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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
SouthernBelle. Offline
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Question Don't know what to do? - July 23rd 2013, 03:36 AM

Hi, all!

I don't know what to do with my life.

On Saturday I applied for a job with the local library, as a teen coordinator and an assistant. I'd make a little over minimum wage, and could work toward a car and an eventual house on the family farm. With this life course, I'd like to be married in a few years, be a writer, and have children.

I don't know if I'll be fulfilled in this manner. I'd love to be a lawyer, but it takes years of study and debt that I simply cannot pay for. I'd have to put off being married and having children longer than I'd like, and it kills me to think of that. On top of that, because my mother home-schooled me and was unable to teach me my second course of French, most schools wouldn't take me even if I wanted to go.

I've tried making a pros/cons list. I keep slamming into a brick wall: The choice between being a mother and wife, and being a lawyer. I don't want to look back and say to my children: "Yes, I could've been a lawyer!" But at the same time, I don't want to be deep in debt and either have to work to pay that debt off or be thrown in jail. Besides, I'm not even sure that I want to be a lawyer. I do know that I want to be married and have children, for certain.

I'm torn between my desire for social prominence and my love for my family, both future and present. There is no middle ground, because in either scenario, I must be fully dedicated to the future I've chosen. I refuse to leave my future children behind during the day to work, to pay off a debt which I unwittingly accumulated before they were even born. At the same time I'm afraid of spending my entire life within fifty miles of where I was born. I'd like to travel to Japan, Korea, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and the United Kingdom before I die. I'd like to gain some measure of fame.

The only thing that remains a constant is that I'd like to be a writer, but I can't make a living that way. I'm good at writing, I'm good at speaking, I'm good at arguing, and I'm intelligent. I'd hate to waste all of that. I think that if I could be healthy, write books, find something new to learn every day, have a nice house, be close to my family, be married, and have children, I'd feel absolutely fulfilled in my life.

But I don't know what to do. I... People keep telling me that I'll never know what life is about. People keep telling me to go for my dreams, but my ultimate dream is to travel, be married, and write books. For some reason, people equate going to college with success. I'm afraid to disappoint those people.

It's not that I don't know what I want to do, it's that I don't know what others want me to do. I've gained a reputation in my family for being very intelligent, and everyone expects me to do something amazing. I don't see any point in being rich and powerful, if I can't have my family around me. This doesn't just apply to my parents, either: It applies to my extended family. I'm eternally fighting against myself.

And the same thing goes for religion, but I'm not getting into that in this post. If anyone unbiased feels like talking to a very religiously confused person, PM me. I could use that advice, too.


Anyway. Someone please advise me on the best path to choose. Should I choose to bear up the expectations of my family, friends, and society? Or should I choose a quiet and happy life which fulfills me alone?


Anna's Personal Keys to Happiness
1. Do what you want within the bounds of reason, whenever you want to, and regret nothing. 2. If you have an opinion, don't beat around the bush, or there isn't a point in saying it. 3. Don't keep the company of anyone who won't like you and will try to change you.



   
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Re: Don't know what to do? - July 23rd 2013, 05:25 AM

I would consider getting at least an associate degree if you live in the United States. With the teen job, would you have a job after you graduate high school? I kind of doubt that they would expect you to work there long-term. I also do not think it would pay enough to pay off a mortgage. It may be fine while you are living with your parents, but eventually you will have to find a job that pays more.

Also, a lot of places require librarians to have at least a bachelors degree if not a masters in something related to library. I forget, but my sister is working on that and she works in one of the top library systems in our country.

Nursing is fairly flexible but you may not be able to get a job where you live. It is tough for new grads to get a job.

What about teaching? You may have to move still though.

I know you say that you do not want to leave your hypothetical family to work off a debt, but what happens if something happens to the other person who may be making the majority of the money? What if he dies? What if he decides to leave? What if he becomes severely injured and no longer able to work?

I would postpone having children till you have a skill set of your own that you can fall back on. The worse thing that can happen is try to raise a family while going to school for a career with no one else because that person died. My father died when I was young and my mom stayed home most of the time. She suddenly had to get a degree in accounting while managing to take care of three young children. It is not easy. Even if it is something like working per diem like you work a few shifts each month or you work every third weekend and pick up shifts occasionally.
   
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Re: Don't know what to do? - July 23rd 2013, 12:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarasa View Post
I would consider getting at least an associate degree if you live in the United States. With the teen job, would you have a job after you graduate high school? I kind of doubt that they would expect you to work there long-term. I also do not think it would pay enough to pay off a mortgage. It may be fine while you are living with your parents, but eventually you will have to find a job that pays more.

Also, a lot of places require librarians to have at least a bachelors degree if not a masters in something related to library. I forget, but my sister is working on that and she works in one of the top library systems in our country.

Nursing is fairly flexible but you may not be able to get a job where you live. It is tough for new grads to get a job.

What about teaching? You may have to move still though.

I know you say that you do not want to leave your hypothetical family to work off a debt, but what happens if something happens to the other person who may be making the majority of the money? What if he dies? What if he decides to leave? What if he becomes severely injured and no longer able to work?

I would postpone having children till you have a skill set of your own that you can fall back on. The worse thing that can happen is try to raise a family while going to school for a career with no one else because that person died. My father died when I was young and my mom stayed home most of the time. She suddenly had to get a degree in accounting while managing to take care of three young children. It is not easy. Even if it is something like working per dime like you work a few shifts each month or you work every third weekend and pick up shifts occasionally.
I won't be living with my parents. They have a huge farm, and they've said that I could have a plot for a house, a garden, and any livestock I'd like to manage (though I'm considering vegetarianism, so that last point is meaningless ). The library has told me that I will not only be encouraged but that I will be expected to work there long-term if I accept the job. This job doesn't require a librarian's degree, otherwise the staff there wouldn't have been so adamant about my applying for the job. By the way, I've already graduated, and I graduated early at that. It's not for lack of good sense that I'm considering this decision.

And all of those scenarios are what my family is for. In that scenario, they would never abandon me. My mother and I have already discussed this at length, and she has agreed that if circumstances turn rough, she would be willing to babysit my hypothetical children while I go to school to find a better job. If she is - God forbid it - dead at a time when I need her, I have numerous cousins who would not hesitate to assist me. Not out of charity, but out of love. That's the way we Appalachian families tend to be.

Consider this: The average college graduate makes roughly $1.1 million more than what a non-college graduate makes in the United States. However, with interest rates on college loans rising rapidly (especially for private schools), the projected debt would be so immense as almost to reach that number. What's more, I'd spend more years working toward retirement (due to fewer years in the workplace), paying a good portion of my "extra" salary back to a bank. This would also delay my dreams of having children - which is an honorable course to be chosen, if the person in question is suited for the job, which I am.

So, yes: I could be a lawyer, but I'd have to move away from here to do it. That would require me taking out loans to go to school, then to buy a home after I graduated, and finally to buy a car. A lawyer makes a good salary, but compared to the loans of six or seven years of study, it's impossible to live a lavish lifestyle - or even a normal one - until later in life.

And, a teacher? No, thank you. I've met more unintelligent teachers than I could count on one hand. Not to say that it isn't dignified for those who are actually good at it, but I would not personally choose to be a teacher just because I'd earn a higher salary. Accounting also would not secure me a position in the region I'd like to reside in in the future. There are few job opportunities, but most of them require no education, unless you are an educator or involved in government, and you can't get a job in either of those unless you know someone who is already inside the clique my county has formed, and are willing to do another's bidding without question, even if that bidding is killing people. Literally.

You do not understand the question. I'm not asking what course I should pursue in college. I'm intelligent, but I have no passion for college, which is in my mind being shoved in a desk to extend adolescence for a few more years, for no reason other than to increase the national and personal debt. What I am asking is this: Which would be the more moral choice? To go after something I know I don't truly want (i.e., a college education), or to go after my dreams of being a housewife and author, to please those around me?


Anna's Personal Keys to Happiness
1. Do what you want within the bounds of reason, whenever you want to, and regret nothing. 2. If you have an opinion, don't beat around the bush, or there isn't a point in saying it. 3. Don't keep the company of anyone who won't like you and will try to change you.



   
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Re: Don't know what to do? - July 23rd 2013, 02:38 PM

Hey there,

You are the only one that is going to be living your life, therefore you should choose a life that you want. I think if you want to pursue writing and a family, that's something you should do. It might be difficult and it might be hard to do, but as long as you're doing something you're passionate about, that's the thing that matters.

I think it might be a good idea to think about your options as well. You're kind of interested in being a lawyer, so maybe look into it a little more. I'm not saying you have too, but if it's kept your interests this long, look into it a little longer and see what you think. If it's not something you enjoy, you will regret it later on, you'll regret spending the time to do something you don't like. Do what you want to do with your life, not what others want of you.

Making a living as a writer is very hard to do, it might also help to talk to other writers, or read online about the line of work as well.

I hope this helps a bit. Good luck!


"You'll have to decide for yourself. Walk on your own. Move forward. You've got a strong pair of legs, Rose. You should get up and use them."
   
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Re: Don't know what to do? - July 24th 2013, 01:51 AM

I don't think that you truly understand the cost of living on your own unless the cost of living where you live is so low that making only a few dollars more on minimum wage is actually enough to raise a family on. I question what type of house you could afford on only a little bit more than minimum wage. At 10 dollars an hour, that's only 20,800 dollars a year before taxes. Taxes are about 20% of my weekly paycheck.

To be safe when calculating income, I would assume that you never make any money as a writer since it is hard to actually make money as an author. It may be cold to say, but I tell this to anyone who wants to earn money through the arts. While they may have a great story, it really takes luck to get noticed in the business whether it is acting, modeling, publishing, painting, or playing music.

Also, I guess it is a difference in cultures. I would feel guilty planning on relying on family members to watch my children should something require it. I would rather be able to pay someone to watch them. It's different if it is a emergency and I can't find someone at the last minute.

Honestly, I would say there is little point in you going to college at the moment. If you went, you would probably be unhappy and want to return home. You would waste time and energy. If you were to get into a large university, you would be taking away a spot that could have gone to someone who wanted to go to that university. If you were to receive financial aid, that aid could have gone to someone else who needs it. If your heart is not in college, then do not waste the resources that could go to other people.

I'm sure the professors would rather have someone who wants to be there in their classroom than someone who is living out someone else's dream.
   
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Re: Don't know what to do? - July 25th 2013, 09:52 PM

You keep implying that you HAVE to choose between having a successful career and being a successful mother... but so many people manage to do both! The question is whether you want to try and manage both goals at once, or meet one goal before tackling the other. For example, assuming your future husband has a decent job, the two of you could gradually set aside money for you to pursue a career later in life. As a mother, you could certainly be a writer. Once your children are older and in school, you'll have more time Monday through Friday to pursue part-time jobs in other fields of work that interest you. Heck, you could take evening classes, or online classes, or do what my dad did and steadily earn your Bachelor's degree over the course of approx. 20 years.

I am certainly not going to tell you what to do, because all of the goals you listed are admirable - I am merely suggesting that you continue to explore all the possibilities available to you. This really doesn't need to be an either/or type of situation. I already listed my father as an example, but there's also my boyfriend's mother, who went to evening classes while raising two young children after her divorce. She became a nurse after the divorce, worked full-time in a department/hospital she loved, and still managed to be a very good mother. I'm sure many people on TeenHelp have similar stories they could share. Is it easy? No - but certainly not impossible, and I don't think you should sell yourself short when it comes to things you can accomplish.





   
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