Go to school or work with dad.
Go to school. Now that I’m out on my own, I wish I had.
Go to school. Now that I’m out on my own, I wish I had.
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Last year I went through same thought process that your son is going through right now. I chose to go to school, and I can without doubt say that I do not regret one bit. Although there are days when I would much rather wake up and put on a toolbelt, I have realized that spending four years getting an education really does pay off. Actually, I get a good deal of exposure to construction here at school anyways - so I get the best of both worlds. Some of my old friends decided to take a year off, I only know of one that is actually going to school this fall. Another aspect to look at is that during the time that he spends in school, he will mature a good deal more and have a ton of fun - Lord knows I do - Nick
As for me, if I'd lost the education process momentum, I doubt if I'd have gone on to college. Money, girls, cars and all that
Our daughter was self-driven... Outstanding H.S. record, on to engineering school and a brief professional career before concentrating on raising our grandchildren.
Our son was uncertain and an ambivalent student, but headed off to college where he found a career interest and has been remarkably successful in his field.
OK, the daughter was a shoo-in for success. The son and I probably never would have completed college if we had taken some "time off" to work after H.S.
A few years ago, I was in a management seminar where a case study led to a discussion of a college graduate taking time off before taking a regular job. Most participants agreed that's what they wished they had done (now it was too late... families, kids, career paths, etc.), but had feared the year of travel or whatever would look bad on their resumes. As I recall, virtually all regretted their decisions. This says a lot for Gordon's "sabatical" idea above.
Here's hoping life continues to present your son with alternatives which are attractive and rewarding. Whatever decision is made, don't look back...
Best wishes to both of you, Steve
*As long as he thinks he knows what he wants to do career wise, he should go to school (but take the summers off if at all possible). When he suddenly realizes hei doesn'tknow what career he wants, that's the time to take some time off. It's hard to stay motivated when you don't know why you're there.FWIWRich Beckman
*Rich hit the nail on the head- motivation. If he isn't, school is a waste of time and money. I dropped out after a semester when I was 18 and hitchhiked to California. The one regret I do have is putting off my education ..... I graduate May 20th with a degree in technical graphics and design. It has been much more difficult at age 46 than it would have been 25 years ago. Education will serve you well ......love building more than ever but the old body is not so willing anymore ...... more knee surgery this summer. An education is something to fall back on. A degree from the School of Hard Knocks doesn't count for much in today's world. My advice would be take the time off but don't forget about school.
When to college at 18. Folks always made it clear that was where I should go. No clue as to why or where on my part. Did 2 years, failed out. Worked for a year, returned for a year failed out again. Mind you, I had a state scholarship so I wasn't a total idiot but obviously no goal. 8 years later I returned to finish while working full time and going to school part time. Did very well. Piddled for 5 years after that and returned to get a masters. Got it and now work using it. Close to 50 now. Like previous poster want to be building not driving a desk, but you can't hump on a daily basis like you once did.
Moral: 1. Go to school for a reason and a specific one. ( I canna be a whatever, I need to know how and a paper that says I do.)
2. Avoid liberal arts track unless Daddy is holding the folding and you will inherit it at some point. You must have a marketable degree or you've wasted time and money. You can learn about whatever arcane subject interests you after work.
3. If the kid is mature, has worked with you or someone learning a trade, then he will do fine in school. If he takes a year off now, bad things can and will happen. A year off after school and before work? Why? If you are entering a field that you want to work in you will be in it for a while and will get regular vacations. Most jobs give at least a month after a few years. If not, find one that does.
If work is a total crucifixion, then you need to try a new field.
Finally, bust your ass between 18 and your early 40's, save it , invest it. By 45 you should be ready and able to truly enjoy it.
Hope it works out.
*I say work construction for a year then go back to school. Once a kid has gone to college for several years with the frat parties, drinking, fancy duds,and the general smartassed attitude of the to much college not enough high school crowd he's never going to want to get his hands dirty again. Don't get me wrong I believe education is important BUT developing a good work ethic is more important. Most college grads are educated beyond their capacity and need to be deputzed before they are of any use in the real world.
Josh, this one is probably easier than you think, providing you (the adult) are not subsidizing the young man's parties and fun.
First of all, are you and your son having a hard time cutting the apron strings? Shouldn't your post read: Got to school or work in the trade? We all love our children but the most important lesson that we need to give them is the ability to survive without us.
The young man would be extremely foolish to pass up the huge financial windfall. Of course, he wouldn't be thinking about passing it up if he didn't have a nice soft cushiony free bed, and all the video games that he can stand to play.
Here's what I did for my kids. Remember, I lived in Sterling Whites, oops Sterling Heights, the ultimate suberbia, with spoiled kids everywhere. These kids think they are entitled to designer underwear! When my kids turned twelve, I informed them that they were going to be moving out at age 18, following their graduation from high school. Staying home was not an option. They knew that they could go away to college or get an apartment and attend the local college. But they weren't going to stay with me.
I was basically telling them six years in advance that they had to figure out how to pay for their college, either through good grades and scholarships, or save their pennies, or go into the service and earn college credtis from the armed forces.
They went the good grade route and were thrilled to have earned the scholarships.
Oh yeah, both were offered the opportunity to enter into an apprenticeship and work for me, but they weren't going to be living at home.
Is it any surprise that they chose college?
My daughter graduated in four years. My son, who hates schoolwork as much as me went for three, dropped out for two, and finished this year. Now they are going into a partnership in the landscaping business.
And we all get along well and survived those nest jumping years.
hope this helps, but I doubt it will,
*Go to school!....the education will make you a better person and after school decide which way to turn. I went and got my degree in environmental engineering and knew before I got out that I wanted to build, but I had something to fall back on if it didn't work out....and the beer and women were a plus. And I know if I went to work before I would have never made it to school later. Good luck!
*Here's another vote for school first. It's amazing how hard it is to get back into the homework thang after getting used to a breezy (ha!) 8-hour day (if you're lucky, not counting commute) with pay (finally), and a kick-back (ah!) brewski afterwards. Ideally, school teaches one how to learn, not what facts are necessarily important to know.Had I continued straight through college, I could have had a Ph.D. at 21--mind you, in a field I would have hated. Thing is, I could at least have had a job making big bucks so I could afford time off to figure out what I really wanted to do.Also, because of the rate of the technology movement, even a few months away from "what's happening now" can be a hindrance if one's potential job requires more than just street smarts, level-headedness, or brawn--and engineers are the most highly sought-after types. (That field was what I went back to school for, most recently. Paid off big time!)
*An old expression: "Youth is wasted on the young."Or, a note sent home: "No mon, no fun, your son..." The reply: "Too bad, how sad, Your Dad."Cat's out of the bag that you're giving your son a choice, and treating him with respect, but staying involved. I approve. My boys are just 4 years and 4 mos. each, so I have a lot to learn; I do plan to change the locks when they turn 18. However ... the absolute is that there are none, and it's better to judge the situation than enforce some rule for its own sake. Although the comments above sure seem to prove that it is a rare person who can get away without going to school altogether (Bill Gates is a Harvard dropout, like one semester ... but the world has room for few of these), there are several ways of getting through.And in defense of liberal arts majors (!) it is a very portable degree, useful for people in law, management, etc. -- people who work with words and ideas. The employer is going to be interested in the quality of the school and the applicant's performance as indications of their future success. I know my share of loser electrical engineers, too! Besides, what are we the math-challenged supposed to do?Interesting topic.
*And in defense of liberal arts majors (!) it is a very portable degree, useful for people in law, management, etc. -- people who work with words and ideas.Oh, Andrew, as an original (cave woman) liberal arts degreed type, I have to heartily agree. One of the best things is that it (supposedly) teaches one how to get along with, duh, people :)Of course, I am very prejudiced towards any type of education, and think that (e.g.) social science majors who don't study engineering (or some other tech field), or vice versa, suffer from lack of balance.
*The college experience is one that should not be missed. You meet an incredible cross section of American society and find yourself exchanging viewpoints with people who to your surprise do not think like you. To be successful in college, the work ethic must be strong and that will carry with you through life. How much my liberal arts degree has helped me with my career in construction is hard to say. I will say it has helped me deal with some of the strangest people I have ever met in my life. Some are dishonest, some witty and clever, some terminally stupid and some as smart as you can imagine. Go to school first. Then jump in and join the fun.
*Nothing to do with the post but how's the Dodge diesel .......still like it? Any complaints?
*I love my diesel. LOOOOOVE it!I just pulled my backhoe up north with it. When I hit the Zilwaukee bridge, I had to stomp it to the floor. That was a first! It was a bit bumpy. Michigan roads are the worst. This is my first pickup and I'll never go back!Of course it helps that we now store most of the tools in boxes onsite. I issue guns and staplers and have the guys carry them in their truck.But I do love my diesel!!!blue
*He should go with his heart! Whatever it says.Background. I work at the University of Arkansas. There is nothing more fun than a motivated student, and nothing worse than one shoved there by parents (I'm not saying you are doing that, but these types of students do exist.)When I graduated from high school, due to high grades at Topeka High (which was not a stellar college prep school) and great ACT scores, counselors pushed me to accept scholarships for college, my parents sided with counselors. I wanted to go to trade school and learn more about auto mechanics. I lasted three semesters before I dropped out (had good grades, but no motivation.) One year of work in a pet food quality control lab (taste testing?) and I was back in college part time, with several part time jobs. Finally managed a degree after 8 years. Never took more than 9 hours. Have liked most of my jobs since then, and without the skills I learned would never have been able to reduce working to part time (again) at the ripe age of 43. Still, when I watch the Indy 500 on tv, I wonder if going the trade school route (the route of my heart at the time) would have led to something else. Who knows?A retired math prof I admire (for his work with students) had a graph of education vs. average income on his office door. It was quite instructive, however, it was just the averages. An engine designer for a racing team probably makes more than a mechanic at the local Ford dealership. The engine designer may have had a more extensive formal education, but may also have been a mechanic at one time.All that said, go with your heart.
*Urge him to go to school. I did the part time work/school thing for 2 years to get a fire tech. certificate through my local J.C. Then after a little construction, some other odd jobs, I landed a job as a firefighter. Going on 17 years now and I still enjoy going to work. But now things have changed, and common sense isn't enough to cut it in the fire service any more. When I started studying again for promotional exams,etc. I was embarrassed to see how much my study skills had lapsed. School is one of those horses you can't easily get back on once you get off. Sounds like your kid has the tools to do well at whatever he applies himself to, but the times they are a changin. A good education will pave the way for him no matter what he chooses. I wish I had seen this post when I was 18........wedge
There's nothing wrong with taking a year off and working as long as one sticks to their promise of going back to school, especially with a scholarship waiting. Perhaps you could offer him some sort of incentive to be had at the end of his work and the start of his schooling. I am a product of a private school education with a degree in Drama and 24 years of calloused hands as a blue collar worker as a carpenter, plasterer, and artisan. I would not trade my education for anything. It has opened many doors in my life.
What do you say when people imply/say that you wasted your education/talent? Don't tell me
it doesn't happen.
*go to school - you can always work in the summer.you can always build - and - if you do, it may be with with a lot more insight and over view and understanding and appreciation. what will you study? will it reflect that you love building things, that you love building beautiful things? do you love swinging a hammer - or - seeing the results. there is a real difference. you can love them both, but its wonderful when you understand the difference. the real kicker is not just that you did it but that its beautiful and adds to our lives - rather than just exists. is it beautiful, is it necessary, is it wonderful.
*Hey, it doesn't matter. Really. Like others have said, encourage him to go with his heart. This will get him in the habit of listening to himself, which is what matters in school or the trades, or life.
*School- all the above reasons- and some more: its like adding the biggest baddest tool to your jobbox...why wait? You can meet like minded folk who are jazzed 'bout building-And did we mention how desperate the rest of us are for Architects & Engineerers with lots of reality... field tested types are still a rare commodity!.
My oldest son has been accepted into an engineering school. Tuition and books paid for the next 4 years. For the past 6 years he has worked for me in summers and weekends. Now he says he wants to put it off and work for a year and then go to school.(His scholarship will not be taken away if he takes a year or two off). But I know the rat race, ah money, ah money for tools ah money for wine and women. I said that same thing and did not go to school until I was in my late 20's, got a degree worked in doors, burned out and am back to building. He reads these posts,so what kind of feedback can he get. It all biols down to what he wants now. He's old enough amd mature enough to take care of himself. But what would you do ?
*Go to school now. I worked my way through school, a semester in school, a semester working, for many years. I couldn't do school now, I'm not that smart or focused anymore. I'm only 29. Engineering school is tough! It requires focus like you've never had to find before. You just can't do it when you're older (at least I can't).Besides, if he makes it, and gets a real job, he'll be ahead of the game if he gets there in four years instead of six.
*I can tell you what I did. When I was accepted to a good school senior year, I still didn't understand why I was going -- it was what good students at my high school just did -- and asked around for "alternatives." I was told there weren't any but to goof off for a year (backpack across Europe etc.), flip burgers, or (gasp) go to trade school. And warned if I didn't go now I never would. (why?)I didn't have any bright ideas so off I went. I was miserable and left after one semester, went home, was bored and idle, so I took up flight instructing at the school where i learned the year before ... it was one marketable skill I did have. I realized what I'd wanted all along was to work, to be disciplined and self-sufficient. (I'm annoyed when people call it my "year off," I prefer "year away from school.") After a year I went back to school because I wanted to: I'd seen the opportunities open to folks without and with degrees, and was simply more attracted to the latter.So I went back for personal satisfaction, not to satisfy other people -- a big difference in the mind of a young adult taking control of his life. I was also more focused on the kinds of things I wanted to study, and graduated in three years. OK, so I'm not in that field now (oops, but lots of people switch fields one or more times during their lives nowadays) but I did get a good liberal arts education, learning the discipline and skills to branch out in other directions. Engineering, if part of a broad 4-year curriculum, can do the same ... there will be time to lateral focus before he graduates ... or perhaps even to bail and go pre-med!It really depends on your kid. If he earned a scholarship he must have aptitude and good academic skills ... so I imagine he'll be drawn to school like I was and doesn't need to be shoved into it (some kids do!). A year of real work, more than a summer job, can really clear your head. Plus your son is lucky enough to have a good skill already, building, and a job available to him (right?), so he has better stuff to do than the burger thing. I agree that once you go it's better to go full time if you can. Get it over with ... geez, I spent 7 years full-time in my 20's. But as far as how old he is, he has a good 60 years left on him, don't rush too much. For example, law school was a lot easier for those of us with a couple of years in and perspective from the "real world."I wish him luck -- and congratulations on what he's achieved already!P.S. He's been working for you since he was TWELVE? What kind of sweatshop you running out there?!? :)
*Go to school NOW ! Do not pass go, do not collect $200.The longer he waits to commit, the greater the chance he will never do it. I've been there. The years slip by very quickly. Once you establish a lifestyle it's hard to reverse. Also, the only people left around to associate with are those that didn't go. They're a REAL good influence. Get the degree, then take a year off if you want. You'll enjoy it much more when you're 23 than when you're 18.Like it or not, life is like a long distance race. You can sit out the first 10 laps then jump in and hope to compete. I could go on and on . . .Eric
*School. Going back with a family is TOUGH. I did it & it was rough. Still need to finish some course work but lifestle & family dictate otherwise.Andrew, That is not a sweatshop. My 7 year old son goes with me to help cleanup & bitches that I'm goofing off. Kids are a worse slave driver than we are. We are already drilling into his head that school comes first. No partying your brains out instead. & no contracting. Who needs the stress?
*I would vote for school. I went briefly and quit to do what I really enjoyed... building. Less theory-more results at the end of the day type of thing.It has worked well for me- come to think of it I actually turned down a four year free ride- to do what I loved doing. Now I'm old enough to have some patience and perspective. The biggest thing that I lament is the friendships and bonds I missed forming by not staying in college.My wife and I frequently do things with her old college buddies and they remember the fun and comraderie and I miss not having that...for what it's worth...Almost forgot- I'm pretty certain when I die I won't be wishing I'd spent more time working...
*First thought, do the school, then the year off. But as Andrew D. said, it depends on the kid. Back in the dark ages when I graduated from High School, there was a major factor, the Vietnam War, that helped me decide. My father was also self employed, not as builder, but as a farmer. So I grew up on a farm and worked for my father from day one, way more than six years. As graduation approached, I was pretty clueless about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. My father offered me a choice, he would help me start farming, or help me go to school. I was leaning towards the farming option, but I also had a very low selective service lottery number. Despite the war, I was seriously thinking about giving Uncle Sam two years of my life and hoping, not my whole life. Somehow through the efforts of my family and teachers, I ended up going to engineering college. The first year was okay. An achedemic wizard I wasn't, but my grades were solid middle ground. The second year was horrible, I struggled with one class and almost failed another. I was really wondering if I was really cut out for school. I wish I had a dime for everytime I wanted to quit, but nobody give me a dime and somehow I didn't quit.I had never failed a class before but in my 3rd year I did. I was pissed at my advisor for suggesting the class and at myself for accepting that suggestion. I decided some changes were in order, and come hell or high water I was going to finish what I had started. I figured out what classes I needed to take and in what order and I set off to finish college. I actually got pretty decent grades my last 4 semesters of school. (It took 9 semesters and summer school to finish. Some think that engineering school should be a 5 year professional program instead of 4). On reflection, had I dropped out of school, I doubt that I would have ever returned. I watched any number of my peers change majors (engineering, to geology, to public health, to delivery man) and resolved not to do that. I have watched people go back to school after starting families. The ones that succeeded..., now there was the face of determination. It sounds like he has done well in High School, so he probably has good study habits and he knows how to go to school. Those skills get mighty rusty quick if they are not used. The one thing I regret was not taking more time after college for a small sabatical. Being pretty much broke and worried about getting a job (1972) I goofed off a whole month before starting my job. It was in the dead of the winter in the midwest so things were really exciting ;-) in that month off.Given today's job market I don't think taking off a year after college would diminish one's marketability in any way. My recommendation would be school first then the sabatical. Good luck to both of you.
*Go to school. Now that I'm out on my own, I wish I had.