Should my fiancé go to graduate school?

StephenCampbell

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
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I'm just looking for general thoughts and suggestions, mainly just what you would do in our situation.

This year I'm turning 24 and my fiancé is turning 21.

We both want to buy a house and start a family as soon as possible. She's planning on being a stay at home mom.

In June she's finishing her BA, and if she doesn't go to graduate school we can pay off her undergraduate loans in a couple years, and then probably get a house and everything.

If she does a three year masters program, it delays everything by three or four years, and once she finishes it she'd just work for a year or two to pay off the loans and save up a downpayment for a house, and then quit to be a stay at home mom... which she'd be able to be sooner without the masters program.

Since she's not going to be working while raising children, the point of the masters would only be in case she ever has to work in the future for any reason, but in the short term the only work she'd be doing would be to pay off the loans, which would have been paid off already had she not gone to graduate school, so that would be kind of silly.

What do you think we should do? We're a traditional, family oriented couple, and she has no desire to have a career other than motherhood. Should she get the masters anyway?
 

StephenCampbell

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Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
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Try asking her what she wants to do. Then you will have your answer.
She doesn't want to go, but she's worried there might be a need for it later, or if I somehow lose all my work, or she wants to work after the kids have moved out... etc. Hence why I'm asking for advice from people who might have more experience than us.
 

StephenCampbell

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Sep 21, 2009
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Ultimately, it's probably whatever your fiancee wants to do, but I understand this dilemma is tough.
Well we're both uncertain. It could be wise to get it even with no plans to use it, or it could just be a waste of time and money.

It's not like she'd end up working while having kids if my income went down or something.. working while raising children isn't an option for her. So we'll be depending on my income whether or not she has a masters degree, as we're raising our kids.
 

ejb190

macrumors 65816
So basically she's going to go to grad school so she can work long enough to pay it off. No real goal of having a career in that field - just a back-up plan.

Three years of school and two or three to pay it off - 5-6 years seems a bit excessive for a "back-up plan". Grad school will be there as an option later on.

It sounds like you guys really want to settle down. That's okay. There's a lot of different ways couples do this family/career thing. My wife didn't care for the stay-at-home thing. She didn't have to work, but wants to. That means that I have to make some sacrifices so things get done around the house. And that's okay. We talked it though and agreed to it together. And I really think that's the key to it. Your marriage and family will change over time. A lot of communication and a bit of flexibility will take you a long way in getting though the twists and turns.
 

StephenCampbell

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Sep 21, 2009
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So basically she's going to go to grad school so she can work long enough to pay it off. No real goal of having a career in that field - just a back-up plan.

Three years of school and two or three to pay it off - 5-6 years seems a bit excessive for a "back-up plan". Grad school will be there as an option later on.

It sounds like you guys really want to settle down. That's okay. There's a lot of different ways couples do this family/career thing. My wife didn't care for the stay-at-home thing. She didn't have to work, but wants to. That means that I have to make some sacrifices so things get done around the house. And that's okay. We talked it though and agreed to it together. And I really think that's the key to it. Your marriage and family will change over time. A lot of communication and a bit of flexibility will take you a long way in getting though the twists and turns.
This is very helpful. Thank you.
 

puma1552

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Nov 20, 2008
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Sounds like even a BA is a waste of money, let alone grad school.

If she decides to graduate, do nothing career-wise and have kids right away, then expects to go into the work force X or XX years down the line with zero work experience and having been out of school for X or XX years, she will be in for a rude awakening.

What's the hurry to get married and have kids immediately after graduating?

There is value in spending a good few years just being a young married couple without kids. IME people that take this path are better off financially, and end up with better marriages, higher standards of living, and lower rates of divorce; I would imagine statistics echo that.

At 21, she doesn't even know what's out there, and at 24, you barely do either. Slow down, if you guys are right for each other then you'll still both be around in 4-5 years. No need to legally entwine yourselves as soon as possible when you presumably have little stability, financially or otherwise.
 

StephenCampbell

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Original poster
Sep 21, 2009
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Sounds like even a BA is a waste of money, let alone grad school.

If she decides to graduate, do nothing career-wise and have kids right away, then expects to go into the work force X or XX years down the line with zero work experience and having been out of school for X or XX years, she will be in for a rude awakening.

What's the hurry to get married and have kids immediately after graduating?

There is value in spending a good few years just being a young married couple without kids. IME people that take this path are better off financially, and end up with better marriages, higher standards of living, and lower rates of divorce; I would imagine statistics echo that.

At 21, she doesn't even know what's out there, and at 24, you barely do either. Slow down, if you guys are right for each other then you'll still both be around in 4-5 years. No need to legally entwine yourselves as soon as possible when you presumably have little stability, financially or otherwise.
We are already engaged and getting married in August. We don't need advice on those decisions which are happily and clearly already made. I was inquiring about the graduate school option for her.
 

sviato

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2010
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She's planning on being a stay at home mom.
Don't need a degree for that :D

Also depends on what she'd do a master's in, a lot of programs don't add much value in terms of job prospects.

On a side-note, she should consider going to work after school so you guys can maximize your DINK time... that's Dual Income No Kids :p
 

ucfgrad93

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Aug 17, 2007
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She doesn't want to go, but she's worried there might be a need for it later, or if I somehow lose all my work, or she wants to work after the kids have moved out... etc. Hence why I'm asking for advice from people who might have more experience than us.
I did grad school later in life and it was more difficult. Trying to balance work, school, wife, kids, etc. is quite challenging. I say do it now.
 

puma1552

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Nov 20, 2008
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I did grad school later in life and it was more difficult. Trying to balance work, school, wife, kids, etc. is quite challenging. I say do it now.
The best option is to work for a few years, then go to grad school. You know better what you want out of grad school, you can get more out of it, you have a much better chance of acceptance with real work experience, and your career prospects are better because a lot of places aren't interested in hiring masters/PhD holders with no experience (I work in chemical engineering and fresh PhD grads who went straight through start out at the same level as those with 4 year degrees FWIW).

But for the OP, an advanced degree isn't going to do much good sitting on a shelf for many years before potential use.
 

b3av3r

macrumors regular
Dec 9, 2012
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What is she planning on getting her master's in?

When did you decide she was not going to work? Because it sounds like you could have saved her undergraduate money as well if she has 0 chance of ever working in the next 18 - 20 years.

I think a degree and work experience is much more important than a master's and no experience. I think she will probably be low on the hiring list starting a career with a 20 year old degree and 0 work experience. I don't care what the career field there will be significant changes in 10 or 20 years and unless she stays current with journals, etc. her degree is fairly worthless.
 

Macky-Mac

macrumors 68030
May 18, 2004
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no......unless she has a burning desire to study something specific out of intellectual curiosity

To do it as a "maybe it'll be useful for a job I don't actually want or expect to ever get" would be a waste
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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Why spend all that time and money if she's not sure. Take a year off college and work in the real world for a while and then see if there's anything that might interest her.
 

Zombie Acorn

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Feb 2, 2009
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Masters degree after raising kids for 10-12 years and no relevant work experience is going to = a bad time. Some jobs will say shes over qualified for the masters degrees, other jobs that she would be qualified for will say she doesn't have enough relevant work experience.

Id suggest she go into the workforce for a couple years, get the debt paid off, have kids and then if she goes back to work later on in life she can pursue a masters.
 

0007776

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Is she the same girl you broke up with in late 2013, as per your previous threads?
Based on this thread I'd guess yes. And for the OP I'd say it's probably a very good idea for her to go and get the degree since erased on posts like this

Interesting replies.

How about this? I didn't have fun hanging out with her! We didn't share any passions! I felt guilty every time she sent a mushy text because I didn't feel the same way.

There were no serious problems, just no spark or desire or passion or FUN for me.

Is that enough?
Or this

Well first of all, I was exaggerating a bit in my last post, because a lot of people here didn't seem to understand how confident I am that she's not the one for me.

But the bulk of the answer to that question is that our relationship started online and long distance, and during that time I fell in love with her and we Skyped for literally 4+ hours a day.

For reasons I can't explain, after the first three months, when our relationship was no longer long distance, I never got to feeling about her in-person the way I had felt about her during the Skype days. But now we were three months in, and I was not clear on what I was feeling or what was going on. It's not like I could have said "oh, you're like a different person now that we're not long distance, I'm leaving you." Though I did communicate to her that I feel disoriented by the difference, because I'm into radical honesty.

As the months went on I became more and more uncomfortable being with her because the feelings I had when we were long-distance just weren't coming back. So I broke up with her in May. We got back together the next day though, because I missed her and I was confused and I just couldn't let go.

Between May and now we had a lot of good times together, mostly when I was able to not think about the future at all, and pretend that I am not almost certain that we're not going to end up together. That conversation kept coming up though obviously, because of the way I felt. I always tried to be completely honest with her, but I'm weak, and that weakness combined with the fact that it's technically true that I can't know for Sure how I'll feel in the future, caused me to feel very comfortable and good about being with her in the last several months.

The lack of fun and passion is what I am now perceiving from the perspective of being apart for over a week. For example, on Saturday I did an activity with a friend of mine who shares a certain passion that my girlfriend didn't, and I noticed I was having a lot more fun in the same type of situation than I was with my girlfriend. Just things like that.

In retrospect I feel that you're supposed to be more elated and excited to see your parter, and really loving every minute of it and having things you love to do together.

I used to think that if there were no major problems on paper, that that was a reason to stay in a relationship, but I think there also has to be a spark, and I've just recently learned that.
make me thing that this won't last too long and she will need to get that job. It doesn't seem like it has been long enough from those other threads for you to actually decide that you're ready for marriage for reasons other than being afraid of ending up alone if you don't do it now.
 

Scepticalscribe

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Jul 29, 2008
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Is she the same girl you broke up with in late 2013, as per your previous threads?
Based on this thread I'd guess yes. And for the OP I'd say it's probably a very good idea for her to go and get the degree since erased on posts like this



Or this



make me thing that this won't last too long and she will need to get that job. It doesn't seem like it has been long enough from those other threads for you to actually decide that you're ready for marriage for reasons other than being afraid of ending up alone if you don't do it now.
Yes. Actually, I had wondered when the interesting light cast by past posts and earlier threads would give rise to informed comment.

Alright. Even leaving aside those slightly…….intense……earlier threads, which, frankly, left me slightly uneasy, and I do wonder both at the intensity of feeling and at the different focus and direction this feeling takes depending on the OP's perspective at a given time.

Re this particular thread, I have a different take on this to many of the male posters, those offering the 'waste of time' and 'waste of money', arguments…..

Not surprisingly, as I am female. And I am the female daughter of a female mother whose father had somewhat retarded views towards advanced female education, which is why my mother didn't get a college degree until I was at high school and she was in her forties. She got that while working in paid employment, - holding two jobs over the summer - raising my brothers and I, and - receiving strong and passionate emotional and psychological (and physical -he stayed home the nights she attended classes) support from my father. Both of them thrived as a couple in a relationship, and we, as children, had an amazingly positive role model of a woman who worked, was there for us, and valued school enough to want to do it for herself and well as encourage us to want to achieve academically.

The bottom line is that life doesn't always work out as one might wish, irrespective of how 'traditional' one's perspective on gender roles might be. Women, especially women with families, need to be financially independent.

Basically, my view is that every woman in every relationship should be in a position where her economic & financial independence and autonomy does not become an issue, and is not dependent on the goodwill - or permission - of another person; that means, she works, and has a life and identity and income outside of the home. It means she has options if things go wrong (disaster, desertion, divorce, death…..you know, the stuff life throws at you).

It doesn't have to mean that she ought to work full time, unless she wishes or wants to. Part time work may satisfy her needs, psychologically and financially.

However, I must say that I always hear alarm bells whenever a male poster writes glowingly about 'we are both traditional and family oriented' (what is not family oriented about a woman holding down a job while also raising a family?) And, in my experience, whenever a male asks a public, family, or general audience whether his female partner should undertake further education, the answer he usually wishes to hear is 'No', not 'Yes'. Frankly, it is and should be your partner's decision....

This sort of mindset has always seemed to me to be as much about a desire for control and creating dependence as a preference for inhabiting - willingly or otherwise - traditionally constructed gender roles.

That is a general point. More specifically, I think it is bizarre to post a question on such a topic to an online audience in a tech and Apple forum; in my experience, I must say that nerds are such experts on the frailties and fallibilities of the human condition.

Of yet greater concern is the OP's earlier posting history. Me, I'd advise this lady to get at least 10 degrees, in ascending order of relevance and importance and future-proofed employability, ending with post-doc fellowships……..but then, maybe that is just me.



 
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