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Discussion Starter #1
Okay. So I have been struggling with this for the past few weeks. I am graduating in 3 weeks and I still don't know what to do. Every teacher, guidance counsiler, and adult that should know what they are doing tell me 'Go to college!! Get a degree! It doesn't matter what you get, just go!!' The thing is, that would be great. I would love to further my education if... it wasn't so GD expensive. I have to pay for everything on my own (considering my parents are trying to teach me money-management skills and I have four other siblings, I never expected anything else). I am not willing to go into MASSIVE amounts of debt, just to get a degree in something I'm not truely interested in.
I have applied for endless scholarships, financial aid, and have saved up money just to go... but sadly enough, what I have just won't cut it. I've spent countless hours trying to come up with an alternative or creative way to pay for it...

I'd love to hear your opinions and advice... PLEASE!!
 

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I hear you... I went to college for 2 years, did not like the course I was doing and didn't finish, with 1 year to go. It's one big regret I have and while things have worked out well in their own way it's still hard to wonder if it wouldn't have been better to do something else, or maybe postpone...

I think, look into all options: not just college. I'm not saying college is bad, but there are other ways - perhaps maybe a trade/vocation (if you're more the kind of person to use your hands). Not everyone needs to go to college, but if you're that kind of person be willing to stick to your guns and know what you're getting into. That, or maybe postpone for a year and take a gap year to travel and figure out what you really want to do. I'm as cautious as you are with taking on debt - I don't want to do it if possible, but I think that it can pay off if you go in knowing what you want to do, and make sure you get a degree that's marketable and relevant.

I noticed you live in the US - if you're interested in joining the military you could take ROTC - that'd pay for your college and after being done you can enter the Army/Air Force/Navy/Marines as an Officer (more pay) and give you a requirement to be in whatever branch for 4 years (after which you can be discharged and do something else). Just something to think about.

Also (to cover the obvious bases) look into either going to a community college and then transferring in (apparently some people do that to save money) or maybe going to a public school in your state to take advantage of in-state tuition. And again, spend some time looking at your skills, passions, abilities, and interests, and try and figure out what exactly it is you would want to make a career of doing, and then head in that direction.

Best of luck either way :)
 

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Start with a general associates degree at a community college. You'll have 2 more years to figure out what your want, you can transfer your credits, and it's waay cheaper. Also it gives you a college level education.
 

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Depending on your state, some state schools guarantee you admission to a state university after completing gen Ed reqs at a community college.
 

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I graduated high school ten years ago and got my Bachelor's Degree six years ago. I keep asking myself, "was it worth all this financial debt?". Yes, and No. Overall yes - because my hometown was sucking the life out of me - I truly came out of my shell by moving hours away and making new friends, who actually shared interests with me! I also wouldn't have met my husband (although it was in a round-about way). But you're right: you can't truly know what you want to do with the rest of your life at this point (I'm not sure I do yet). If I could do it over again, I might have studied something more practical/universal/ or in demand. If I had a job that could pay my bills, then I could pursue all my artistic whims!
 

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You can start at a community college or a cheaper in state university. Some Universities are really inexpensive comparatively, for example, University of Oregon or Evergreen.
Another option is to take one to a few classes at a time while working and try to pay your way as you go for the most part. It'd take years for you to get the degree, but in the meantime you could get lots of work experience if there is an area you are interested in. When you are able, take smoe classes, when you aren't, hold off and work.

I'd just be aware that any path you pick you can be happy. Some people get into this meantality that their future happiness hangs on every important life decision, fact of it is, you mostly get around to the same place and everyone realizes things they "could have" done in retrospect. So whatever path you pick just make the most of it and pursure it with convinction.
 

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I couldn't even imagine going to undergrad these days, racking up debt, only to come out with awful job prospects making little money. Most jobs that are available after graduation you don't even need a college degree for; you just have to have that piece of paper so as not to get weeded out, which will happen if you don't have a college degree. I had to go to grad school in order to have a clear career path. As others said, it might be beneficial going to a community college starting out. Go there for a year, get incredible grades, and try to get a scholarship. I don't think it's necessarily important to go right away. If you work for a year and save money, possibly you might be able to go to the college you want to. Also, this might be an out-there suggestion, but you could always join the peace corp, and I think the gov't might pay for your education after. I'm not sure about this, but I somehow recall that this could be the case.

Good luck...
 

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Another alternative: move out with some roommates (too expensive to live on your own), find a job, go to school part time. This is what my wife did. She worked at a clothing store and it took her 7 years to get her finance degree. She came out with no debt. Which was good because she became a stock broker for 3 months, hated corporate and went to film school and worked as video editor for 7 years before she moved onto the next thing. She wouldn't have had that option if she was in debt.

One of my friends is doing that now. She's 26, works at Starbucks. Takes 2 classes a semester. She'll graduate whenever. She's not really that enthused to join the working class. She has fun, likes the people she works with and has a 4.0 because she only takes 2 classes.

School debt basically forces you to pick the right profession the first time. Because you'll have to get a job to pay off that debt. Without the debt, you just have to make enough to pay rent and eat until you figure out what you do want to do. You're young. If you don't have a passion for something that you know requires a college degree than go slow. Have fun. Trust me, you have the rest of your life to work 40+ hours a week to pay mortgage and bills. I recommend not being in such a rush to get here.
 

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All my teachers and guidance counselors told me to go to college right away too, that it didn't matter for what, I would figure it out there. It sounds ridiculous, but I didn't even realize I had other options until my parents told me, "if you don't like it, you can always come home". This made me realize that I didn't have to go to college. So I moved in with my cousin who lived across the country. It was the best thing I've ever done for myself, and I really learned a lot.

I'm not saying college is bad, you should go if you want to, but I would suggest considering all other options first. You can still learn a lot even if you're not in school. I'm in college now, but am dropping out because I don't have a clear reason for being here- I don't really have a direction- and think I can figure it out better by not being here. But I might come back. I guess what I'm trying to say is you can take your time with it. Like infpblog said, you don't have to be in a rush about it.
 

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Another alternative: move out with some roommates (too expensive to live on your own), find a job, go to school part time. This is what my wife did. She worked at a clothing store and it took her 7 years to get her finance degree. She came out with no debt. Which was good because she became a stock broker for 3 months, hated corporate and went to film school and worked as video editor for 7 years before she moved onto the next thing. She wouldn't have had that option if she was in debt.

One of my friends is doing that now. She's 26, works at Starbucks. Takes 2 classes a semester. She'll graduate whenever. She's not really that enthused to join the working class. She has fun, likes the people she works with and has a 4.0 because she only takes 2 classes.

School debt basically forces you to pick the right profession the first time. Because you'll have to get a job to pay off that debt. Without the debt, you just have to make enough to pay rent and eat until you figure out what you do want to do. You're young. If you don't have a passion for something that you know requires a college degree than go slow. Have fun. Trust me, you have the rest of your life to work 40+ hours a week to pay mortgage and bills. I recommend not being in such a rush to get here.
This is probably the first thing you have posted that makes sense to me. What would you do if you can't get a job or find a roommate? What if you don't have any fun? It makes me even more depressed to think about having fun at a young age for some reason. I don't know why but whenever someone mentions having fun when your young it just makes me angry. Maybe it's because if things are shitty now they will get worse in the future.
 

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I would agree with your advisors that a college degree is important if you want to get a relatively decent job with better salary. However, I don't quite agree that you should choose whatever that might be, it is important that you are truly interested in that subject if you want to get the most from the degree and get the best results. An impulse of interest is not enough. Have you considered working a year or two before pursuing your studies, this might be a good way to save money and you can do something 'productive' for this period which can sort of polish your application and increase your chances of getting into a good college. To be honest with you, you don't have to make up your mind what you want to become in your future as it can change quite easily during your years in college and as you grow mature. Most important is what you have most enthusiasm with and what you are good at.
 

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This is probably the first thing you have posted that makes sense to me. What would you do if you can't get a job or find a roommate? What if you don't have any fun? It makes me even more depressed to think about having fun at a young age for some reason. I don't know why but whenever someone mentions having fun when your young it just makes me angry. Maybe it's because if things are shitty now they will get worse in the future.
I don't know I've never had that problem. My first job was at 16 washing dishes and I supplemented that with pulling weeds for someone's garden. When I moved out, I served popcorn at a movie theater. I would have done retail or fast food or whatever. The object for me was to eat and pay rent. Anything more complicated than that during the first time out, like trying to find something that I could base my self-worth on wouldn't have worked with the other life lessons I had to learn.

As for finding a roommate, considering I spent most of high school playing Dungeons and Dragons with the same 5 friends, I had enough foresight to be friendly with everyone. It was an acquaintance not a friend who offered me a place to move because my friends went to college. I'm the nice harmless guy that's easy to get along with. I find that goes along way in life.

As for having fun, my idea of fun wasn't that complicated: have the least amount of responsibility possible and still be able to pay rent, read a lot, hang out with friends. Then when I turned 21 my idea of fun was, whenever I was not eating, sleeping, working or reading, I should be dancing. Like I said, my biggest problem back then was not being bored at my job and trying to make it to the club before cover.

Other people have more complicated versions of fun that require money. That's okay, but I figure I'd get to those more complicated fun later on in life. Fun is just an idea. Some people have very limited imaginations so they have very narrow definitions of fun. Life is easier for people with better imagination. It's kind of unfair that way, but that's just how life is.

That's why I believe INFPs have an advantage in life. We have great imaginations. Some of the things INFPs said they do for fun just blows me away. I always think, why didn't I think of that. That becomes important later because most people don't get everything they want. The ones that can imagine a happy life without having everything they ever wanted are better at creating that happy life.

Okay so what if I moved out and didn't find a job? It was much easier back in my day and age. I could walk into a fast food joint and have a job the next day. I'm not sure that can be done today. But that was my fall back. Luckily, I applied at a movie theater and got hired right away. Free movies at 19 was awesome.

What if I couldn't find a roommate? Around 22, my roommates were going their separate ways and I had to find a new place to live. I had enough rent money saved but I couldn't find a place. I couched surfed for a month. Before finding an ad in the paper looking for roommates that fit my income. I didn't know these people and they were nothing like people I hung out with. They were ultraconservative, small town folk. So I kept to myself. Helped around the house and kept a very very low profile. One of the best things I ever did, because my first love happened to be a friend of one of their friends. And they introduced me to their friends because I was the nice harmless guy that was easy to get along with.

In both cases where I had to find a job and had to find roommates, I had no choice. It's amazing the things you accomplish when you have no other choice. Every life has problems whether that problem is finding a job or finding a girlfriend. The ones who understand their current problems and are actively trying to solve it, learn that they have the capacity to solve future problems.

If things are shitty now and you have zero skills, zero insight, zero motivation and are not doing daily improvement to gain skills, gain insight, gain motivation to make things better, of course, the future is going to be worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you thank you thank you! I need all of the help and encouragement that I can get! You guys are awesome :)

Honestly, I'm a little bit more frustrated now because of my mom. She's been pushing for me to apply to more colleges even though it's too late. My worst fear right now is disappointing my parents. They keep saying 'oh... it's okay if you don't go to a 4 year... but... it would be better if you do'. I feel that if I go into some career that isn't as 'sophisticated' or brainy as they want me to have, then they won't be happy. I've never had a problem with getting good grades or being smart enough for something. I could survive with a career of pure brainwork, but I know I would pull out all of my hair and finger nails in the process. I know that my parents' intentions are good and they want me to be comfortable in life, but I CAN'T be stuck in a dreary office building nestled into a cramped cubicle for the rest of my life. My head explodes just thinking about it. But i don't want to be the failure child either...

Why is our self worth judged just by our career success and never by our hearts?? I would love if people could just peek inside my chest and say 'Wow! Here's a good person. You should be proud of yourself! Well done!' And then give me a pat on my back and some candy. :tongue:
 

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Honestly, I'm a little bit more frustrated now because of my mom. She's been pushing for me to apply to more colleges even though it's too late. My worst fear right now is disappointing my parents. They keep saying 'oh... it's okay if you don't go to a 4 year... but... it would be better if you do'. I feel that if I go into some career that isn't as 'sophisticated' or brainy as they want me to have, then they won't be happy.
That's so funny - my parents acted shocked and maybe hurt that I wasn't going to stay living with them & go to our community college. I wonder if not wanting to be told what to do has subconscious motivations in both of our cases. That, and the economy wasn't a problem when I went.
 

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That's so funny - my parents acted shocked and maybe hurt that I wasn't going to stay living with them & go to our community college. I wonder if not wanting to be told what to do has subconscious motivations in both of our cases. That, and the economy wasn't a problem when I went.
I think that that may have something to do with it :p I catch myself doing that sometimes!

Parent:You should go to bed early tonight.
Me: Okay (but in my mind I'm set on staying up even later than I had originally planned)

I can be very childish sometimes :p

But I think my main problem right now is money... I would like to go to a University or something but I can't afford it right now. But I guess I'm better off than a lot of people. My parents won't kick me out once I graduate or anything. Hmm...
 

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To be honest with you, you don't have to make up your mind what you want to become in your future as it can change quite easily during your years in college and as you grow mature. Most important is what you have most enthusiasm with and what you are good at.
As a matter of fact; I initially felt that a college degree was a must.. But after all these years, I must say, that I am mature enough to realise what you've just said..infact, I've already accepted that..Also, I am on the verge of a career change..I am financially okay though.. The problem is guys like me have too many passions and I can only take up one at a time.. It is slow.. But I really do hope I find something that I can really stick with for a while.. God bless me.. :)
 

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@dileep

You're right - too much passion. And usually the reality doesn't quite match with the passion that we have. Don't want to let down my parents but still want to live up my own dreams...God bless :)
 

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the thing is even if you go to a community college, by transferring, you'll end up going at a 4yr school, having saved lots of money w/ smaller class sizes (intro classes at universities can easily go into the 100-200 range of students).

my psych professor is always emphasizing that people are too stuck "in their certificate and degrees and A's and B's" and he's right. honestly, if you know what you want to do and it's a vocation you can go to a trade school, then DO that. like for example, if you know you want to be a beautician of some sorts, get jobs at salons even if it's just as someone sweeping the floors. but if you don't know what you want to be, honestly, go to a community college and get close with your professors. visit them during office hours and just talk. (a lot of professors actually really like this). my psych professor made me realize i was being too hesitant in my dream of becoming a therapist but he also made me realize that it doesn't matter what modality i choose because there are lot of different ways to empower people.

and if you have to pay for college yourself, your parents honestly should not be doing that whole, "oh, it's better for you to go to a 4 yr university."

besides, i don't know about your community college but mine has pretty flexible scheduling. most universities....not so much.

personally, networking + experience + having the skills matters more than just a bachelors degree.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well good news everyone!! I have next year figured out <big sigh of relief> Taking some advice (from my lovely friends on PerC), a couple days ago I went searching for information about 2 year schools around my area. I came apon a site for a technical school in the city where my mom works. They have a SWEET culinary arts program (and honestly I didn't know I wanted to do that until I read the description). I mean, along with all of the basics of cooking, there are lessons for international cooking, baking, cake decorating, ice sculpting, CHOCOLATE carving, and SUGAR SCULPTING!!!! How awesome is that?? I'm really into 3D art and cooking is a ton of fun as well. To top things off... my parents are SUPER excited (who knew?) Turns out, they didn't want me to go just to go, yet another example on why communication is important :p With financial aid I'm paying virtually nothing, I'll be living at home, my mom will drive me, and I'll get my Associates Degree in the process. After I pay off what little is left of my 'loans' and get a decent job (which will strengthen my bank account), I'm planning on traveling a lot. India, Germany, Japan, UK, around the US, really anywhere that meets my fancy... and of course I'll learn some great skills too! I haven't been so excited about life in a long time. I'm actually looking forward to getting up at 5 in the morning and going to class! I can't stop smiling :)

Thank you guys for all of your advice... I really wouldn't have looked on the site without it. <3
 
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