I am writing this letter to you as your 40 year old self. I know at 17, you are not sure what you should do and you have only heard for 17 years you should go to college. I also know that you are realizing that while your parents meant well to tell you that, they have no money to pay for it and you don’t have any money either. I know your worried you won’t amount to anything if you don’t go to college. I know you think that you will be stuck at the Pizza Shop and in Pembroke not by choice but by life and you think college will get you out.
Well at 40, you will have a $1000 per month payment that you cannot get out of and bankruptcy won’t even help. This debt will be a burden to you and impact how you live, how much money you need to make, and what kind of a job you can accept.
So I beg you to take a breath and consider these options:
1) Take a financial planning course to understand budgeting and how money works. This is a life skill you need to figure out.
2) You have so much energy invest it in yourself-think about owning your own business–maybe your own pizza shop, maybe something else. Think about the business and financial planning knowledge you learned from the owners of the Pizza Shop.
3) Jobs that don’t require a degree: real estate, administrative work at colleges ( they will pay for your classes for free), acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga instructors, fitness trainers, mental health workers ( you can get your foot in the door). Corporations have training programs for people out of high school check them out and see what is possible (again, most companies offer some type of tuition reimbursement).
4) Take a breath, save some money and travel around to see other countries and other ways of living in the world.
5) No one degree or one action guarantees a job, a profession the only guarantee is that life happens while your completing “degrees.”
Just please remember that while so many of us drank the kool-aid and believed it was education that changed our world, it was a choice to knowingly go into debt and change your world by means that you couldn’t afford. At 40, you know in hindsight that your world changes by anything and everything you do and by who you invite into it.
Expand your world and trust in the process.
Your older self