path they choose, but we will make sure that they consider all possibilities. I don't want our kids to go to university because they think that's what people have to do to be smart or successful or whatever.

I've lectured at several universities, and worked with a lot of first year students. Universities are full of kids who, for various reasons, don't belong there. Also, taking on massive student loan debt while you putter around trying to find your direction in life is unwise.

There are serious labour shortages in the trades, and there is a lot of money to be made in those careers. Our electrician bought his house for cash.

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#19 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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Personally, I will push both of my children to go to and graduate from college. But I accept people have different opinions and priorities.
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#20 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 06:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emaye_to_2 View Post
Personally, I will push both of my children to go to and graduate from college. But I accept people have different opinions and priorities.
Same here. I was the first kid on my mom and dad's side of the family to get a college degree. My relatives are all in dead end jobs and lives. I think college helped me to be a better person and a great mother.
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#21 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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Both of my parents had very strong expectations that all three of us (me and two older brothers) would earn at least a bachelor's degree. It was understood without it being said that they would have been quite disappointed if we had not. When I was in college I had no idea what I wanted to accomplish there and felt a ton of pressure to do well at something, and to be prepared to support myself well (well on their terms, not mine - must be a full time, corporate, professional level career track job) after finishing a 4 yr degree. When I struggled academically and it took me more than 4 yrs to finish and my father was angry about it the pressure was almost more than I could stand. I completed an engineering degree and worked in that field for eight years. The feeling of pressure to succeed and appear successful and fear of disappointing my parents or anyone else never went away. After eight years in that career I burned out. I was having panic attacks at work and went to a psychologist who advised me to get out of that career before I really had a nervous breakdown. I did leave that career, and it did help, but I think leaving that behind with the idea that I was letting everyone down, including my husband and myself, was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Now looking back I think I could have enjoyed that career if I had felt like it was mine and something I was doing for myself, on my own terms, but it never felt that way...it felt like something I was pushed into and had to prove myself in over and over again. I appreciate that my parents gave me the opportunity to earn a degree and not have student loans to pay afterward, but I think the pressure that came along with it was not helpful in the long run.

My DH earned a 4 yr degree and has been working full-time corporate jobs ever since. He is glad he has some job security and earns good money, but does not enjoy what he does and I think wishes he had been more creative about different ideas for careers when he was younger and it was easier to make changes and explore different options.

We both want to be able to help our kids with the opportunity to earn a degree if they want it, but don't want them to feel pushed into it or that it is something they should start just because they are 18 or some other random reason. If they choose a degree program it should be because there is a field they want to work in and the degree will help them reach their goals. If they choose to work in a field that does not require a degree, or have their own business that they don't need a degree for, that's fine. We want them to feel more freedom than we felt at that age, and see that there are many ways to earn a living. A degree is not a guarantee of a secure, well paying job with health and retirement benefits and a happy life. In fact neither of us was happy with the corporate 9-5 cubicle life and we will probably be very honest with them about that. I will probably encourage them to find a career that will not involve sitting in a cubicle 40-50 hrs a week.

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#22 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 06:49 PM
 
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Well, at the risk of sounding tyrranical, I know deep down that I will push my kids to either go to college or learn a trade.

I don't think college has to be this big four year affair, pulling in tons of debt. My degree takes 18 months to complete, and after all is said and done (with three semesters of "experimentation" and an expensive foray into a private 4-year) I'll owe just under $6000. DP is going to school (the same one, its a tech college) for CNC operations. He'll also be done in 18 months, and he'll have the opportunity to get a pay raise from $9 an hour degreeless to $22 an hour.

The thing is, in my own experience, everyone I know that DOESN'T have some sort of degree are the ones that can't find jobs anywhere, or can't advance anywhere. These days, you need at least two years of college to pick up garbage (at least around here). My mother would love to go from essentially grunt to supervisor, but can't because she doesn't have a degree in anything.

So, no matter what, I'll try to prepare my kids for college or learning a trade as much as I can. Because those entry-level jobs that don't require a degree are extremely few and far between these days. I understand not "forcing" them into anything, but in order to survive these days, some sort of higher learning is required. At least in my experience and in my area. It could be different elsewhere.
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#23 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 06:56 PM
 
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No.. I'm one of those parents who haven't even hinted at the possibility of her NOT going to college. She has two and a half years left of high school and then it's community college for a few years, then University.

I wish I could afford to send her to an out of state college (She wants to go to Seattle) but, I can't.

I don't know why.. I just feel like she should go, and deserves to go to college. So, I have never given her the option.
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#24 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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I won't push it. I dropped out of college, and have a small business of my own. My partner went to college, and his degree is useless as he also owns his own business and always has.

Both of us knew we'd NEVER work for anyone else other than ourselves. I figured out in college that since I'm my own boss, I don't need a college degree, lol.

Anyway, we're both debt free and absolutely love what we do.

We're going to encourage our child to pursue their passion. To find something they love, and to do that without settling. We'll let them know that earning money is something everyone has to do, and you spend a lot of time relatively speaking at this. So, if you're going to spend a lot of time doing something to earn money, it should be something that you love, and are passionate about. This way, you never actually "work." It's how it is for my partner and I - we don't work. We have fun, and earn money doing it.

What that passion will be for my child will be totally dependant on them. If they need college to do it - they'll go. If not, they won't. Neither of us will push any particular direction, other than going for the passion.

However, we're NOT going to support them financially indefinitely. If they skip college, then they'll need to get a job and either pay us rent or move out with a roommate. We're big believers in making your own way, and achieving one's passion independently.

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#25 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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Well unlike most of the other posters it seems, my eldest is a junior and he is planning on going to college. I went to college as an adult (worked my way through) and my ex his Dad did not go to college.

Having spent my early 20's as a single Mom working crap jobs with no degree, my life was changed for the good when I went to school. I now do work that is meaningful that I enjoy that while low paying (director of a non-profit) would not have been open to me without a degree. I admit the student loans do suck but if I had stayed stuck in dead end jobs that would have been worse.

That said, in my family education has been the tool that has allowed us to move up and I value it very much. However I would not be opposed or devastated if my son told me he wanted to learn a trade. Though as a member of the debate team who loves politics and is not too handy, I don't see trade school in the cards especially since he is prepping to take the SAT and ACT.

Sadly in today's world good paying jobs without some sort of schooling are harder to find, its not like 30 years ago when you could work at a plant and work your way up.

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#26 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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depends on the indivual. I was neither pushed nor discouraged from college and thats how I liked it. If I had gone to college right after high school I wouldn't have the wonderful life I do now... this is because I didn't want to go to college at that time and had no definate professional direction. Didn't think it a wise decision to waste my or my parents money. Now that I am matured and in a different place in my life I would certainly go back to school when time, money, and family life permits. Still don't know exactly what I'd go for though.

If my kids express interest in a particular area that college would benifit then yes, I'd encourage it. If my child showed true passion for something better persued outside of school then I would encourage that. Basically I plan to encourage whatever it is that I think is a good balance between what I think will be most benifical and productive on a personal level for them and what THEY think will be most benifical or personally fofilling them.

I know waaaaaaaaaaaay too many young people around my age who were basically forced into college and have made expensive changes in majors more than once and still don't know what they want to do, wasted their education and money (or parents money)by flunking out, dropped out and re-entered college more than once (and loosing class fees, book fees, and such in the process), getting a degree only to find out they hate the field once they finally start working in it (then end up working at a job or career they could have started 4-8 years prior if their parents hadn't forced them to pick something to go to college for at age 17), and dropping out early and having no way to pay back the financial aid.

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#27 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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I will encourage my kids to go to college because I found it to be very valuable. I didn't rack up a ton of debt and it took me 4 years.

My mom was also very insistent that I go. BUT...she said if I wanted to not use the degree afterwards, that would be fine too. She just wanted me to always ( especially as a woman) have a degree. I find it empowering to have a degree under my belt. I could lose everything- my husband, my house, my material things, but NO ONE can take my education and degree away from me. I'll always have it...if I need it.


I won't be paying for school either. THey can live with us, for free, but they will have to pay for school. THey'll figure it out.


And am I using my degree today? To an extent, yes. I'm a sahm, but I learned a lot of life lessons in college. I use them everyday. I was a teacher before ds, and it was a great experience and helped me prepare for motherhood in so many ways. I think I will return to the classroom, one day.

Heather , momma to ' Parker- 10, Carlee- 7 and our baby Genevieve Faith - 8-27-10

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#28 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 09:17 PM
 
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I can't say because my dd's are only 3 and nearly 2. It will 100% depend on their personalities. I wish somebody would have told me it was ok to not go to college right after high school. I felt pressured to go to school immediately after hs when really I would have been better off taking a 2-3 year break to "deschool". I was sick and tired of hs by the time I graduated, but with the pressure of needing to go immediately "or else you'll never want to go back" or "it's SO hard to go back once you've been out for awhile" I took the easy way out and went to trade school for Cosmetology. I hated it. I still love doing hair, but I absolutely hated dealing with the cattiness that is a 99% female business, the picky customers who think you know nothing when in reality they are the ones that know 0 about how to cut their hair, I could go on and on.

Now I have two kids and dh is on the verge of a promotion that will allow us to be a much more comfortable 1 income family, I'm hesitant to go back to school. I do not *want* to be a WOHM, but in this economy and *very* tight budget, I would like to return work. It would take me 4 years to graduate, at minimum, and by then I will hopefully not need to work. So we're kinda stuck. In 4 years they'll also be in school full time making working a job without a degree much more profitable since I won't have to pay for 2 FT daycare tuitions. If I could go back in time, I would have taken 2 or so years off to get tired of working a lower paying job, really determine what I love and could aslo make enough money to be worth it with a reasonable amt of debt and then get my masters. As a friend of mine says "You need a bachelor's to get a job, and masters to make any money". I'd work full time til we decided to have kids, take a year or two off after each one of them and return to part time work and eventually 3/4 time work after they're all in school.

I hope to not push my kids in any one direction and hope that I've raised them well enough to make such important decisions on their own. If they're the school-y type that wants to ladder climb, I'd encourage college. If they turn out to be the ones that are satisfied with a median income with not a lot of extras, and don't want to go the school route, I'd encourage trade school or working their way up in an interesting field.
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#29 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 09:26 PM
 
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I won't push my kids to go to University but I will try to make sure they have that opportunity if they want it. That will include letting them live at home while going to school, and being able to offer some financial support - although with the rate that tuition is rising at, I doubt we'll be able to cover the whole thing.

If they'd rather go into a trade or something I would be fine with that, but I would encourage some sort of further education beyond high school. I think even if you don't work in the field you study, it opens more doors than it closes.

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#30 of 179 Old 01-30-2009, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies...yes like many others I will definitely present the opportunity, and will be very supportive if my children decide they want to go to college. I won't, however, be disappointed if they choose a different path.

My college years weren't useless...I did learn a lot, and that BA hanging on my wall has no expiration date. I think a lot also depends on your major.

I actually loved school and miss it, and sometimes think of getting my masters...then I think that I could probably just be as successful doing somehting that doesn't require me to go back to school and pay even more student loans...

Amy, mommy to Ava, 6, Gavin, 4, Lila, 2, and Baby #4 due in early November! joy.gif
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