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Dear Wendy

My 19 y/o son dropped out of college and now his only "goal" is to be waiter.

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This topic contains 64 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by Stonegypsy Stonegypsy 2 days, 19 hours ago.

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  • #850945 Reply

    My 23 year old daughter graduated top in her class in nursing school. Worked for a few years and had an addiction problem and went into rehab. She has been clean for 5 months. She’s a smart girl with a good head. She has a degree in nursing. Due to her her rehab she had 90 days off work. I think she’s embarrassed to go back to her recent job do to her rehab. Graduated in the top of her class in high School. She wants to waitress the rest of her life. I’m trying to direct her into a career that she may have benefits and insurance and a 401k and I’m not sure what to do. I’m taking things slowly and I realize she may need a break right now. There’s nothing wrong with waitressing but I feel she could be much more, no offense to any waitresses that are reading this. I’m sure I’ve offended some and I apologize

    #850948 Reply

    @david. I think you are doing the right thing, taking it slow and not pressuring her faster than she is ready. If she’s holding down steady employment and paying her bills she might be moving at the pace she’s able to, right now. Trust her to figure out her own margins; nursing is a great field, but it tends to come with a lot of stress and access to drugs. While it would be great for her to contribute to a 401k and keep her insurance, she might need to work on herself before she goes back to that field.

    Focus on her successful sobriety. If she’s healthy and able to pay her bills and that’s the most important thing, right now. In time, maybe she will return to nursing or use her degree to set herself on a different career path. It may not be the path you envisioned but 23 is pretty young.

    If she hasn’t taken time off from school or work maybe she needs to wait tables for awhile in order to figure out a “sweet spot”. Consider how many people lose their battle with addiction every day, and just try to enjoy having her. She’s past the age where you can push her past embarrassment if it isn’t what she wants, anyway.

    #851056 Reply

    I took AP classes, was in the top 2% of my high school, went to a prestigious private college on a near-full scholarship and graduated with high marks. My boyfriend got average grades in high school in average classes, took a few college courses and had to drop out for financial reasons. Where did we meet? At our shared crappy retail job. Even if I had a clue what I wanted to do at that point (I didn’t), it was in the middle of the recession and jobs simply did not exist. We’ve both since figured it out- I went to grad school and work happily in the non-profit sector; he works as a residential tech for a cable/internet company. I still technically make more than him, but the room for growth at his position is surprisingly incredible, and in five years, that probably won’t be the case.

    Each path is different. People just need to find their own.

    And oh yeah- I might be more educated, but my boyfriend is the smarter one. If I had labeled him a loser because he didn’t get a good degree, I would have missed out on getting to love the greatest person I’ve ever known.

    #852153 Reply
    Ann Hernandez

    Dear Sue-
    I am sad to hear about the challenges you and your son are facing right now. It is hard when we have sacrificed to give our child opportunities only to have them throw those opportunities away. Regardless of whether they asked for us to sacrifice our not, it is still hard to have them choose not to take those opportunities. It feels like we are losing our dreams as well, like all our sacrifices were for naught. It is okay to feel angry but i suggest letting out the anger when you are alone. When you are with your son, just try to love him. I imagine that he actually feels conflicted right now and might even feel bad about hurting you. Often guys don’t know how to express those types of emotions and just react with anger as a means to protect their hearts. Try to not worry about what other people think or what their children are doing. What matters is your son and your relationship with him. Focus on what type of relationship you would like to have with him more than what his accomplishments are. I don’t know what he will choose to do in the future but consider whether you want to be included in his life or not. If he is sitting all alone in his apartment, he needs your love more than ever now. Perhaps someday down the line, he will go back to college. Even if he doesn’t, he can still have a happy life. So can you. It is okay to feel your grief at losing your dreams but don’t let them destroy your bond. That will only bring you more grief. Good luck. I am rooting for you both.

    #852230 Reply

    College is not the end all be all of a successful life. I spent 4 years after hs working crappy jobs until I found something I was good at that led to an actual career. I work for a great company, make decent money, and have plenty of flexibility to pursue other hobbies and passions. I have friends who have mountains of college debt who are barely making ends meet. My parents are and have been proud of me because I was self sufficient, regardless of whether I was taking the path they would have chosen for me. If they had responded by calling me a loser and a failure, I probably would have stopped speaking to them.

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