I finally have a plan for my life. It needs tweaking, but considering my old life plan fell apart after twenty-five years, I don’t feel too badly about it.
When I first embarked on my own, I was constantly reassured that my lack of a degree would not be a hindrance to starting a career. Many people are of the opinion that if you are well-spoken, relatively intelligent, and practice good hygiene, businesses will come crawling out of the woodwork to hire you.
Over the past three years, I have gone on interviews where I presented well, and frankly, was quite charming, but didn’t have the tools to fulfill the job requirements. The truth is, no matter how badly someone wants to hire you, if you can’t do the job, you can’t do the job.
And that brings me to a very important topic: women and education.
I always assumed I would go to college. I really wanted to be an English teacher. But there was a lot of upheaval and turmoil in my life at that time, and I lost sight of the goal. And even more than I wanted a B.S. degree, I wanted to obtain my M.R.S. degree.
Dad encouraged me to attend for at least a little while to make sure marriage was the right choice. So, I went to my parents’ Christian alma mater for one semester, got engaged over the holidays, and never returned.
Later, I became entrenched in a religious sect that frowned upon higher education for women. I raised my daughters with a wariness of college, believing that if they obtained degrees, they would choose to work outside the home, neglecting their children and their duties to their husband. I greatly feared that by attending a secular university, they would be influenced by insidious things such as feminist ideologies, false religious doctrines, and being encouraged to think for themselves.
Now, here I am, forty-eight years old, on my own, no degree, and no career experience.
I wish this was a unique situation, but every week I encounter women returning to single life after decades of being a stay-at-home mom. None of us anticipated this. We all thought we’d be in those marriages forever, and would never have to worry about financially supporting ourselves.
I watch as woman after woman pulls herself up by her bootstraps, and does whatever is necessary to make sure the kids are fed, the bills are paid, and they have a place to rest their head at night.
Sadly, I also encounter women who are staying in abusive situations because they don’t have the tools necessary to financially support themselves. It’s a travesty, and I don’t know how to fix it, but I can warn about it.
Go to college.
Get a degree.
Even if you are already married with children.
Go to college.
Get a degree.
Make it work.
Life doesn’t always go the way we plan. Choosing to forego education because you believe someone else will always take care of you is not a wise way to live. Give yourself the gift of options.