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Unread 08-28-2012, 12:44 AM   #39
Enkai
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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It's really your decision, and it requires a lot more introspection than we can provide, since we don't know you. I'm a stress-addicted overachiever, so not taking my studies seriously was never an issue. Education is what you make of it; if you want to learn and you make an effort to learn, you will learn, and you will pick up valuable life skills in the process.

On that note, I'm probably not the person to talk to about a low-stress decent job. It depends a lot on precisely where you work, which obviously isn't going to be decided when you're in high school. However, stress also corresponds to how much responsibility you're willing and able to assume, and there's a pretty high correlation between *that* and how much money you're earning.


On the college note:

Community college isn't a bad idea if you don't know what you want to do. Take a wide variety of classes, get as many GE's as you can out of the way (do your research as much as possible though; some 4 year universities won't accept transfers from certain classes). You don't actually find out some of what you want to do until you do it. For example, my husband thought he hated math until he took statistics classes in grad school. Turns out, he loves it and he's quite good at it.

Think about what general things you like doing and think of how you can combine them.

My story: I've always been *excellent* in math, and quite an artist, so I decided to pursue architecture as a way of combining those two things.

In my second year as an architecture major, I started taking some of my required structural engineering courses. Turns out, architecture didn't have enough math for me, and I love being an engineer, so I switched. And there's nothing wrong with that, especially as you find your niche.

Looking back on it, ending up as an engineer made a lot of sense for me in how I approach things, especially cosplay. I'm very detail oriented and logical in my cosplay. My approach to my costuming is very similar to my engineering (just one involves a lot more math). For me, the joy comes in making things work, so making a costume become reality and designing how to make a building a reality fulfill a similar need. I actually brought up this parallel in my job interview, and it helped me get my job.

My point is that the industry itself is often less important than what you do in it. Think about *why* you enjoy what you enjoy, and that will help give you a good place to start. For me, it was the creative problem solving in a very concrete, physical form. Some people enjoy things that are much more theoretical.


Regarding Finances:

There are plenty of scholarships available to people after high school, or at least there were for architectural engineering. It may be difficult to get them straight off, and they will often be much more merit based, but they're out there.

And I don't know what student loans everybody else has been seeing, but my husband's rates on his student loans are nothing compared to credit card interest. You can't default on them, but that doesn't make it worse than a credit card.

You absolutely shouldn't take on debt irresponsibly, though. The issue's just a lot more situation-based then just do or don't. The cost of living in my college town was incredibly high, and you weren't going to save a lot by working instead of taking classes one semester unless you were cramming way more people into your apartment/house than legally allowed. Also, being a technical degree, the school made a lot more difference for me than a liberal arts school. I ultimately didn't need loans; my parents helped out and I started getting in-state tuition as soon as I was able, but I probably would have gotten them had my parents not been able to help.
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