Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Life Choices

Not to be so introspective, but I have a question/discussion for you, my readers:
What key moments in your life made you realize that you were/were not on the right path? Okay, let me put myself out there a little. As you may know, I am 25 years old and still in college. I never left, I never took a "break," and I don't have children. I am just what you might call a career student. However, I don't want to be anymore. I will be completing my Master's in December, and am on the edge of the rest of my life. I am extremely nervous and anxious to be out of school. Nervous because sometimes I really doubt my abilities in the real world, and anxious because I am so ready to be out of Starkville, out of Mississippi, and just someplace else.
After 2.5 years of college (started right out of high school), R decided to put school on the back burner to help support me through the remainder of my Bachelor's and into my Master's. I whole-heartedly hope that he realizes how greatful I am, and will always be, for that. Because of his sacrifice, we have 2 reliable vehicles, a home (that we OWN), several happy pets, and memories of a few amazing vacations. We also have a discontented husband who feels like, at 25, he is unaccomplished and going nowhere. THE PLAN, as we call it, is for me to finish school, get a job, move, then it will be his turn to finish school. Most likely he will not return to a regular 4-year program, or Biochemistry for that matter, but it is his dream (and mine) for him to earn his degree. I have all the faith in the world that (once he decides what he wants to do) he will excel.
As for the question I asked, here's how I feel. I grew up knowing that I would go to college. Now, I did talk to a few recruiters and joined ROTC for a year, but I just knew that the military was NOT for me. And, I never had a job until the summer after I graduated from high school. The focus for me was school, and I was not allowed to work. So, entering the workforce was not really an option. I knew school, I had been in school since I was 5, so college was what I was going to do. And, I loved it (love it still). I did well in my classes, I made new friends and reinforced old friendships, and I grew as a person. But, into my junior year I started to get nervous about graduating. I mean, really, who, with a bachelor's degree is really ready to start their career? I wasn't.
So, it took me another 2 years to finish (total 5.5 years). Fortunately, I wound up at this lab job, loved it, and was invited to get my Master's there. That was my answer, I wouldn't have to leave school just yet. Here we are, 2 years later, and only 6 months away from graduation. I have learned, accomplished, and grown so much in the past 2 years. I realized that I DO NOT want to be a college student forever (no more homework, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks). We will be celebrating our 2nd anniversary this fall, and I realize that I DO want to have a nice home and children (one day).
At this point in my life, I am also starting to feel the added weight of R's sacrifice. I will be the one supporting our family. Until he finishes whatever program he chooses. And, I will not pressure him to hurry up! He deserves it! I owe it to him! Not just because we're married and I have to, but because I love him, he's been such an amazing provider and supporter! I want him to feel the same pride and accomplishment that I do--about starting something and seeing it through!
I guess what I'm curious about are the choices that you (or your significant other) have made as a long term investment in yourself/your family. Do you have children? How did you know when you were ready to have them? Are you a working/stay-at-home parent? What sacrifices did you/they have to make? Do you feel regret/guilt over it? I know it's very personal, but I just needed the therapy of putting my feelings out there, and curiosity (the voyeur in me) has me asking YOU.


At 1:28 PM, Blogger zombieswan 's valuable input...

I'm totally the worst person to give you any advice about school vs. real life. I've worked 'real jobs' but I never want to leave school. (Just change sides of the classroom!)

And you also know we have two kids, and that it has been hard to finish the school thing with them here. But it's not impossible.

For Rs career, he should do what he loves. I personally think he should try to get something in computers. I don't know what, but Computers make him happy, and the key to happiness is to find a career where they'll pay you for doing something you would do for free. Plus there would be some fine irony in that being the thing that pushed him out of his path to the BA originally... :)

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous grandma M 's valuable input...

I agree with Z as to going with what he loves. Also have a recommendation on schools. I think he should try DeVry. I believe he can even do it online. That is where his Grandfather went after we were married.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Mon 's valuable input...

Everyone I know that has kids says that if you wait until you are ready you wont ever be ready.

I can tell you why I don't want them, and how I know that. Firstly, I lack that desire. I mean once in a while, I think about it, and it's only because I fear growing old alone, or not having a 'legacy'. Or because my mom wants grandkids without fur. LOL.

I never furthered my education. But I can see where it would be hard to make the change. I have worked since I was 16, and I went to a vocational school and here I am. I've had on the job training, and workshops through my employer, and I've learned more diverse things than I would have studying one course. I never would have thought I'd like marketing, but I love it now that I'm doing it.

It's taken me about 10 jobs to find the one I LOVE, and the company I LOVE. Nobody else I know feels that way about their job. I think if you find it, hold on to it!

And you and R are lucky to have each other! It sounds like your both very supportive of each other's dreams. That's awesome!

At 2:07 PM, Blogger kaliblue 's valuable input...

I don't have children. When I married my hubb-z (almost 17 yrs ago) he was just finishing his degree in the Electronics Field. I went to school, but dropped out due to bad school (long story). We moved from Bama to Memphis because the Company he was working for was going belly up. I was working odd jobs anyways, but we left some family. Yes I know get to a point already.. *LOL*. What I'm trying to say in a bunch of mumble is Live one Day at a time. Finish school, tell R ok it's your turn now. And if a baby comes in play while he's in school, then count it as a beautiful blessing. :-). The one thing hubb-z & I agreed before we got married was, DO what makes you happy. If working at McDonald's flipping burgers for minimum wage is it then give it your all. Money doesn't make you happy. Love and the strength of a wonderful spouse and family does. Remember to always Live, Laugh and Love..
Have A Great Weekend!!!

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Celina 's valuable input...

Zombie: I SO feel like I could stay in school "forever," but that would just be me avoiding REAL LIFE! And, R does enjoy working with computers, but he doesn't like to do it when it feels like WORK (like if a friend asks him to fix something, he'll hem & haw over it for days/weeks/months). But, he does have MANY ideas of what he wants to get into, and he can have all the time he wants to figure it out!

Gramma: He's thought about online classes, but what he wants to do is much more Hand's On & I think he'd be happier (and better suited) to GOING to a school.

Mon: Thanks for your input. College was never a question for me, I just KNEW I was going. It's the "getting out" part that I'm having problems with! :) And, Yes, we do try to support each other, although it sure does get tough sometimes!

Kali: We do try to live like that, that's why we've taken so many "vacations" in the past couple of years! Who knows what will happen next year (will I have a job?) Or 5 years from now (Will we have a kid?)

Thanks y'all for your comments!!

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Aunt Judy 's valuable input...

OK...I just HAVE to give you my two cents worth here. Upon my return to New Orleans I took a job as an apartment leasing agent. Two weeks after taking that job I got a call from a very large hotel to interview for a position as a Director of Sales at a salary in the high 50's. I didn't even go to an interview for that job. All the kids that work at the property that I worked at questioned my sanity! That much money and I didn't even WANT to try for it?!?!?!? They all thought I was nuts.

Point? I was tired of working to make money. I wanted to be HAPPY at what I was doing. NOW? I'm an assistant manager at a different apartment complex and still loving what I do, even though I make CONSIDERABLY less money than I would as a DOS for a hotel!

Still.....ALWAYS, ALWAYS go for happy and not money! Money will follow IF you're happy!


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