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Thread: Go back to college or have a baby?

  1. #1

    Go back to college or have a baby?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place, since it deals with both careers and parenting I didn't think it fit into either of those subforums.

    I need some serious advice right now, and Iím hoping that you all can help. I am at a crossroads in my life and Iím not sure which way to go, it seems to me that both ways will cause the other path to close.

    First, I should say that I have been trying for the past decade or so to figure out what to go back to college to study. Iíve tried on a few ideas and discarded them quickly. But now I feel like I have identified something that I feel passionate about and could build a lucrative and rewarding career with. It feels like Iíve finally found the answer Iíve been seeking. Perfect, right? No, because the timing is awful. One year ago, my husband and I started to try to have a baby. About two months later, I had my epiphany about being back to school. Iíve ended up switching back and forth every month between being off the pill and on the pill because I am so conflicted about it. Currently I am on the pill.
    I feel like having a baby is something we should do ASAP if we are going to have one, because we are both 29 years old. I have a steady job with good health insurance, my husband has a steady job (although he is also planning to go back to school soon), and soon we might be able to move into a really nice place to live that is closer to work for both of us. My current job isnít something I can see myself doing more than a few years, but there are other opportunities for growth within the company and they are constantly being recognized as one of the best employers in the city.

    But if I go back to school I will have to get, at minimum, a masterís degree to do the sort of work I want to do. Currently I just have an associateís degree in something unrelated. There isnít a college in my city that offers the degree program that I would need to study, so we would have to move. After I graduate we will probably have to move cross-country for me to find work, because the main areas for the industry Iím interested in are not near where we live now. By the time I finish my bachelorís and masterís degrees and find a job somewhere, Iíll probably be 36/37-ish. Too old to have a baby. (I know it technically isnít too old, but I donít want to take the risk of having a baby after the age of 35. Autism seems to run on both sides of the family and being an older mom can increase the odds of that and other problems.)

    We have an opportunity to finally have some stability in our lives, and this is probably the best time we will have to have a baby. If I go back to school we will have to move and ruin any chance of stability for the next several years. We are both fatigued from moving around so much in the past few years and having constant upheaval in our lives. Should I put my dream on the back burner or should I go for it regardless? I worry that if we have a baby now I will never get the chance to go back to school, at least not for what I want to study, and Iíll end up feeling bitter about it. But I worry that if I go back to school Iíll regret not having a baby.

    For what itís worth, Iíve tried thinking about my life both ways to see if that would help me decide. It didnít. My feelings on which way seems better change daily.

    What on earth should I do?

    TLDR; I feel like, with my age (29), I can either choose to go back to college or have a baby. I canít see a way to do both. How do I decide?

  2. #2
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    Why couldn't you be done with your degree by 33-34? You could take a heavier credit load, and I would assume that some of the credits from you Associates would carry over. Did you speak to an adviser?

    I think that you are already talking yourself out of not returning to school. I hope that you do not regret your decision some day.

    Honestly, I do not know why you cannot do both. Many women do.

  3. #3
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    Finish bachelors degree - 2 years.
    Masters degree - 2 more years.
    Find a job - 6 months to one year.

    I'm not getting 36-37, but more like 33-34. Which is well within the range and statistics for a healthy child.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member figureitout23's Avatar
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    This isnít a life long dream, like you said youíve bounced around with different ideas for years, this could potentially be the new flavor of the month.

    Iím not trying to be rude Iím getting a strong vibe you bounce around a lot one day youíre on birth control the next youíre not one day you want this career who knows what next year will bring.

    I donít think you should make any decisions until you get to the bottom of your well... flightiness...

    I also agree with your timeline being off which makes me suspect you maybe want people to tell you not to pursue this?

    Can you expand some more?

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member maew's Avatar
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    Go back to college or have a baby?

    OP have you ever posted this under a different account? This is eerily similar to one I saw 6 months to a year ago.

    With decisions like this there is only so much advice and circling around in your head you can do before you start going insane.

    OP our hearts are the true guides of what we want, only you know whatís right for you. When you look inside your heart what do you see and feel? It might be scary to acknowledge it but you need to start there if you want to move forward in making a decision.

  7. #6
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    Why are these the only choices?

    You can decide to do neither.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    I can say what I did. Like you, I had my Associate degree before having children. I then had children, and then went back to college for a Bachelor's when my children were 2 and 6--not easy, but I got it done. I then began a high paying career, versus the low paying career I had with just an associate's. I liked how it worked out for me, that I didn't have to take a break in my high paying career. (I liked to stay home during the first few years of my children's lives, and didn't have anymore children after I began that career)

    Yes, there's a limit to childbearing years, but no limit in age to a higher education. My aunt went to school in her late forties to enter into a nursing career.

    But like others have said, each person has to choose their own path, no matter what worked for anyone else.

  9. #8
    Thank you for your responses. I will try to elaborate a bit more to clear things up, sorry if I left some stuff out but I was trying to keep my post from being even longer than it was. And no, maew, I haven't posted this question before. I might have to find the one you mentioned, though, maybe it will help me!

    Being indecisive has been a problem my whole life, so I think you make some very good points figureitout23. Sometimes I wonder if this is truly the answer I've been seeking, or just another "flavor of the month". That is part of my problem. 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, even though it feels so much more right for me than most previous career ideas have. I want a career that will challenge me, interest me, and allow me to feel like I am making a difference. I donít want to just be a wage slave.

    My timeline might be off, and if it is I will be relieved. I have not spoken to an academic advisor yet. I figured that most of the credits from an Associate of Arts would not transfer over to a degree in neuroscience, maybe some would but I wouldnít expect very many to. So I figured I would have to go four years for my bachelorís degree, and then two years afterward for my masterís degree. I will have to continue working full-time while I go to school because my husbandís job is steady but he doesnít make very much money and I honestly donít know if I could manage 15 or 18 credit hours while still working 40 hours a week. If we have to move for me to go to school, Iíll have to quit my job and find something that will work with my school schedule, so my income will most likely go down. So weíd have less money and less of a support network around to help us if I tried going to school while raising a baby. The soonest Iíd start college would be Fall 2020 so I added six years to that to reach my estimate of being 36 when I finish.

    If anything, I am using the excuse of going back to school to delay having to commit to having kids. Iíve been very on the fence about having kids for years. My husband would really like them, but he is okay with it if we donít have them. He says the decision is up to me. My heart says to have kids. My gut and my logic say not to. I feel so afraid whenever we try to conceive, I feel like weíre doing the wrong thing. But when I say to myself that we just wonít have kids, I feel this strange sense of longing and sadness, like that is not what I really want. No matter what I try to decide, it feels wrong.

    The best thing I can think of, the best compromise, would be for us to have a baby now and I wait to go back to school until my husband finishes his degree. Very similar to what you said, Andrina. I just worry that life will get in the way and I wonít go back if I put it off that long.

  10. #9
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    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.

  11. #10
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    My 2 cents... what I would do in your shoes...

    ęWhat I am interested in right now is studying neuroscience or neurobiology for the purpose of improving brain computer interface and VR technology. ę

    Thatís very specific. There are two sides to what you are talking about. The neuroscience side and the technology side. 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.

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