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Thread: Go back to college or have a baby?

  1. #11
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    My son and his wife are going thru the same thing.
    My advise to him `there really isn't A perfect time to have a baby'
    Your window for opportunity to conceive begins to lesson as you get older.
    The opportunity to continue your education doesn't.

    His wife is only 27, has her masters and now has her eyes on her PHD. They are somewhat overachievers and everything has a timeline on a spreadsheet and needs to be perfect. My advice was an attempt to get them to lighten up and not take everything so seriously.

    I mentioned she could easily go for her PHD ten years from now. My son's eyes got really big. In that moment I had to remind him - she'd only be 37.

    But . .these two kids already think they are really old and life has half passed them by anyway.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, this sounds more like a marital problem than a career problem. You say you're on the fence about kids. You say your husband doesn't earn much. You say he wants kids soon. You say he is also planning to go back to school soon. Do you resent him? Or that he expects you to have kids, work, put him through school, etc? Think about that. Is he being realistic about having kids, going back to school, etc? Who is going to support the family?

  3. #13
    Originally Posted by RedDress
    Also, I question if thatís the direction technology is going? Especially with the advancement of artificial intelligence where we can predict peopleís behaviors based on past behaviors, etc. There are some serious privacy considerations in actually reading peopleís brains and more and more sensitivity about privacy and security, etc. With such a specific field of study, what would be your backup plan if thatís NOT the way technology goes over the next 50 years? I would also imagine that there would be high demand for the few jobs in the field.

    My recommendation would be to pursue the technology side of this with perhaps a focus on artificial intelligence. The advantages of this are:
    - you donít need as much schooling
    - you can likely stay in whatever city you are in to raise your children
    - you can get your foot in the door, gain some experience, ępauseĽ to have kids and then further your career later on, etc
    - if technology shifts (which it often does), you can more easily shift focus within another technology field

    Personally, I think you can have everything that you want if you are willing to shift your focus a tad.

    ... that would be my advice.
    Thank you, that is very sound advice and I appreciate it. I have considered studying computer science, since I could still do relevant work in BCI and VR with a computer science degree and I could get that degree without ever needing to move. Plus my employer would pay for part of the cost, if that's the route I went, as long as I kept working for them for however many years of school they paid for. It is an appealing idea, but I am more interested in the brain research side of things than the computer science side. I might still go the CS route just for the sake of having the more broadly useful degree and having an easier time obtaining it, even if it doesn't interest me as much. I could always go back to school again later if I really really want to pursue neuroscience, right?

    You make an excellent point about technology not moving in the direction I think it will, and the legal obstacles to such technology. I hadn't thought about that. It makes me think that perhaps waiting to go back to school could be a good idea for me, so I can see how this plays out over the next few years. In the meantime I can look into what I can learn on my own before going back to school.

    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Unfortunately, this sounds more like a marital problem than a career problem. You say you're on the fence about kids. You say your husband doesn't earn much. You say he wants kids soon. You say he is also planning to go back to school soon. Do you resent him? Or that he expects you to have kids, work, put him through school, etc? Think about that. Is he being realistic about having kids, going back to school, etc? Who is going to support the family?
    Wiseman, I went through my phase of feeling resentment toward my husband for this. Iím mostly over it. When we were having a different issue in our marriage I thoroughly thought about what it would be like if I left. I decided that I definitely want to stay. My husband is a good man and due to an injury on the job he was unable to continue with his original choice of career, which is why he is going back to school. He feels terrible that he canít be a better provider right now, and does what he can to earn extra money on the side.

    Fortunately the degree program he wants to do is more flexible, he could work in the morning and then go to class in the afternoon. The program was designed for people who do what he does (paraprofessional) to be able to get their degree and become teachers, the program actually requires you to keep working as a paraprofessional while you are completing your degree. I am the primary breadwinner now, Iíve been the primary breadwinner for most of our relationship. I donít like it, but I accept it. Iíd rather have him at my side than divorce him and hope to find a man who makes more money and treats me as good as my husband does.

  4. #14
    Originally Posted by Batya33
    So I would do both. Youíll figure out the stability piece. I have a friend in her 30s. She has a teenager a 5 year old and a 2 year old. 5 year old has severe autism. She was in her 20s when she had her middle son. Younger son is great. Anyway she works full time and goes to law school part time. Her husband is a stay at home dad and she commutes an hour each way. She does this and itís a crazy schedule but Iíve heard of many examples of parents who do this.
    I did my schooling and career first - had my child when we were 42 - heís 10 and heís great. Meanwhile during my pregnancy my husband and I had a commuter marriage and then I moved to his city where I knew no one and had no family when our son was 6 months old. Meanwhile my husband had started a new job and then started a third grad degree.

    You know what thatís called? Typical life and typical parenting. I do agree there are better times of life to have a baby than others and on the other hand overthinking leads to missed opportunities.
    Batya, thank you. I overthink things so much, it's the worst! I really appreciate the reminder that people can and do manage to have kids and go to school all the time, even under difficult circumstances.

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  6. #15
    Gold Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Listen to your gut and logic.

    If you can't have everything when you want it, you'll have to make adjustments and sacrifices such as choosing education / career which doesn't require the upheavals of moving and won't pass your childbearing age. Something has to give.

    Or, you can do everything such as education and have a baby simultaneously. My friend did it. She had 2 small children, a newborn infant while pursuing her Ph.D and graduated with honors. She was tough as nails. Granted, it's incredibly difficult and taxing, however, if you can tough it out, you can do it.

    Your compromise of having the baby now and going back to school later is possible. Millions of mothers do it. If you're determined to envision your education and career goals, you won't allow life to get in the way of your hopes and dreams.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I think there's a notion, far more potent today than a generation or two ago, where you have a child only once everything is "figured out." You figure out the job stuff, you figure out what your deep passion is and realize it, you save x amount of money and travel to y destinations, you figure out yourself, thoroughly, and thenóexhaleóyou're ready to bring a child into the world. Almost as if you have to be retiredóor on a laser-sighted path toward retirementóbefore becoming a parent.

    It all becomes binary, pressurized, and, for many, a recipe for the same sort of paralysis that makes people scared to commit to a job for a year because they worry it will derail them from the zillion other jobs they could do instead.

    What I can't help but see in you is someone who is frozen by trying to "figure it out," hyperventilating while looking for the reason to exhale, rather than accepting that figuring it out is all you're going to ever be doingómaybe with a child, maybe not, your call. If you can exhale a bit into that truthóthat ambiguity is always going to be competing with certainty, that the search for answers is ongoingóI think you might find the answer surfaces more organically.

    Having a child is a big decision, of course, but as others have said it hardly means you can't go to school, change careers, move, whatever. I don't have children, but if there's anything I've seen from watching my friends have them it's that what they represent is basically...having a child. A huge part of their life, but not their whole lifeónot an answer, not a thing that was "figured out," but just a new, wonderful, challenging addition to the search that is living. Some had kids and their lives became more focused on that in a traditional sense: one home, one job, little change. Others had kids and went to school, moved, changed careers, etc. Subtract the kids from that equation and I think it would be more or less the sameólives constructed from different characters and temperaments rather than expanded or contracted because of children.

    Think of it this way. Let's say, hypothetically, that you put having a kid on hold, got the exact degree you want at this exact second, found the kind of employment that, right now, sounds like an answer. Well, along the way so many variables that are inevitably going to shift that the answer will be different. What you thought would get you jazzed in school would turn out to be kind of boring, but another thing, that you thought would be boring or didn't see coming, would get you jazzed. And the focus shifts a bit, the compass finds a slightly different Due North. Technology moves so fast, as another poster said, that by the time you're ready to enter the filed you're seeing now it has changed shape, and you'll be forced to adapt.

    Point being, I think there is a lot to be said for listening to our gut and just doing the thing that screams the loudest. When we do that the compromises don't feel like compromises so much as small course corrections that get us better acquainted with the mysterious truth that is ourself, and we become more adaptable and more tuned to ourselves because we've experienced things that are real, rather than dissecting them to a halt through rumination.

  8. #17
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    Originally Posted by Cyberpunk
    Plus my employer would pay for part of the cost, if that's the route I went, as long as I kept working for them for however many years of school they paid for. It is an appealing idea, but I am more interested in the brain research side of things than the computer science side. I might still go the CS route just for the sake of having the more broadly useful degree and having an easier time obtaining it, even if it doesn't interest me as much. I could always go back to school again later if I really really want to pursue neuroscience, right?
    This is a dream!

    I think you should go to see an academic advisor. With CS, you have to take all the calculus classes, etc and I believe some of the biology classes are available as optional credits. Perhaps there is a way to do a double-major bachelor degree. Or at least a way to set yourself up nicely for the next steps.

    IMO, this is ideal because you will have a degree that you can use while also taking some time to have a family.

    Also - this is just my opinion, but I find people are more well-rounded when they have experience before they get their masterís. They are better able to apply their knowledge to real-world applications as opposed to a more academic or theoretical approach.

    Anyways, thatís what I would do in your shoes...

  9. #18
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    As a 35+ woman, I think if you want a baby, have a baby. Because what if you decide at 35 "i am ready to have a baby" and you have fertility issues? It can happen. When you get out of school, you will want to start working in your field right away and you won't do that if you have a baby because you will push it off. Why not do both? Explore what part of your degree you can do at home and do those classes when the baby is very young (i know some colleges for some majors have a few courses that you can take online and do a combo of class and online. i know a teacher who was able to take electives not in her area of teaching remotely and do class work for others) or if you can go part time for part of it if you needed to go light a semester or two. Plow through your classes leading up to actually getting pregnant, go light the semester the baby is due, etc.

    If you wait until 35, you may not get the siblings you want the child to have, etc, as well.

    If there are any issues - you will be able to address them and won't be under the gun if they are addressed in the next year or two vs waiting.
    I am not saying you can't start your family at 35, but if there are any hiccups - male infertility, miscarriages, blocked tubes, you have less time to work it all out

  10. #19
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cyberpunk
    Being indecisive has been a problem my whole life, ... What I am interested in right now is studying neuroscience or neurobiology for the purpose of improving brain computer interface and VR technology. But I do still have the fear that this is just another one of my passing fancies,
    So then before you make any life changing decisions, get your feet wet by completing all of your General Education Requirements, which apply toward ANY degree. If you fare well with that, take some of the prerequisite courses that will teach you whether or not you're cut out for the larger program of study.

    Getting good grades in the prerequisites can teach you not only whether you'd be up for the challenge of the program, but whether it's how you'll want to invest your time over the next few years. If not, nothing is lost, really. You can apply those credits toward a more suitable degree.

  11. #20
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    OK a few sessions with a marriage counselor may help to get some the logistics organized. And set up a few sessions with a financial planner for third party objective advice on how to navigate all this.

    For example, who will stay home with kids? Who will pay for child care? Who will work full time? Who will go back to school and for how long? Who and how will that be financed? How much student debt can you afford? Can you afford student debt and children? Can both of you go back to school and rack up debt and not work full time? Can you both do this while taking care of and paying for kids?

    When you talk to a financial planner and a marriage counselor, perhaps some of the feasibility of what your husband wants will come to light. There is no point worrying about moving, Masters degrees, kids, etc if none of it is feasible.

    Decide what you can do with what you have and take it from there. Make sure your husband's goal of going back to school/working part-time and having kids simultaneously works. If it works it means no school or part-time work for you. Unless you can work full time, get 2 degrees full time and be a full time parent.
    Originally Posted by Cyberpunk
    I am the primary breadwinner now, Iíve been the primary breadwinner for most of our relationship. I donít like it, but I accept it.

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