Living a Better Life®
College Students and Graduates: Starting Over
Graduation should be a time of excitement for the future and bursting pride of a job well done. Congratulations and well wishes are always in order; by teachers, faculty, family and friends. However, when weeks and months go by with no job offers it doesn't take long for stress and reality to take over. Especially when there are student loans to be paid. Here's a reader's question dealing with this very issue, and my reply.
"I have a 26 yr old daughter that is just now starting to get her life in order, which is wonderful. However, the consequences of the past include deferments of student loans; low GPA in college to which she
had to sit out a semester (or two); no vehicle because tags were not paid, etc, etc, etc. I think you get the picture. She is moving back home with me to try to work all this out and I would love to help show her how to work it out, but she really needs to figure it out on her own. I would like to provide her some
useful steps in dealing with these type of financial issues, as she doesn't have
children, property, a career, etc. She really is, starting over." - L.W.
Having two graduates in our own family this month I certainly do sympathize with your concern for your daughter's financial issues. I hope that she was able to graduate from college, though I am not sure that she did from the sound of your letter. The good news is, if she did not finish it is never too late.
Back in our day, if we didn't have the financial resources or scholarships to go to college, we didn't go. But times are different now. All of our children are expected to earn a college degree in order to be considered for employment, no matter what their financial status is. College tuition has soared and student loans have become a part of life for many families, surpassing any other type of unsecured debt.
In generations before us, it was also very common for families to share the same home. Young adults, families with young children, and even grandparents. Our current economy has brought families together in this way again, though it is hard to predict whether permanent or temporary. Whatever the future holds, we are learning to cherish the time together.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if our children would figure it all out on their own? As parents, our goals for our children include giving them the tools they need to be independent and successful in life. Spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially, and financially. Their/our education is never ending, whether in school or life.
Everyone's situation is unique, yet I can't help but feel we are all in this together.
The world we have created for ourselves is not easy at times. Things don't always go as planned or hoped for. Sometimes we have to take a detour to get to where we're going. Every disappointment or painful experience (for us, and our children) comes with a blessing.
If we can't do the things we want, we learn to do something else and discover new paths for our life.
If we can't find a job, we can create one based on our gifts and talents.
If we can't pay our bills, we do what we can until they are paid.
If we can't finish a project or degree, we will get back to it when and if we can. Maybe there is another task at hand that is far more important.
I agree we need to let our children find their own way. However, my mother was always supportive and always there for me. And I can't imagine having lived my life without her guidance. She did not pay my bills because she couldn't, nor did I ever ask her to. She was just there, always there.
As our children grow up and become responsible adults, they learn from us how to care for their own families. They also learn from us how to handle difficulties in life.
We will get some things right, and some not.
Without a doubt, offer your daughter the tools she needs in handling her finances and anything else she may be struggling with. It will be her decision to follow or not follow your advice. If you've made financial mistakes, share them with her, along with your successes. This will show her that bad times are not the end of the world.
Starting over can be scary but she can, and will, pick herself up and create a path in this world for herself. With God's help and with your help.
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Copyright © 2012 by Michelle Jones. All rights reserved.
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