What I Suggest For My Own Daughters For Further Education.

Following on somewhat from yesterday’s post on what you should do for your own education, is today’s post on what you should do to encourage your kids education. To a great extent this is going to be quite case specific in that what I’m going to say is targeted for my own kids. There’s an element of family legacy and inspiration at work here, so obviously your mileage will vary greatly.
So here’s what I say to my girls about college et al.
“When you go to college, you can do whatever it is that you want to do, but if you get there and you don’t know what you want to do, you’ll do an Associates Degree in Nursing and become an RN”.
The rationale is quite simple – I don’t want them wasting time and money in a very expensive playground. The point of college is earning some sort of ticket to something better than minimal wage slavery. An associate’s degree in nursing currently takes just two years and after graduation you take your boards and bingo you can be a 20 year old with a $30 an hour job in Connecticut. You’re earning pretty good money right out of the gate and there’s always going to be work.
If you’re going into the medical field the other obvious option is doctor of something. Ultimately it’s more money over the long haul, but there often seems to be a family cost. Plus you’re really pigeonholed into nothing but doctor for a couple decades just to break even. As a nurse you have a little more option to start, stop or continue with further education it you want to go further. Plus the way APRNs are progressing with the doctor shortage you’re likely to have 98% of the authority of a medical doctor plus get called “doctor” to boot seeing PhD is going to be the standard for APRN.
Plus nursing can be quite family supportive in that you can work around child care, work part time, full time, nights, weekends, start working, stop working almost at will. It’s one of the things I’ve most liked about it. Should they ever want to mommy track for a bit they can. When they want to get back into things they can.
Personally I just don’t see that the SAHM job description really has enough to do to keep an intelligent woman stimulated unless you’re going the full on home schooling and/or crap load of kids. And for the record I’ve been the SAHD (plus worked weekend wrap as a nurse) and it was far easier taking my kids to the park et al than caring for patients. Of course seeing there’s a supposed marriage strike going on, they’ll have to support themselves anyway. I can’t imagine the terror to future sons-in-law I’ll be, though I suppose saying their mother does it like a bunny is basically a sales pitch so things will even out I guess.
So anyway – youngest daughter just loves this plan, but eldest daughter in the words of Steve Irwin… “Whooooooaaaaah look at her hood up! This is rooly dangerous. I have to be roooly careful. Just one bite and I’m going to be fighting for my life.”
Youngest loves the idea of being done with school fast and earning money fast, plus she loves the idea of actually being a nurse. We’re talking “Daddy it’s career day can I borrow some of your nursing stuff to take to school?” One year I pulled some strings and she did a “med pass” in her classroom with Skittles in pharmacy packaged blister packs lol.
Eldest…. yeah… doesn’t like needles, though honestly it’s much less annoying to be on the non-pointy end of those. Plus she doesn’t like school all that much, so more school planned into the future is just the suck. This is the queen of high honors and associated inter-school math league games so she’s likely going to mess about until she fixates on something and then excel at it. She’s into anime and drawing and creating icons and clip art for friends and has a good eye. So graphic artist of some sort is a possibility too. Even so in the real world – being an RN and working part time could mean the difference between being a starving artist and an artist. Plus all those nursing credits can be cross credited to another degree as well. It’s not time wasted.
So like I said earlier, kids you’re going to have more education after high school and can do whatever it is that you want to do, but if you don’t know what you want to do, you’re going to nursing school. And as I said before, I really don’t care what it is that you choose to do. And trust me on this – nursing school is hell – you’ll figure out what you’ll want to do if it’s not nursing pretty damn quickly.
I guess all that’s left is to explain why this whole thing gets me laid more. Well I figure the faster these brats are out of the house the faster I get more time with the MILF setting standards and direction is an Alpha Male trait. You have to be the Alpha Male of the Group to really pull the Alpha Male thing off properly and from Jennifer’s reaction she obviously likes the viewpoint as well. We’ve both had “oops” with our degrees and have bounced back well from early mistakes, but we both see the value of a two year and out plan if nothing else appeals.
After that, their life is their own. By which I mean I’m not paying for anything else.


  1. Demonspawn says:

    That's not a bad plan at all. Short schooling (less student loans) and good pay such that you can get into the black quickly. Your youngest could probably mommy-track at 25 and already be ahead.

    I share your sentiment against becoming a doctor. It's, unfortunately, a dying field. Check out the latest proposed bill in Mass (http://drwes.blogspot.com/2010/04/when-states-tie-conditions-of-licensure.html) and expect something like that to go nationwide with Obamacare. The medical field will be forced to give more "power" to APRNs. It's a field ripe for the picking right now.

    As for your eldest, is she into video games? Gaming companies are usually in need of good graphic artists.

  2. Athol Kay says:

    Oh I know quite a few liberal arts degree people that look like they want to throw up when I talk about this plan. They all wish they had done it for themselves.

    Medicine is a very harsh field. Both doctors and nurses got through all sorts of shit on a daily basis. Suffice to say, you're going to want to have a good set of kids to care for you when you're elderly. I've worked Long Term Care and you do not want to be childless or estranged from your children in there.

    She games. Gaming companies are awful to work for though. Too much competition for the jobs and absolutely appalling working conditions and pay. It's her life though, so we'll see.

  3. Wicked Shawn says:

    I didn't realize the degree and licensing for RN's varied so greatly from one state to another. In Kentucky, you must have a 4 year degree to be a regestered nurse. A two year degree will only get you an LPN license, which is the difference in making $30/hour or $12/hour. How many states are there where this differs so greatly and what happens if you move?
    Also, I do find myself a bit torn on the career front. So many people are unhappy in their relationships these days. I would really like to think my kids could find some sense of happiness and fulfillment out of the profession they choose.

  4. Athol Kay says:

    LPN isn't even a college credit course in CT. Then you're lagging only about 20-25% off starting RN pay, but no hope for further advancement.

    States can vary a great deal in local laws. They are in theory somewhat akin to seperate countries, just with very open borders.

  5. I like the concept. The decision is hers, but if she hasn't made a decision, nursing it is. Good fallback position, solid career prospects, and communicates very strongly that the purpose of college is training for professional work afterwards, should she choose something different.

    And hopefully it keeps another student from majoring in fine arts because "I really like music".

  6. Anonymous says:

    Anthol, I definitely subscribe to your "figure out what you want, kid, and do it because I'm not wasting my money for you to mess around" attitude. College these days is so much of a party, it's ridiculous.

    Props to you for being a SAHD for awhile. My husband believes that doing so would be akin to castration. A real man, after all, should be out earning money and smacking his wife around at home to make sure she understands her place.

    At any rate, do you really have so little respect for SAHMs? I manage to take care of all the laundry/cleaning/cooking/organizing, pay the bills/manage finances, work part-time from home 8-10 hours a week, and do all manner of sewing/crocheting/knitting household items as time permits. Is that enough for you to consider being a SAHM a "real" job for me?

  7. There is actually a glut of entry-level RNs right now. I've talked to a few of them just finishing up degrees and trying to get jobs and finding that the shortage today is actually for *trained* nurses.

    There is no "magic bullet" of a plan to make money. Things change and none of us can predict what the job market will look like in 10, 20, 50 years.

    I also respect you for doing time as a SAHD, I do think it's one of those things that you can't really understand until you experience it. For me, being a SAHM to two small children was harder than I'd ever worked in my life. It was satisfying, to be sure, but it did use every bit of my energy *and* intellect.

  8. Athol, when I initially read the title of today's post I thought your maxim of the day might be all about teaching your daughters the SOCIAL ramifications of seeking higher education.

    Such a topic could go in a number of different directions. Here's two:

    First, there's the idea that highly educated women, women who have succeeded in what were formally male-only careers, have changed the historical pattern of man-as-chief-breadwinner. Like many social movements, this element of feminism 2.0 all sounds good on paper. (Go get 'em girl. It's not just a man's world. Overturn the patriarchy!) And certainly no one should be denied a higher education simply because of one's gender. Yet along with the ABILITY to pursue higher education or become successful in traditionally male-dominated careers there's been a concomitant assumption that all women SHOULD pursue these efforts, that women who choose more traditional roles are somehow lesser–both lesser than other women and lesser than men. Not only is this attitude in itself horribly sexist, such education and career gains on the part of women don't automatically result in greater life or marital satisfaction–for the women (or their male partners) involved. …And no, such negative outcomes are NOT the fault of yet other men. The cure to this situation is not simply more of the disease. See…
    Heavy stuff really.

    Second, another needful, related discussion is how to teach your daughters about the SOCIAL environment at college. What do you teach your daughters so that once they're away at college and outside your own purview, they make right social and sexual choices. IMO, it's important to help your daughter understand the risks of chasing her own gina tingles at the expense of future happiness. Sure, the popular media message is that once she's 18+, your daughter is now liberated and unencumbered by "outmoded" or sexist sexual mores. And indeed, the big man on campus (BMOC) marked by the adoring women that surround him (i.e., social proof) and by the abundant negs he throws your daughter's way, might *appear* to your daughter to be the one with whom she should flex her sexual "empowerment". But how to teach her to see through the veneer, to recognize the pump-and-dump before it happens, and to not make choices that leave her feeling used and disillusioned? How do you teach your daughter that taming the wild alpha is often a fool's errand–and frequently results in her receiving mere skittles. That finding men with an initial mix of alpha AND beta traits is likely to make her happiest in the long run. How do you teach her to not spend her liberated 20's pursuing gina tingles only to hit "the wall" when she's 30, jaded, and turning fewer heads?

    Ultimately, as part of your daughter's education, you, the father need to man-up, not side-step these topics, and teach your daughter what's what. …And you need to do it well before she's about to leave home. Mind you: if you don't do it, then the first BMOC she finds will likely do it for you.

    Pardon my twist of today's topic but this is what I suggest for my own daughters for further education.

  9. Miles Anderson says:

    I like setting the bar at a point that has a relatively small investment in time, a good basic education, and a good immediate ROI. It is a nice spot in the spectrum between trade and academic pursuit.

    I wonder at the choice of nursing given the changing health care environment in the US. I think the stability of opportunity for a job will increase a bit, but it is already fairly high. But I think there will be a cap on the rate of growth of wages that will reduce the long term value of the occupation.

    I wouldn't suggesting going through med school in the next few decades in this country. The cost for med school will slowly decrease and the typical income will regress to what doctors make in other countries. I feel sorry for anybody who is in med school at the moment and is trying to figure out how to deal with paying their debt.

    My wife and I have a nice arrangement where I make the larger but stable income and she makes smaller but significant more variable income. I think this makes for a nice arrangement. A trade like nursing could be used in this fashion and allow for good and flexible management of the household.

  10. Athol Kay says:

    @ Anon – re: SAHM – as long as you're doing something more than sitting on your butt half the day while the kids are napping etc then yes you're doing fine.

    My issue is with the SAHMs that can't cook, clean, sew or control their children. Basically if being a SAHM was a job that you could be fired from, would you keep it? If the answer is "yes" then the system can work well. If the SAHM is basically horrible at her job, then the husband is completely screwed because "firing her" = divorce and thats a total mess.

    8-10 hours part time from home seems quite helpful.

  11. Athol Kay says:

    @ MNL – all good points, maybe I should write a blog about all that, or maybe a book…

    … hang on! :-)

    Actually we will be doing this, my kids are just on the cusp of needing this.

  12. Athol Kay says:

    My hunch is that nursing is going to remain an in demand profession into the future. People are always going to get sick, old and die. The rest is just details.

  13. wonkawilly says:

    Interesting. I feel like some (well, a lot) of people/parents in this country are all about education. Like they just want to be able to say "My child went to so-and-so college and he/she graduated in 4 years….. yeah, he/she has a degree in some bs subject and doesn't even know what to do with it or how to get a job in this job market, so we're still supporting him/her while he/she now lives back home doing nothing…. but at least our child is educated."

    Damn. Sad thing is that refers to me. Went to a top school, graduated 2 years ago (after changing my major a zillion times) and still haven't made shit for money in the real world, and am about to wind up moving back home to avoid paying rent. Smh.

  14. Miles Anderson says:

    Just to be clear I agree that Nursing will be in demand (in fact increasing demand). But I think that cost restrictions that will make its value less (the amount one earns as a nurse). I think there is good evidence this will happen if you look at the relative wages of American health workers vs. European ones.

    Another factor that I can only guess at is that health care will become more bureaucratic. I think it already is so that might not be a large increase in stress.

    FWIW I agree with socialized health care. But that doesn't mean that everything will stay the same or get better.

  15. Athol Kay says:

    @ Willy Wonka – is moving home with your parents in The Mystery Method?

    Okay that was mean. But I know you are dreading it for the Game killer that it will be.

    @ Miles Anderson – medicine is 50% paperwork these days. I shit you not. It can hardly get worse.

  16. Athol Kay says:

    Hi Jenna great comment. Here's the thing though, when you're in high school the only thing that you can do to screw up your life is get arrested or get pregnant. Once you finish high school parents typically say "phew we did it" and take away all sense of concern for how the kids turn out.

    Once you're at the college level the game vastly changes and everything starts being played for keeps. Your majors absolutely can matter and your overall college performance can set you on a positive arc for the rest of your life or turn into lead weights that drag you down. I know some people that would do anything to be able to repeat the college years and put that same plan into practice. I mean as in $40-50,000 of loans and stuck in $11-12 hour jobs. I mean really really fucked. So not my girls TYVM.

    So why shouldn't I go a little further and talk about these things with my kids? It's called education, most parents don't do it.

    In Connecticut you can do a two year associates degree and be an RN and then cross credit everything to a liberal arts degree if you want. If they want to do that they can work part time as nurses for $30 an hour while doing their two final years in college. Seriously Jenna, beat that. The plan rocks :-)

    Like I said I don't care what they do at college or even if they go. Just as long as they have some sort of a plan to do something productive from higher education aiming towards a vocation. If they can't figure that out, I'll pay for nursing school, but not anything else. Seriously, go get a job, I'll wait. As you suggest, it's not really my problem :-)

    As to what the girls do at college et al for sexual experience. Well that is the question and yes I agree that I can't control them. However there are always risks to sexual relationships. I just don't see riding the cock carousel as being the best thing for the long term if you are seeking a happy marriage. And yes, it does matter. Really.

  17. LOL, I misread your intentions- it seemed like you were restricting your daughters' ability to make choices after high school until I reread the post. Now I understand you are simply expressing your unwillingness to support them without any plan for them to eventually support themselves. Please excuse..

    Summer before college I worked at Taco Bell (not a decision my parents supported by the way. I have a tendency to ignore what they want). It was a scary experience because I quickly realized that most of the other workers at that particular restaurant had some college education. I really don't want to end up with that sort of job long term.

    As for sexual experiences in college- I agree, it does matter. I just fear that complete abstinence is as unhealthy as riding the 'cock carousel'. I aim for participating in sex within fairly long term relationships.

  18. Athol Kay says:

    I can live with the idea of sex in the LTRs Jenna.

  19. Badger Nation says:

    Wow, so glad I found this post. A family member is considering going to art school and some people in my family (myself included) think this is a huge disaster waiting to happen. This isn't architecture or graphic design, this is the straight-up starving artist path to the same self-imposed poverty his parents put themselves into.

    He's strong in math, has a lot of curiosity and has done decently well at a private school. It would not be difficult for him to build the skills and connections to have a decent middle-class career in his twenties and get off on the right foot in life. He has no family friends or anybody else who can give him good (i.e. tough but true) advice with his parents' blessing. No one is advocating he live large and go into investment banking or some other hardcore profession, just that he not have to look at a meager or non-existent paycheck under the shadow of $100,000 in loans.

  20. Pretty much an art degree = high school art teacher as the only likely winning senario. Otherwise it has to turn into graphic design of some sort.

    Otherwise I hope he likes serving coffee and masturbating.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Anon me:

    Your plan isn't bad, but…I dont like it at all.

    You sound like my parents and grandparents. My beef is what if your child cant decide in college and goes to nursing school and hates it? Thats what happened to my mom. But at the same time i was a nurse in high school, (HOSA ftw) and i hated being a nurse so i was like ehhhhhh….f*** no to nursing. Nursing shouldn't be their only back up option. Yeah sure, 20 an hour is nice, but I wanted to strangle half of the sick people. I was a liberal arts major and your article made me want to puke…..from how much I didn't like it. Nursing shouldn't be their only back up option. And your plan is flawed.

    A 2 year degree can take more than 2 years as well as a 6 or 7 year degree can take much less. I'm the prime example. I went for a foreign language degree learning 5 languages…they told me 5 years is how long it would take me. Well, i got that done in 3 went to med school and finished everything in 7 years. Time is nothing but a number. Anything can happen that extends their time in school or shortens it. I'm just a person who hates dealing with idiots so I chose the smart route…go year round and not slack off. I was still in a sorority and crap. I graduated high school a semester early cause I got bored. The sad part is though I came out of school with a 3.2 and still got accepted into 99% of the schools i wanted…cept 1. I got more scholarships than my stupid bio,bio-chem,pre-med major friends and foreign language majors get tons of job offerings…well, i did at least. Heck, just for knowing chinese alone i got offered 40-90k jobs from fortune 500 companies, and they FOUGHT over me which felt amazing.

    Also, I do feel like sex in college is necessary. I get all kinds of looks from religious freaks and virgins saying why? Are you mad? You'll be known as a whore blah,blah,blah. Look dumbos, I have good reason for my logic. Not everyone is healthy in a sense. I think its better to see if the gears actually work. I'm proud of myself for not being a virgin, why? Cause I found out I have a butt ton (at least 5) things wrong with my vagina and how i wont be able to have kids. Better to find out when your in college than waiting till your married finding all of this crap out and having your man leave you or something in that case. Not saying he would leave but it sure in hell isn't easy to get people to stay with you "through sickness".

    I'm not saying your plan isn't good or that it wouldn't work. All i'm saying is that they need more back up degree options than just nursing.

  22. Athol Kay says:

    Anon – you miss the point completely. It's their job to have a plan, not mine. But if they don't have a plan, they will do mine. Otherwise I don't feel like footing the bill for a four year party.

    One daughter quite likes the nursing degree idea. The other wants to do college in New Zealand toward behing a chef. I have no problem with either one of them.

    RN starts at about $30 an hour in Connecticut.

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