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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 03:52 AM
Original message
Go back to school, leave home, or continue working?? What to do with my life...
I went to university before and completed about a 1/4 of an undergrad comp sci / mathematics degree (really like math and did well) but problems with depression and anxiety ruined that for me. Since then as many of you know from my previous posts I've been working at a retail store (assistant manager position) making $14/hr. I still live at home (26) which has afforded me the ability so save most of the money I've been earning over the past 3-4 years , despite spending almost $10,000 over that time on computer hardware / photography / and home theatre equipment (yes I know this sounds stupid but remember no rent, no car, no other expenses and this is my entertainment no regrets here despite what people are going to say bellow) I now have just under $50,000 in savings. Question is what should be my next step for my savings and my life? I certainly don't want to stay at this job long term although I've actually grown to like it more than one would expect. Here are the options I'm mulling over:

-Rent and apartment, move out and continue working for a while. I would have to keep working as I do NOT intend to fritter away my savings on rent and basics.

-Go back to school full time and get a degree (the 50k should be enough for your average CS/Math degree at least). If not 2 degrees.

-Continue working (I will probably be a manager of a store in about 1/2 a year or so if I were to stay) and save enough to invest in something like a property, read house. The reasoning here is that one doesn't often have this much freely available money not tied up in anything. If I used the money for school it would be quite some time before I was in a similar position again.

Now I know these are not mutually exclusive but I feel doing more than one would be difficult for me. For one I worry about my depression/anxiety which has never entirely went away (though gotten better) so I wouldn't want to take on too much at once and crash and burn like I have in the past. Yes I know going back to school to get a degree is by far the best option long run question is would it be in your opinion the best use of said funds?

I know I'm setting myself up for some flaming but really these are the bare facts.
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 03:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. work PT and finish degree going PT.
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:02 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yeah that probably is the best, only thing I worry about there is...
that I've always had a very (all or nothing) personality (I've always had to be the best at something or not at all). It may be difficult for me emotionally adjusting to the part time concept of both.

Still probably the best approach though.
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:04 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Reduce your hours at the store around exam time.
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Brazenly Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. Go back to school
You'll never regret it and you'll most likely never have the kind of opportunity you have right now.

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tpsbmam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:08 AM
Response to Original message
5. Go back to school....
I did it when I was about your age and, holy shit, ended up with a Ph.D.! I think that surprised everyone, me included. I always HATED school. When I hit it as an *older* adult I knew what I wanted to do (had no idea when I was 17 and started college) and I loved school. Best thing I ever did.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:10 AM
Response to Original message
6. Stay where you're at and wait until after the election.
Don't make a big change you might regret.

There is no telling what that will bring.

Just wait a couple months.


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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:12 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. I'm Canadian.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:17 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Didn't Harper just dissolve your Parliament? Isn't he a Bush lackey? n/t
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:22 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Yes and yes but I'm not going to base my life's most important decisions on who gets...
into office or not. Yes they may destroy the world, I think if McCain gets elected we're really screwed but that's not going to affect my own personal decisions about how I'm going to steer my life.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:27 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I'm just saying you might not have to make it right now.
The job is there, it pays pretty good (?)

Just wait a couple months.

Oh, and not to scare you or anything, but ... http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Thanks. Yeah I've been eyeing the Lehman Bros thing with morbid curiosity for a couple of days....
doesn't look good. Everyone's big worry of course is a domino effect started by the collapse of one of these giants bringing down other financial giants that are already teetering. Despite what a lot of optimistic economists have to say about this only being a recession at worst, I think a full on depression is more likely than we all would like to think it is. The housing/bad debt crisis is only one of a shit load of straws on that camels back right now.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-15-08 12:33 AM
Response to Reply #14
24. That's all I was trying to say about waiting ...
... you don't know if a change could get you in a situation you might not be able to get out of.


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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 04:43 AM
Response to Original message
11. Give something of yourself to others.
Living for material gratification doesn't seem to be providing you with fulfillment, so:

Get involved in a cause. We need a new energy infrastructure and we need people to build it.

Get involved to help those in need. Until we reform our educational and medical systems and we need people to help make what is extant work, and then we need good people to get the changes done.

Just as was said at the service forum the other night - find something to dedicate yourself to and the rest will sort of flow naturally.
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Thanks for the suggestion. That would really be a 90 degree turn for me but it's definitely...
something to think about. I fully support and believe in these liberal causes I've just never had the opportunity to actually do any volunteer work of this type.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 06:51 AM
Response to Original message
12. The thing about being a retail manager...
It's not something that can be outsourced.

Pretty much any pure mental job can be outsourced but retail management is something which will always need someone hands on, on the spot.

A degree is a great thing to have but it is no guarantee of getting a job, let alone a decent one, any more.

Being a retail manager will teach you poise and greatly sharpen your communication skills. You will also get to be on the other side of the hiring desk which will give you great opportunities to hone your interview techniques for when you decide to move up in the world of work. Math/science people tend toward geekiness and social unease, being a math/science person with excellent social skills will be a huge plus for you.

I have family members who tell me that companies now like people who get their degrees online if the GPA is very high, I'm told that companies feel it shows that you have a very strong drive because it's harder to stick at it more or less by yourself than it is in a classroom.

If I had the opportunity to stay home and continue saving money you couldn't pry me out with heavy equipment. Living on your own will drain your money far faster than you would believe until you actually experience it.

I'm not you, but in your situation I'd continue to live at home and save money, get the store manager position (which will give you more flexibility, you'll be making your own schedule most likely) and try for a degree online.

Disclaimer: This advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. :)
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Thanks for the reply! I've been told by my parents all of these point actually...
(by my father mostly). It's definitely an option I am looking at seriously. I have noticed that working in retail these past 3 years has indeed done wonders for my sense of confidence and social ease. Before this job I basically had none. I have since been told by many, and feel so myself, that I now am very good at handling social situations vis a vi great customer service, people skills etc...
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 03:53 AM
Response to Reply #16
36. As a store manager you will learn how to train and motivate a crew.
Once you become accustomed to "command" so to speak it changes your entire outlook.

Just intensify the floggings until you get morale where you need it. :)


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AnnieBW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
15. Volunteer for the Obama/Biden campaign?
It would be a great education for a few months, and give you lots of contacts in the community.
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:45 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. LOL (look 9 posts up) I am Canadian :-) If I were American you can bet I...
would be fully supporting Obama though. Personally I don't even understand how you guys can even have a race where the Republicans are on the radar at all (let alone in serious contention as they are) given the shit storm that has been the past 8 years of Bush.

Our own elections are in a few months and you can bet I'll be voting Liberal or NDP. Sadly looks like Harper is going to get another term, the world is in a shitty place right now.
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AnnieBW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. Oh, sorry.
Wish you could volunteer! :D
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
17. i would continue w. the job and see if you do make manager
Edited on Sun Sep-14-08 07:45 PM by pitohui
i've noticed a pattern, that saddens me, of bright people pulling away just as success comes into sight for them

you say you may become manager in 1/2 year or so? i would stay in my current supportive environment where i am proving to be successful at saving money and functioning and see if i did get the promotion

you're only in your 20s, school will always be there, what would you end up doing with a math degree? teaching? sounds stressful to me but i dunno

i don't know why getting a degree is "by far" the best option, i know many people who have never been able to get a job using their expensive degrees, it's a tough economy and right now you have an employer who is supportive and who apparently is willing to give you a chance, that isn't always easy to find

the trouble w. computer science degrees is that they're seemingly everywhere, i would VERY seriously investigate the local job market for these degrees before investing a lot of money in an education -- keep in mind, your advisor at the college has a financial interest in talking up the degree and telling you how many jobs you'll get, me, i might be a little skeptical and ask about references

there is a lot of value in a person who suffers from anxiety having a healthy savings account, you may get a peace of mind from having the good job/savings that you didn't get from being a struggling student

have you discussed this with a therapist or counselor who is not connected to the college you might attend?

i don't know if i have the "right" answer, i'm just throwing out some things to think about

personally i would be tempted to test myself in the management position first, you could always return to school after you've given it a whirl

a lot of people go back to school and ultimately end up spending A LOT of money just to hide out from life a little longer
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Thanks for the reply. That is definitely something I'm looking at, in fact my mother...
favours this option. Though she would like to see me also go to school part time (a few courses here and there).
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
20. been there, done that...do as i say, not as i did- go back to school. if not, you'll regret it later
i dropped out of college after 5 schools and not quite 2/3 of a degree.

depression and self-esteem issues is what did me in.
although i was working construction- which i loved, and making $20-25/hr in the early-mid 80's, which wasn't bad at the time for being under 25 w/o a college degree. so i kept at it, until a previously undiagnosed painful & crippling arthritic condition set in. i tried going back to school at the time, but my body came back with a resounding NO!

if it's an option for you- GO BACK TO SCHOOL, and get your degree- then use it to get yourself a different job.
you KNOW that it's what you really want to do. you'll only be sorry, and have yourself to blame if you don't.
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roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
21. Why not take just one class to see how you like
studying? Then the next semester take two. I worked in retail and loved it, but one day felt suddenly bored by the whole thing. I went back to school in my mid-30s and ended up with a masters at age 40. Now I teach school which is NEVER boring.
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-15-08 12:26 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. I've thought of this too. Only I've never been one to do things by steps so much so that...
it's a fault really. I've always been an all or nothing kind of guy do if perfect or not at all, A+s, etc etc...
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roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-15-08 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. You can change if you would like to.
Edited on Mon Sep-15-08 09:17 PM by roody
You can give one class your all very easily.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-15-08 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
26. I'll be unpopular with this.
You've got $50k or so in savings. Excellent.

You're in a job that I assume is in a secure quadrant of the corporate/economic structure. You like it, and you may well get promoted into management in a short period of time.

I've never seen a resume bolstered better by some degree from a college than I have from experience. Keep the job, ride the promotion, see where it takes you. That falls apart, you STILL have the money and you can still go back to school if you need to. Options, baby.

Nothing against college, I went there myself. It never got me a job, and I'm working on the outside fringe of what I went to school for anyway.
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-08 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. You not the first to recommend this, in fact most have said to at least...
keep on foot in the job market even if going back to school as the experience should not be understated.
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-17-08 12:15 AM
Response to Original message
28. Follow your bliss...
and don't be afraid to change EVERYTHING.
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Locut0s Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-18-08 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
29. Thanks for all the kind replies guys! This will not be an easy decision no matter...
what I decide but it's time I took the reigns of my own life for once. Your input has been highly appreciated.

THANKS!
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tammywammy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-18-08 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
30. Work and go to school
It can be done, that's what I do. I'm currently working 40 hours a week and taking 9 hrs of class. Next term I'm bumping it up to 12 hrs.

Always keep some of your money as a safety nest. Apply for any grants or scholarships that you can. If you continue working you are always putting funds into your savings acct.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-18-08 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
31. Who has the best job in the world? n/t
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toddGA Donating Member (137 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
32. I teach college in Georgia, and the first thing...
...i'd ask is what you really enjoy doing and what you'd like to see yourself doing, in terms of work, for a big chunk of your life. i've got a job i love, so i can look forward to going to work every day, and the only reason i went to graduate school is that i knew that i wanted a job i loved more than any other kind of job (say, one with security or one that pays better). i had to struggle with depression and anxiety to get through graduate school, and i don't think i would have managed that if i wasn't doing it because i wanted to be able to teach college eventually.

if you like the kind of work you're doing, and if it's the best prep for advancing in that field, then i'd recommend staying with the job you have right now.

the two reasons for seriously considering going back to school, in my opinion, are:

(1) you really like to be in school and you want to learn things and expand your horizons, regardless of whether it'll get you any particular job later. here i subscribe to Mary Wollstonecraft's view that education is not job training.

(2) you'd like to have a particular sort of job in the future and the only way of getting that job is to get a college degree.

i'm in debt to my ears for the rest of my life, probably, with student loans, so i'm not sure that i'd be of any use on the financial issues you raise. i dropped all of the money i'd saved working summers and weekends in highschool on the first semester of my undergraduate degree. whether it's a good financial investment was always irrelevant to me--what i got out of college was worth a lot more than what i paid for it because i loved it (not every minute of it, but definitely on the whole).

just my two cents. it's a big choice you've got in front of you, but fortunately it's one you can make and unmake as you go--i've got students in their 30s, 40s, and 50s in my classes (even one retiree).

hope that helps in some small way...
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cobalt1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 12:17 AM
Response to Original message
33. Vegas, Booze, and Hookers.

Seriously, before you choose anything, ask yourself what you want to do with your life? Do you really WANT to work in CS? Do you want to teach?

You have all that photography equipment, do you want to make that an option? You could open a studio.

Life is not always the standard: go to school, get a "real" job, start a 401K.
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a la izquierda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 12:26 AM
Response to Original message
34. Seriously...go back to school. You're only 26.
It's never too late. I took three years off after my BA and now I'm almost done with a PhD. I'm in debt as a result of it, but it is worth it. The degrees are important, if and only if you have the desire to get them. If you don't have your heart in it, you're wasting time and money.
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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 02:21 AM
Response to Original message
35. I'd suggest addressing the depression and anxiety before school
If there's any significant chance they might interrupt your studies, it's probably a good investment to see a counselor. You might be able to find a good one at any college you'd go to, of course--ask about mental health services for students.

It sounds like you're doing well where you are. I won't say that nobody with a savings account like yours ever went wrong by going back to school, because a B.A. in philosophy probably isn't a great investment, but if you're not unhappy right now, I'd suggest dealing preventatively with the depression/anxiety and then assessing your options after that.

You might also want to talk to a career counselor at whatever college you're considering, to ask whether a bachelor's in CS/math is enough to get you a job these days, or whether you'll need a master's degree. Outsourcing to India is a concern unless your credentials are stellar... unless Obama wins the election. That sounds partisan but I think it's pretty realistic.

It sounds like you're being extremely pragmatic about all of this, which automatically puts you light-years ahead of most kids who are starting college right out of high school. I'm sure you'll do well no matter what you decide. I'm not just saying that... I really mean it. Good luck!
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tsuki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-08 04:53 AM
Response to Original message
37. Do you enjoy your work?
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