Why I Won't Be Pushing University On My Kids {Life}

There are a number of things that keep me awake at night.  Whether it's money problems, work and family conflicts, or parenting issues, once I wake up enough for the wheels in my mind to start moving-I'm up for the rest of the day.  These 3 am wake ups wear on me and leave me thinking, What would I do differently if I could rewind 15 years?  For fear of this post sounding like a chance to be a cry-baby. Hear me out.  I'm a realist, but not a pessimist.  Even though the harsh reality of my past decisions has some negative effect on my life today, I don't sit at home and have a pity party for one.

Number 1-  Choose a trade and go to college or be an apprentice.  
In other words, skip University and take longer to figure out what the heck you want to do in life.  If you plan on being a doctor, nurse or other professional, please by all means go to university and don't take shortcuts.  If you don't have a clear goal, University is NOT the place to figure out your life. You'll end up like me.  Nearly 40 and a little bitter that my Bachelor's Degree  has gotten me no further ahead than the friends that went right to work after high school and skipped the huge loan debts.  Actually, those friends are better off than me.  Their income tax returns go towards vacations, and they have nice cars and homes.  I have none of the above.

In 2007 I started college courses to work towards becoming an Early Childhood Educator.  It would be a 2 year, $6000 diploma program that can now get you a entry level job starting from $18/hr in a child care-to $25/hr in the school board.  Since I'm trying to do it debt-free and continue working, I'm still about 5 credit courses away from graduating.  I would love to max out my VISA to be a full-time student, but know I would regret it in the long run.

Number 2- Have kids sooner, not later.
I went to University with high hopes of improving my standard of living.  Four years later I was a married graduate with a combined debt that left us with student loan payments equivalent to a mortgage.  Neither one of us could face the thought of incurring more debt to obtain the Master's degrees we wanted/needed to be teacher's.  The fear of not being able to cover our own monthly costs also led us to putting off our dreams for a family.  At first, children were part of our 5 year plan.  Five years went in a blink and that dream got pushed off indefinitely.  Four years ago I had a medical scare that left us wondering if we would ever have children.  We now have a happy little 3 year old we call Princess Destructo.  I now ask myself- Why did we wait so long?  Money is just as tight as it would have been after University, but we would have had the joy of parenting that much sooner.  Now I'm reaching the point where I won't be able to give her siblings because we waited too long to start our family.

A message to my 20 year old self- Don't burn your bridges.
In my 20's I took pride in the ability to walk away from people and situations that caused me grief.  At 25, it seemed like a sign of strength and independence.  At 37, I realize that I have fewer friends in my phone list and shallow ties to family members and colleagues.  With a decade to look back over the "issues" that had me walking or running away, some of them could have been hashed out with maturity and communication.  Both of which my 25 year old self lacked.  Instead of looking independent and strong, I probably left people with the impression that I was intolerant and unable to compromise for the sake of saving a relationship.  My own social game has been played back on me because friends have cut ties with me in the last two years and it HURTS.  I've often debated the difference between confidence and arrogance.  For me- confidence inspires you to be a better version of yourself, arrogance leads you to believe you already are that fabulous person that can do everything without aid or support of those that love and care about you.  What has this got to do with sending my kids to University?  I built many shallow bridges in the four years there and probably could have spent less time socializing and more time working (as an alternative to incurring huge debts).  

Do you ever have words of wisdom for your 20 year old self?

Disclosure:  This is not a compensated post.  All opinions remain honest and my own.


Anonymous said…
I will be 37 in December and we are going through our fifth and final IVF cycle to bring my 1 1/2 year old little girl a sibling. I too was like you in my 20's. My phone list is short. I am grateful for the ones I do have. I would tell myself back then to work less, party less and be more real and true to yourself. I should have had better influences in my life. I am grateful for grace and for my best friend who I was blessed enough to marry!
Thanks for sharing your story with me and for reading my blog. It is good to focus on our blessings when regrets knock on the door.
Lee-Ann said…
The first 2 I totally did; went to college for a job to get by and had my kids. #3 I'm struggling with. I think it will only work if you have a person on the other end you can hash it out with. If you don't I'm not sure how well it would work.

I totally see myself telling my kids to go to college. I don't think any of them will have the drive to be a Dr or know so soon what they want to be and I agree University isn't the place for that. For me, I'm thinking of going back to University for something totally different than what I do now and I think that is totally ok and kind of cool. :)

Great post!
It's true, sometimes you just have to walk away from people or situations that just won't work out no matter how hard you try. I guess I was more regretting the times I've walked away without even trying to work out the conflicts, both personally and in the work place.

I'm on my second career and thinking of my third. Never too old to change directions and attend University/college to achieve your goals.

Thanks for stopping by, Amy

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