Friday, March 10, 2017

It's Never Too Late

I've had a lot of people ask me why I waited so long to go to college, well I figured it was time to share that story.

Most high school students have the desire to attend college right after graduation but there are those that simply feel burnt out from the school. 

I graduated high school at 17 and already had a full-time job. I made the promise to my parents to go to college (well to at least attempt it) and I was determined to keep that promise. I enrolled in classes and began a hellish schedule. I worked Mon-Fri 7am-5pm and attended class from 6pm-11:30pm every night. I was okay for the first few months until I realized that I was spreading myself too thin. I wasn't willing to give up my full-time job because at that point I was living with my sister and had bills of my own to pay.

I ultimately made the decision to drop out of college, let me tell you that was the most difficult decision I ever had to make but I knew it was best for me. I had feelings of guilt because I thought I was letting my parents down but all they wanted was for me to be happy. I put any idea of going back to school in the far back of my mind and continued on my working path. When Kyle and I got married I had an amazing job but opted to not transfer and settled into married life.

After a while I started to feel like I was missing something. Most of our friends had college degrees and while they never made me feel less than them I always felt like I missed out. Not so much of the college experience but the educational aspects. In 2013, Kyle came to me and told me that he was finally eligible to transfer his Post 9/11 GI Bill to me. It is an entitlement afforded to service members (they can transfer to a spouse or children) that pays for 36 months of schooling. Cue the guilt, I knew it meant an additional 4 years of service. He assured me that even if he didn't transfer the benefits he was staying in the Army. 

I bit the bullet and started school that fall. I am grateful that I waited. Looking back I realized that I just wasn't ready at 18 years old, I didn't have the drive and determination to continue school at that point. You know what?! That's ok! I didn't appreciate the process then, I didn't appreciate the work that the professors were putting in to educate me, and I didn't appreciate my time being taken up by something I wasn't happy with.

Too often I see parents forcing their kids to go to college just because that is the natural progression. Yes, we will encourage E to go but if she comes to us and says it's not for her, that's okay too. Some just aren't ready and honestly some may never be ready. It's important to encourage kids and let them choose the path they want, whatever that may be. I am so glad I waited because I proved to myself that age doesn't matter, I may have been 28 years old when I went back but all that matters is that I did and I did it on my terms.

It's never too late and you are never too old to achieve the things you want to.



25 comments:

  1. Student loans combined with the fact that some majors produce no jobs is a horrible combo

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  2. That's great that he could transfer those benefits to you! I totally agree with you that college, especially right after high school, is not for everyone. It seems like in society today that is just the expected progression, but everyone is different! It was right for me, but not for my brother! I think it's so great that you went back when you were really ready, and how much hard work you did!! What an awesome example for E too!

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  3. I really wish I would have waited. At 18, I was not mature enough to make the decision about what I wanted to do with my life. Now I'm paying for it (literally), all because of a degree I'll never use because I felt like I had to go to college. If we ever have kids, I will definitely not make them feel like college is the only way.

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  4. I worked as much as I could in high school, and once I graduated I was working full-time, and living on my own. I always wished I had had the traditional experience, but most of my friends went to local college, so I was still able to be a part of the fun stuff. I did get my AA but was working the entire time. Then the market crashed, and most of my friends with new degrees, and loads of debt and no work experience, couldn't find a job (Jason included in this). I thought I'd get my BA once we got married, but then as you know Jason got into law school and we let that take precedence, and that's okay. If I had gone back then, I wouldn't have started my blog, made the connections I have, and turned it into the side biz it is now. I still want to go back to school, and think sometimes going back as an adult is better because you're def more focused than at 18-21/22 anyways. (did you expect such a long comment?!)

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  5. Such a good story! Thanks for sharing. I taught high school juniors for a while, and everybody has a different path they should take immediately after high school. I strongly believe that you don't HAVE to start college right away! Working is a wonderful options for a million reasons. I also think joining the military is an incredible option right after high school. Great post, friend!

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  6. So true.There's nothing wrong with taking time off after high school to figure out what you want in life. College is ALWAYS available no matter what age you are. I had colleagues between the ages of 40-60 in law school with me.

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    1. That is awesome!!! :) Never too old to chase a dream.

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  7. Kudos for you to knowing right after high school that college wasn't for you and for being determined to go back! That GI bill is awesome my friend is using it too! Congrats on almost finishing!

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  8. So true! Not everyone is ready for college or needs it. So glad you got to go back and that you got the benefit of Kyle's service!

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  9. I love that you shared your story. I am so glad that you got to go to school when it was right for you. The GI Bill made it an even better time to go back to school, if you ask me! Nick enlisted in the military when he was 17 because he knew college wasn't going to happen for him. He didn't know what he wanted to do, but he knew the military would give him opportunities. A few years later he was accepted into a program where the military sent him to college and commissioned him as an officer. College right away - or at all - is definitely not for everyone. I really hope that I can give my children options and encouragement for whatever they want to do.

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  10. Good for you, going back is hard! I constantly toy with the idea of grad school, but it's a big and hard decision to go back after you've been on a break.

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  11. I sometimes wish I hadn't gone straight to college, because I wasted ALL of my federal scholarships and grants on a degree I wanted to do nothing with. I just don't think at 18 I was ready to decide what I wanted to do with my life forever! And same with Andy. I think if we have kids we will probably encourage them to join the military or work full-time and decide what they want to do.

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  12. Steve and I picked the dumbest majors and I sincerely regret going right out of high school. We plan to give our kids the option of a trade school, military, or straight to work. They can decide for themselves if college is necessary and then they will have the means to fund it! (Of course we would help- don't wanna sound like a grumpy witch about it. But I will not be sending my kids straight off to college after they graduate high school.)

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  13. I too went to college right after high school and only went for one semester, never going back. Sometimes I think about going back but I really don't want too. At this point, with my kids busy schedules and our lives always changing, I'm not ready. And that's ok!

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    1. I think it's great that you know that about yourself!

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  14. So true! I might return to college at some point. I remember when I went, there was an 80 year old woman in my class. So you're so right: it's never too late!

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    1. I think it would be awesome if you did! :)

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  15. I agree with you. I did not get as much out of my education at 18 and 19 as I did at 30. In that aspect, I'm glad things went the way they did. Congrats on getting this school thing started and ended (soon). Big feat with a baby too!

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  16. This is such a great perspective for college! Not everybody is ready to go to college or can go to college right after high school, but that doesn't mean that the opportunity won't present itself later on down the road!

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  17. It's never too late indeed! And you're absolutely right. In hindsight, I would have loved to have gone to college a little later in life but simply put, it wasn't really an option for me. I wanted to take a year off to go travelling but my parents said no - go to school. And well, since they were paying for my school... Blame it on the Asian parents!! ;) You totally rock for having kept that promise to your parents and congratulations for being almost done with a Master's no less!!

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  18. So great that you went back and now are almost done with grad school! Everyone definitely has to take their own path, glad you found yours :)

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  19. Oh boy I'm late to the game!! Congrats, Jenn! You've worked so hard and I am seriously impressed with you keeping it up with a newborn! That takes serious work. And caffeine. Lol great job!

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  20. I think it's so great that things lined up so you could go to school when you were ready. I did not feel equipped to make a good choice when I was 17 and still wonder what would have happened if I'd chosen differently. But I had no other option so I picked as best I could. Degrees (even advanced ones like PhDs) don't set you up for amazing jobs automatically - I think people forget that sometimes. It's not like it used to be.

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  21. I think your path was the right one for you. Forcing a kid to go to college when they're not ready is just a bunch of heartache and debt waiting to happen. I'm so impressed by you! I still haven't found a masters program, let alone started one 😂

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Love hearing from you!! :)