Life After School

Well, I never thought I’d see the day on the near horizon.  My son is graduating high school and my daughter is leaving middle school behind.  Just as Dylan walks out the educational door after thirteen years, Allessandra enters four years of high school in preparation for college.

I think they’re both happy they’ll never be in the same school at the same time, but I’ll miss dropping one off and then the other, every morning, no matter how boring it seems sometimes.  I think what makes this so hard is that you know your kids have to go to grammar school, middle school, then high school.  But after that?  There’s no telling.

So, I’m going through the fear for my son’s future coupled with the excitement for my daughter’s new school life.  Both are scary.  I want him to discover what he wants to do with his life and I don’t want her to grow up too fast during those four years of high school.

She’ll be stepping into her teen years and preparing for college.  He’s not so sure about college and his chances of landing a decent job without college are slim.  What to do?  All we can do is guide them but there comes a time when they have to make the decision.  He’s on the fence about college.  Does he want to study for four long years, coming out the other side without the promise of a job either?

Times are so different.  I know, my age is showing.  But when I went to college there was no doubt I would claim the prize of a job on the other side.  For both of them, who knows?

And the worrying continues.  It never ends.

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Posted on March 23, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. We always worry about our children, don’t we, Patti? And it doesn’t stop, even when they’re adults and on their own. I had one boy go to college immediately after high school, then choose to do something besides his field of study. Years later, he came back to what he’d studied and now he owns his own production studio. Our other son worked for about three years before he decided to apprentice in the trades. He has a good job and is moving up in management. Sometimes, I think we worry for nothing. It all eventually works out, but as a mom, it’s so very hard to let go of your babies. 🙂

    • Thank you, Sheila. I needed your words of wisdom today. We’ve been having SUCH a rough time with him for the last year or so. We’re trying to guide him down a path so HE can choose what he wants to do but he resents us for making him do anything at all. We just want him to be happy and he sees us as the makers of his unhappiness. AACK. It is hard. But, as you said, I believe eventually everything will work out.
      Thanks again.

  2. It’s none of my business, Patti…but what about a vocation for Dylan?

    My husband works in the communications industry. His employer is a company that provides DSL, digital TV, and–of course–landlines. He makes really good money for someone with a high school education. The work is technical and does take some know-how on that end, but there is on the job training.

    Another idea is for him to get a a computer networking certification–like a Cisco certification. My husband has talked about doing that several times, so I am pretty sure Dyaln would not need traditional four-year college to do that.

    The medical field is always hiring and Dylan could try is his hand at EMT or radiology or something along those lines. Some of those programs don’t take a full four years. Also, some workplaces will pay for you to go to college if you’ll agree to work for them for X number of years following school.

    I hope I have not overstepped. I only mention all this because I did get a college degree that didn’t qualify me to do a blessed thing I wasn’t already qualified to do. It didn’t even open the opportunity for promotion. Getting the degree was a lot of hard work and expense that didn’t lead to much at all.

    People considering college should always think about what their projected goal is at the end of their education and take the necessary steps to make sure that happens.

    That got long. Sorry. 😀

    • Overstep? No way. I can’t WAIT to show him your comment, Catie, because it has more information than I’ve seen forthcoming from ANYONE at this point. I don’t know anything about the trades or about jobs without having to go to college and you have given me a ton of avenues I can show him that he may be interested in walking down. Thank you SO much. You are indeed a good friend.
      Patti

      • Oh, I’m so glad you liked my comment. 😀

        Another idea is for Dylan to check into an apprenticeship with an electrician or a plumber. Once Dylan is finished with his apprenticeship, he can make real money anywhere he goes…because every city in every town needs plumbers and electricians.

        If he’s interested in mechanic work, there are vocational schools where he can learn to work on just about anything–like Harley Davidson Motorcycles or race cars or big equipment. (Universal Technical Institute is the one I know of: http://www.uti.edu/)

        There is also money to be had in welding, which he get vocational training to learn.

        I’ll shut up now. Glad to be of help. 😀

        • What’s so funny, Catie, is that his father IS an electrician and did the whole “go to junior college and drop out” thing and then he worked for various companies, then finally found the electrician’s apprenticeship program and is making more money than he ever dreamed. You should be a career counselor. Your ideas are great.
          I’m just waiting for Dylan to get home so I can show him all this. Yippee!

  3. Awww, the heart of a mama. Patti, you epitomize what support from a parent looks like. Your glowing love of your children’s adventure in life makes failure of any kind ineligible in your dictionary of words. With you on their side, what may seem scary to others, gives way to a gift to your children.

    Hugs my friend.

    • Oh, Karen, from your words to my reality – some day. I am trying so hard to help him out and he will have none of it. But as everyone keeps saying, “this is the greatest gift you can give him right now”. So, I have to hang tough, stick to my guns, all those cliche’ expressions, so that HE can eventually decide what to do.

  4. He is lucky to have options and parents that support his decision. Be strong and know that you are not the only one struggling with what to do in the future. Best of luck!

  5. Hi, Patti: what a conundrum in today’s economic climate.

    My oldest graduated 3 years ago from college. For 3 years, he had small job like starter jobs. Then this year, he landed a big-time one. He said he felt like this is where he should have been 3 years ago.

    Nevertheless, I’m glad he went to college. He was exposed to academic courses he wouldn’t have had otherwise and he matured as well. If he ever has his own business, I know he will be prepared.

    He always said he wanted to be a professional drummer. I said fine but you will take business courses so you can manage your money.

    • Hi Vicki and thanks for commenting. I like this story of yours. It gives me hope that my son (and daughter) will find something they want to do eventually. Someone else commented that down the road, everything would work out and I have to believe that. My two kids are good kids and I know they’ll work it out.

  6. Patti, so much has already been said. Trust one thing with your children, as you might have done in your own life. We do not always end up on the same road we traveled … often we take detours or stop for a bit along the side of the road. Your love and support is all he needs to make the right decision for now 🙂

    • Florence, you are a woman to love. Didn’t Jack say that to Diane in Something’s Gotta Give? I am trying my best to support anything he feels excited about and we are making GLACIAL progress. He came in today and told me that he’s thinking about an internship with a sports team. Something’s gotta give with this young kid. It’ll just take time. And as you know, I love him more than life itself.

  7. Patti,
    I agree with the other posts: college isn’t for everyone and there is good money out there for those willing to work in a trade. I think too many kids go to college without knowing what career they actually want to spend the rest of their lives doing and they waste time and money spinning their wheels at college. Sure, they have fun, but will they be any further along in life?

    Enjoy these next few month–they go quickly!

    • Oh, I know, Tracy. Suddenly I’ll be in the bleachers cheering for him when he gets his h.s. diploma and then suddenly there will be another important life event I’ll be seeing him participate in. I see hunched-over elderly ladies on the street and think, “there I am in a few years!”

  8. Patti,
    I went to college for two years. I was looking at a psychology degree (with the thought of either going to law school or to get my PhD in pysch) but also taking business courses b/c that’s what my mom thought I should do. She didn’t want me to get a psychology degree b/c “all you’ll end up doing is being a social worker.” Not that she thought there was anything wrong with that.. just that it was very hard work with very little pay. And she knew that from personal experience.

    I couldn’t see myself sitting at a desk all day crunching numbers though. So I quit college. Got a FT job and continued a few classes at a junior college. Of course, I was working at a desk job crunching numbers. LOL I then went back to college, working part-time, with the intention of going to law school. The quickest way out? A business degree w/ the credits I had. I got accepted to law school but ended up working for a year as I needed to earn some money. The interim job I took was doing social work. LOL Broke my ankle…had multiple surgeries for the next two years, so law school never happened. After 9 years at the 1st social work job I took another for an add’l 10 years working at the court. So I guess my two passions eventually came together for me. And both of them have taught me so much about human behavior that I have tons of material for my true passion…writing.

    I think it will all come together for your son as well. In his time frame. My mom’s dream for me sitting in a nice SAFE office as a CPA never came to fruition. And the business degree I have has never been put to use. 🙂

    Catie rocks, doesn’t she??? Great ideas!

    • Oh, Rhonda, I really enjoyed your story. I started out as a Psych major and then changed to Spanish and got my degree in that, then changed to College Student Services Administration and ended up working in Financial Aid at U.C. San Francisco for awhile and then in Education Abroad at U.C. Santa Barbara. But ultimately my favorite job was being a mum. And all of my experiences are GREAT fodder for growing my writing career. Yay!

  9. Kathleen Rockwood

    You just never know.

    My oldest announced in 3rd grade that she was going to be an archaeologist. We didn’t try to disuade her, just tried to get her to look at the practical (most people with that major who work in the field end up in low wage, although potentially satisfying, jobs) She plowed right ahead, finishing college in 3 1/2 years & going on to graduate school. We paid undergraduate; she borrowed (& worked) for graduate school. She had, however, taken heed of our comments about thinking of the future, and specialized in areas that actually could find grant money & were of practical interest to some companies. She now works for an engineering firm, on the engineering pay scale (lots more than I make) and does their site studies, etc. for them.

    • Wow, Kathleen, what a fantastic story. She knew in the third grade? And everything turned out for her in the end. I guess that’s what everyone is telling me, i.e. my son will be alright. Ultimately, he’ll do something he wants to do and he’ll be fine. I’m hoping, eh?

  10. Patti,

    You’re expressing the conundrum of parenting children moving closer to adulthood and independence. I think this is the most challenging part of being a parent and I speak from the experience of guiding 4 sons though it. None of them went though that time in the same way. Each was an adventure both harrowing and miraculous.

  11. Hi Diane! I tried to reply to your comment but can’t find it on my blog post and this e-mail says it’s from Sheila? Anyway, thank you for your advice. That IS what we want for them — that they be independent and free thinkers. We can only guide them. That’s what I’m trying to do but, OH, the resistance! Patti

    • Sorry Patti — I’m WordPress challenged!! I forget to sign out before leaving comments so that it reflects me instead of Sheila (Women Unplugged). ARGH!

      But glad you saw it. 🙂

      • Well, let me tell you, when “challenged” comes up, that’s how I feel every time I go to write a blog. I swear, I don’t understand why WordPress.org does the stuff it does. In order not to have seventy thousand open windows of WP, I go in and out and close it every time because I’m not sure if it’s going to accept the current window and change the others and after working on a post for a long time, I’m so afraid of “losing” something that I freak out.
        Patti

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