As I sat, having a conversation with my 16 year-old cousin, I was shocked to learn that there are girls her age, attending an expensive private school, that are planning to attend college for their Mrs. Degree. She explained that a lot of them planned to go into fields that would be easy to leave and return if that’s what they chose to do.
I was appalled. What year are we in? Why would you waste money on all that education when your goal was to let it go to waste?
And then, I stopped. And thought. And felt like a judgmental moron. I am always envious of my teacher friends when holiday breaks roll around. I am always wishing I could work part-time or from home when the weather is bad. I stress now (my oldest is only 3) about how I am going to handle drop-off and pick-up from school since I am not at home for either time period. I would be thrilled if I had thought ahead and chosen a major that lead me to a job that met any of those needs that I struggle with now. My family is top priority. Why wouldn’t I want my job to fit the needs of my family and not the other way around?
Do I think it’s a little risky to go to school only to find a husband? Yes. I think the main reason for seeking further education should be for yourself and your aspirations. I think going for anything else as a main priority is just going to lead to resentment down the road. But is it kind of smart to think ahead and consider what life will be like when you have a family? Definitely. I actually wish I had done that a little more. Though, the difficult part is, I thought I had. It’s hard to know what it’s like to leave those babies until you have them. It’s hard to know how much flexibility will be important and how hard the guilt and balancing act are going to be when you are 17 and 18 years old and choosing your life path.
As far as letting an education go to waste, well, I don’t think there is ever such a thing really. I think I am just envious of the choices that people have. I don’t have a choice because I (or should I say the bank) paid a lot for my education and have to work to pay off student loans. (There are many other reasons that I work but that is another post for another day). If I had the choice to stay home with the kids, I would still want that degree. It is mine and nobody can take that away from me. My education and college experience is valuable in so many respects other than my traditional employment.
So are those girls just rich snobs who have no clue about the real world? Maybe. But maybe they are on to something. I think it can be beneficial to consider that your wants and needs career wise will change once kids come along and build in some flexibility for yourself.
Amanda is an under-appreciated social worker by day and a slave to dishes and laundry at night. She loves spending time with her husband Eric, 3 year-old son Owen, and daughter Ava who is 20 months old, though she wishes she could add a couple more hours to the day. She survives on coffee and the cute things her kids say. You can find her on Twitter @Manders826.
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