Tell your kids to study whatever they want

Click here to go to the NEW College Discussion Forum

Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Tell your kids to study whatever they want
By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:13 pm: Edit

Major in whatever they like. Go into the field they love.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:05 pm: Edit

You know Dstark, I used to think that what a person majored in actually mattered. Then I learned that Alan Greenspan (yeah, the head of the Fed and quite possibly the most important figure in world economics) majored in Music at Julliard! LOL Since then, I follow that same principle. Major in whatever you like and are good at. The rest will fall into place. A university is a place fo personal growth. A well-rounded education will be useful, not matter what the major.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:09 pm: Edit

Alexandre, did I ever tell you I like your posts? That my international friends hold both Berkeley and Michigan in the highest esteem?
My daughter is going to Michigan and is really looking forward to it.
Keep posting. This board needs an international presense.
I didn't know Greenspan majored in music.

By Txdad (Txdad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:00 pm: Edit

Alexandre, Not sure where you got the information about Greenspan majored in mushc. According to FRB, he was economics all the way: "Dr. Greenspan ... received a B.S. in economics (summa cum laude) in 1948, an M.A. in economics in 1950, and a Ph.D. in economics in 1977, all from New York University. Dr. Greenspan also has performed advanced graduate study at Columbia University." However, NYU is close to Julliard.

By Mini (Mini) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:03 pm: Edit

I think I already noted that more than 50% of Williams music majors in the past 5 years went on to medical school, which is higher than the percentage of biology majors.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:05 pm: Edit


ABCNews says that "The son of a stockbroker and retail worker, Greenspan displayed a gift for figures at a young age, often impressing his mother's cronies by solving mathematical puzzles in his head. After high school, Greenspan studied music at the Juilliard School and accepted his first real job as a clarinet and saxophone player in a swing band. Notes ceded to numbers when, at 19, he enrolled as an economics student at New York University. In the early '50s, Greenspan, short on cash, dropped out of a doctoral program at Columbia University to become a professional economist. (NYU later conferred his Ph.D. in 1977 without a dissertation.) "

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:05 pm: Edit

Everybody is right:

Who is Alan Greenspan?

Alan Greenspan is chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and arguably one of the most powerful individuals in the United States. Greenspan has demonstrated a sharp intellect along with an unusual ability to keep his independence while still following the trends of political power in Washington, D.C.

He was born in New York City in 1926, son of a stockbroker and a saleswoman. He showed early signs of mathematical genius, yet after high school chose to attend the Julliard School of music and later played clarinet and saxophone in a traveling swing band in the mid 1940s.

He abandoned a music career to obtain bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from New York University and begin doctoral studies at Columbia University. He left Columbia when he ran out of money and took a job later as an economist for the National Industrial Conference Board. (He eventually got his Ph.D. from New York University in 1977.)

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:22 pm: Edit

I work with someone who was a child prodigy in music; he went to and actually taught at Julliard. However, at some point in his life he got the computer bug and dropped out of music and got an MS in computer science. Of course, this person was quite unique in that while attending Julliard, he filled the gap of not having math classes available to him by teaching himself calculus - just because he thought he should know it! Quite a unique individual.

I guess this further supports the article, but I wonder whether more "typical" students would fare as well with radical career changes for which their college degree did not provide approprite background. The typical history major will not likely make the jump to engineering or computer science without a whole lot of re-education.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:41 pm: Edit

Thanks for the compliment Dstark. I love this forum. It is a great to see so many parents and adults take the time from their busy schedules to act as a sounding board to many of the students who seek some advice and an open ear.

I wish your daughter 4 great years at Michigan. She will, I have no doubt, enjoy her time in Ann Arbor. I will be traveling to Ann Arbor in November myself to watch the Michigan vs Northwestern game. Actually, I travel to Ann Arbor twice a year, spending half my vacation time in that charming little city.

Txdad, Greenspan (my boy! LOL) did indeed study Mathematics and Economics at NYU and then Columbia, but he first studied Music at Julliard.

By Txdad (Txdad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:44 pm: Edit

Alexandre, Marite, thanks for the information. Interesting to know he started off as a musician.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:52 pm: Edit

Dstark and Alexandre, I hope I can remember down the line that you both have this connection to UMichigan. My younger child will be applying there this fall and we are planning to visit next month. Sometimes I can't keep track of who is going where on this forum. I wish I had a master list! Have never been to Ann Arbor but hear great things. It so happens that UMichigan is one of the top schools in my daughter's field, musical theater.


By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 05:58 pm: Edit

As many, many have said, there is a connection between math and music. Not much of a one between math and English, or anthropology, or history....

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:00 pm: Edit

Are you kidding Suan? Like I would let any of you forget my connection to Michigan! LOL By the way, let me know if you need recommendations on restaurants and things to do. For now, I definitely recommend walking around North Campus (that's where the music school is at), stroll around Kerry Town and have dinner at Zingerman's...the Best Deli West of NYC!!! If at all possible, attend a football game. If you postpone your trip by a couple of months, I would gladly take you around Ann Arbor myself! hehe

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:10 pm: Edit

Soozie -- I have a friend whose daughter is at Michigan, also a musical theater person. She is from DC, so she is attending with in-state tuition (a perk for DC residents). I hear she is very happy there.

By Concerneddad (Concerneddad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:22 pm: Edit

Gee, do you think Columbia isn't just a tad bit sad that it could not come up with some GFT $$ for Greenspan?

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:23 pm: Edit

Yes, Zingerman's is great.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Back to the topic ... I just wanted to say that my mother always told me to major in whatever I wanted, she did not care what it was. Quite different from most people's stereotype of the South Asian immigrant parent, btw!

I've told my D the same thing -- major in whatever you like, doesn't matter. I honestly think it doesn't matter, with the possible exception of engineering and computer sci majors, who can likely get good, upwardly mobile jobs with a bachelor's degree in their field.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Love Zingerman's. Susan, you have to go there. Rhonda63, you have a smart mother.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 07:01 pm: Edit

Zingerman's! I was just thinking of suggesting that to Susan and here are all these other posts already. I lived in Ann Arbor when it opened and that was a truly big deal. Everyone loved it.

I went to graduate school at Michigan. Loved that too.

By Momrath (Momrath) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 06:07 am: Edit

I went to Michigan in the late (and crazy) 60's. I wish I had known about this board when I took my son to Ann Arbor a couple of years ago as I could have used some recommendations. All my favorite restaurants had gone with the wind. (Any one old enough to remember the Pretzel Bell or Drakes?)

Ann Arbor is still a wonderful college town though. My son said "Wow, a whole city of kids!"

By Garland (Garland) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 08:24 am: Edit

Omigod, Momrath--I LIVED in DRakes!!! The hot chocolate with the little cookie on the side! I wrote half my papers there. Was devestated when I took both kids back for college visits to find it gone. I remember Pretzel Bell, too.

At least the Brown Jug is still the same.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 09:56 am: Edit

Ann Arbor is a special town. Years ago my husband was sent to run a company in Toledo. Ann Arbor saved our sanity. When we left he moved the company there!

I'll throw in my 2 cents on money and happiness. Having grown up without any I really did think that wealthy people were really happy. Their kids certainly looked happy in college too! My early jobs and my husband's had us mingling with wealthy folks very young. The first time I heard the "not jet money" sentiment I thought the guy was kidding. Learning quickly that he was serious was disturbing. I do think it's possible to enjoy money and what it brings, but I agree that most don't. From what I see, there is more greed and jealousy, more one upsmanship, among the wealthy than any other group. I still wonder why people allow big egos to ruin their fun.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 10:10 am: Edit

Thanks for the suggestions when visiting UMichigan. Will be lining up that visit shortly. Rhonda, thanks for sharing about your friend's child in that program. My D knows someone in the program as well. It is highly regarded in this field. My daughter happens to prefer NYU but needs to see UMichigan as she has only visited NYU, though has wanted to go there for years. It is another top program in this field. She also prefers the location. I have told her that everyone says Ann Arbor is great but nothing tops NYC in her mind, what can I say. But we are definitely going there, twice this year...once for this visit and again for her audition.

As far as majors, I do not care what my kids major in. I want them to pursue whatever they want. I have one child who has known what she wants to go into since she was a young child and it has never wavered, only grown more intense. Some parents would not be happy about someone pursuing theater but I fully support her dreams. My other kid has an inkling of her major (is about to start college) but in her case, it is not a field one really studies until college so it is hard to know for sure. I am talking about architecture. But the kid going for musical theater can confidently say she KNOWS she loves this field cause she has been doing it her whole life. So, it is a different kind of path. Therefore, she is applying to professional training programs, so to speak....conservatory style...BFA. The other kid applied to liberal arts schools that have her intended major but would eventually be going to graduate school for professional training. Either way, I totally support their pursuits and have no feelings one way or the other about their choices. I am glad they have direction and ambitions. I am not worried so much about their futures. I know they will do fine no matter what they go after.


By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 10:25 am: Edit

Susan, good to see you on the boards and I agree. I too would not steer my children toward a particular major, let alone career. I agree with the article that Dstark posted that to some extent this has to do with having an optimistic view of life and of your children. Unrealistic or impractical, perhaps. But I've never, ever heard anyone regret that they pursued their dream. I HAVE heard many, many people regret that they abandoned their dream to pursue a safe path or to make money. As far as wealth or poverty and happiness, I think that probably extremes at either end may tend to make people unhappy and that everything in between is far, far more related to a person's spiritual and intellectual life and relationships and those can be good at any income level.

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 10:30 am: Edit

Looks like a lot of Michigan folks on this board. Add me to the list. Boy, do I remember the P-Bell and its 21st birthday tradition! (worst hang over in my life) There was also the V-Bell - I used to live right across the street from it.

By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 12:57 pm: Edit

I am still grateful to Michigan for beating Ohio State in 1995. Hubby and I had a ball in Pasadena watching our alma mater Northwestern in the Rose Bowl!

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 01:52 pm: Edit

I'm glad you had a good time. The 90s were a very good decade for Michigan-Ohio State football. At least if you were a Michigan fan. I miss Coach Cooper.

By Songman (Songman) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 01:55 pm: Edit

Greenspan's educational background according to Bloomberg:

C o l l e g e s / U n i v e r s i t i e s




Funny, I majored in music first ,then went to NYU business school. Gee, I never made it to the Federal Reserve though.

Well speaking of Greenspan in 20 minutes he is expected to indicate that rates will go up by 25 basis points or 1/4 of 1%.

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 07:29 pm: Edit

Interesting about Greenspan.Thanks for the stats Songman.-By the way, do you write the songs or sing the songs? I had a friend once who was such a Barry Manilow fan, she would shake whenever he sang and go to every concert.
I don't think I could MAKE my kids major in anything. They have the gameplan.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 08:26 pm: Edit

Back to the original question, does anyone think it's wise to steer kids away from majors when you think it will be hard to get a job, not just one that doesn't pay very much?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 09:19 pm: Edit

NO, I don't think one should steer kids away. You could discuss what you know about the field or job options in terms of sharing information. That way they are making informed decisions. But I don't think a parent should sway a kid against his dream or interest. There is nothing wrong with sharing information in a discussion so that the kid weighs things. But I think kids should pursue what interests them. I have a kid going into a field that is very difficult to make it in (theater) but I would never think of steering her away. She has the ambition, drive, talent, and desire. There is no way I would think to stop her from pursuing her goals. And if she does not make it? Nothing lost. There are many related things she could do. She will be educated. She is smart. I am not worried.

By the way, what I think is just my own point of view and I don't believe that it is a matter of "should" or "should not". But this is simply what I would do or think in my own family.


By Jrpar (Jrpar) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 09:37 pm: Edit

I think college is a great time to study something you might not pursue as a career. I honestly don't think it makes any difference what you major in; just pick something that's interesting to you, and you'll do well in it. I was a biology major/econ minor - and went to law school. One of my roommates was an English major and went to Harvard Business School.

I am amazed by all the 17/18 year olds on this board who are so certain of what they want to study.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:16 am: Edit

I have advised my daughter to major in anything she wants.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:19 am: Edit

Is making money important to your daughter Dstark? Does she want a Bay Area home?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:26 am: Edit

Yes. Probably.
I have told her that finding something she loves to do is more important than money.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:34 am: Edit

I have told my kids the same thing, that it's my opinion of what makes people happiest. In all honesty I know that my kids have grown up thinking nice Bay Area homes are "normal", as is travel, good restaurants and other things that are really luxuries. So we also have the conversations about what it takes to get those things. They didn't see the sacrifices all of this took, they were too young. I really do wonder what they will feel if they follow their heart and have to live much more modestly....are they really able to fully consider the tradeoffs when deciding what to do at 20? How much info, advice, guidance is appropriate?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:43 am: Edit

They will figure things out.
They will be able to live more modestly.
Watching the kids make their own choices. What could be better?

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:43 am: Edit

Mom, Dstark, I believe that one must pursue a career that is appealing but at the same time, lucrative enough to be financially independent. My passion is teaching, but there is no money in it. My gift is finance and investment banking, and I really was very seccuessful at it (especially in crossborder M&As and Asset Management) but I hated it. So I struck a balance and went for something that I like and that can still support my expensive habits! LOL

But I don't think that somebody's major will limit their career options, provided the student is resolute and driven. Many of my friends majored in Engineering knowing they would never be Engineers. They did it because they enjoy the academic side of it and they knew that their anatlytical skills would be desired by most types of companies, from the Investment Banks to the Consulting firms. Many friends of mine studied English only to end up going to Law School. I know people who majored in Music at Michigan and ended up in medical school. College to me is nothing more than a place to nuture one's intellectual and emotional growth. A time when people develop into the adults they were meant to be. What they study shouldn't matter if the university is respected. The fact that they did well proves that they can learn anything and learn it well. I majored in Economics. My friends who majored in Finance were no better prepared for the realties of the Investment Banking world that I was. And I wasn't better prepared than some of my colleagues who had majored in English or Engineering. We all brought something different to the table, but none of us were prepared for the realities of the real world. However, we were all ready to tackle them in our own ways...thanks in part to our educations but mostly thanks to the parents who raised us and to the professionals who took us under their wings.

By Webhappy2 (Webhappy2) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:47 am: Edit

"I honestly think it doesn't matter, with the possible exception of engineering and computer sci majors, who can likely get good, upwardly mobile jobs with a bachelor's degree in their field. "

Mobile, yes (I wouldn't mind living in China/India for a while). Good, maybe (living around the world seems exciting to me). Upward, possibly (I'm assuming the developing countries will also practice stock options, etc. for a while).

The two secure paths: doctor/dentist and law.

Making $$ is extremely important, at least if you want to continue living in (most areas of) America. Those with money will continue to make more money. Those without money will see their opportunities diminish.

IMO, it's better to just stick it out and sock away enough money to secure your financial independence. If you choose a right field/profession, you should easily accumulate enough assets by 40, and then you have 30+ more years to pursue your (other) interests.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:52 am: Edit

Alexandre, I agree, financial independence is important. I agree your major won't limit your options.
I read somewhere that music majors are the most sucessful getting into medical school so your observations jibe with what I read.
I surprised my parents today and went up to visit them with my daughter.
We ended up eating at a Lyon's Restaurant, not exactly gourmet.
My dad didn't care. Eating with his son and grandaughter, he would be happy eating cardboard.
I agree with the above link.
I see too many unhappy rich people.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:52 am: Edit

Thanks Alexandre, I really value your thoughts because you were raised much like my children. Good values, high expectations and the George V!! Striking the balance is everything. How do you grow up with the exposure you have had and not want at least some aspects of the life? In the Bay Area even a modest home is out of reach for most. I agree that undergrad major is not the issue. But at some point everyone does have to decide whether or not to acquire the background to have access to what they want. None of us want to push our children towards money, but I seriously wonder whether those who grew up with it, or wanting it, will be happy adults living more modestly.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:56 am: Edit

Webhappy, if that is what you want go for it.
Being a doctor, not necessarily a secure path anymore.
Wasting twenty years of my physical prime doing something for money...
Then again, being 60 and not being financially secure would suck.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:57 am: Edit

And yes Dstark, I know many unhappy rich people. I also know many happy ones who have good values and achieve a wonderful balance.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:59 am: Edit

Well, I had no money and I have money.
Money is better.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:06 am: Edit

Webhappy2, I assume you are young because most people my age (44) no longer believe what you say about achieving your financial goals and then doing what you want. However, my household has done exactly that. It was not a huge sacrifice. Although we worked very hard, it was at things we really loved. But at 41, we hung up the professional hats, moved to where we wanted to live and took up the interests we had filed away. Mine will make me very little money going forward, my husband's proved to be something that would have probably made him wealthy but wasn't the sure bet of his first career. It's all good and I can recommend the path.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:14 am: Edit

At age 9 I made the mistake of telling my mother I wanted to be a doctor. At age 11 I made the mistake of winning a science fair. From then on, any comments I made about other career paths were dismissed by my parents, "There will never be a successful woman...sportscaster (this was my strongest desire)." From HS on, inertia took over and next thing I knew (okay it was a lot of work) I was done with residency...I have no idea where my head was (well, it was buried in a book), but I don't recall ever really reflecting on whether or not this was what I wanted!!

I have consciously resisted the temptation to suggest, guide, urge, whatever my kids to make too early a specific decision about what they want to do with their lives. As we all know, many of the jobs they will do 20 years from now have not even been invented yet (okay, there will always be doctors). I want to give them the luxury of indecision that I never had- and I want them to have a sufficiently broad education that doors continually open for them.

As for the money part- we have tried to let real life set a stage for them to help understand that money brings choices and opportunity. They live in a world of highly impoverished people and very privileged people. I think and hope they are very grounded in this regard.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:16 am: Edit

When I read threads here about parents insisting on a college or major, I wonder how they achieved that dynamic in their homes. In mine, my children would feel free to ask if I was nuts should I tell them what their career should be. Damn! My children have grown up privileged in areas of privilege. When my youngest was about five, she seriously asked whether her then best friend, the child of a surgeon, was poor. They lived in a house far more modest than that of her other classmates. The irony is that this family, under the weight of med school loans, did have far less money than most in our town. So we learned a lesson and made sure their exposure became more broad. While we tried to keep our kids grounded, we did want to enjoy the fruits of our labor. So our kids grew up in nice homes, traveled extensively, etc. But there was always a dialogue about most people not living this way. They have always been aware that our educations were the single most important enabling factor. That our willingness to take entrepreneurial risks, work long hours, move around the country and otherwise do things that were not the norm created the lifestyle that was not the norm. In the end there is no mystery to my children about what they need to do should they want to emulate our lives. They know how doctors live in our community, teachers, engineers....But I think many families don't talk about these things. I'm not sure why. It seems to be politically correct to tell your kids to just follow their heart, not to chase money, to be more virtuous than parents who may not feel rewarded by their life choices. My approach is just plain pragmatic. My kids will wake up on a different coast today than they did 2 days ago, and on a different continent 2 days frow now, normal to them. If they are planning for their kids to have this lifestyle, they need to be well aware of what it takes. And if they're planning to be teachers, they need to be very aware of how they'll live.

By April_Mom04 (April_Mom04) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:27 am: Edit

Mom101: I agree with you, and understand what you are saying. A healthy, financially successful lifestyle does not just happen without some planning. A little guidance and wisdom goes a long way. I am also very pragmatic in guiding my children in their college choices.

My son, who is very gifted in science and math, was very influenced by a history teacher in high school, even thinking that this was a major he would like to pursue. We discussed this, but the bottom line is, he can study history anytime. Getting in a career like engineering (which he is well-suited for) will enable him to have the financial freedom to pursue other interests later.

Similarly, my daughter is gifted in art, but this is a difficult area to make a decent living. We are supplementing her art degree with a license from a vocational school. She is very excited about this, because she understands that the practicing license she gets will give her financial freedom and stability while she earns her degree. And combining the practical knowledge gained at the vocational school with the art degree will open many doors for her after graduation.

I have seen too often students who spend 4 years of college studying easy, fun stuff. Then when they get hit with the harsh realities of actually having to find a job, they return to school for an MBA while working at Target.

My theory is not to waste the money and time. I agree it's politically correct to tell kids to "follow their dreams", but so many will be disappointed when they are faced with the reality of the current job market.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:30 am: Edit


Yours is not a unique situation, though you are more affluent than 95% of the population. The fact is that higher expectations are the norm for the children of the baby boomer generation. How they will be able to finance these higher expectations, I do not know. I'm not even talking about expensive travel or second homes, etc... but just maintaining the lifestyle to which, we boomers, have accustomed our children.

It's important to discuss the implications of different career choices, but not to limit the discussion to the financial ones alone.

>>And if they're planning to be teachers, they need to be very aware of how they'll live.>>

If my children wanted to be teachers, I would not focus only on the financial aspects of their choice, but also on the toll of dealing day in day out with unruly students, inflexible bureaucrats, irate or irresponsible parents, and other aggravations. If they wanted to be lawyers, I would point out the high proportion of law graduates who drop out of the profession before they come up for partner because of the excessively long hours and the tedium of much lawyering. And if they wanted to be entrepreneurs, I'd remind them that it's okay to lose your shirt in a venture, just make sure you have another shirt to wear.

By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:33 am: Edit

I majored in theatre at NYU Tisch, then managed an Italian restaurant for 2 years, ran my own graphic design business after that and I'm now back in school for a bachelors in neurioscience which I'll follow up with law school. And perhaps when I get older, I'll teach.

You only get one life--make the most of it!


The noodleman

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:39 am: Edit


Do you ever think that you should have studied something else at NYU, such as neuroscience, or are you glad you studied theatre, even if it did not end up being your career?

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 09:56 am: Edit

Does anyone besides me think it is better to give the dream a try? to do the impractical when young and just see if it works out before giving up? Friends of my parents had a son who begged for a subsidized year, in lieu of professional school, to pursue a writing career. He wrote a very successful play & sold the movie rights. Okay it doesn't usually work out that way & did absolutely stun our little world, but what if he had been practical & gone straight on to law school and waited 20 years to start writing? Much better IMO for an artist to spend a few years with a day job and pursuing the dream. Or for a scholar to not give up the field just because *most* people don't get permanent jobs. I know lots of people who went back to professional school at about 30 and it doesn't seem to have hurt them economically; they did have the chance to see if their other interests could provide a living wage. I know lots more that succeeded against the odds in making a living doing what they actually enjoy. Of course, I understand many truly want to study law, medicine, business, etc and it isn't a sacrifice at all for them to pursue these career paths. It is their dream.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:13 am: Edit

Emptynester, I TOTALLY agree! Maybe I'm a hopeless dreamer too, but I think not. Too many people reach middle age and wonder what if. The time to try things is before you get saddled with mortgages and expenses related to your kids. I wasn't encouraged to follow my dream, so I will do it after second child is off to school. The fact is though, that now my dad is gone and mom is older and I'm an only child, so I may not ever get a completely free shot. That's life. I'm not complaining, though, having a great family is a dream in and of itself. I am encouraging my son to pursue his dreams. Real sky's the limit stuff. And I will do the same with my daughter.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit

Emptynester, I'm with you. I think you should major in what interests you in college. Pursue your interests and dreams. Yes, it is good to be informed of harsh realities and so forth. Then these young adults can make decisions as the go down their paths.

I also don't think that your college major necessarily predisposes you to certain careers or incomes down the line.

One of my kids is going to pursue a degree in musical theater, a field that is difficult to make it in. I could never imagine discouraging this pursuit. It is her deep deep passion and what she truly excels at. But I am very aware that it does not mean that is the only thing she can or will ever do. She is a very strong student, a terrific writer and I know that if some day her career on stage did not pan out, she could direct (is good at that), choreograph, or even write the scripts, plus likely several other things that I am not even aware of...just mentioning things she also does well with and enjoys. But to not ever pursue her major passion and talent would be a shame. I can't see stopping someone from going for their dream. I could not stop her if I wanted to (not that I do) cause you'd have to know her but she is unstoppable!

As far as your own kids living the lifestyle they were used to growing up....I think this is a choice they gotta make and do what works best for them. You can educate them at what it takes to obtain that lifestyle and so forth. Obviously, all of us here strongly believe in our kids being educated...we all have that in common I believe. You can talk to kids about how certain decisions can impact their opportunities or incomes later. But then it is all up to them.

My kids have led a comfortable life but not one of wealth. I would say I grew up in a lifestyle a bit up from the one I have now, maybe not that radically different but my parents do live among folks who have quite a lot. My parents live in two nice homes and have traveled the world. My dad was able to retire at 60 and live very well. I grew up in a community where many had a lot. While my kids have had it pretty good too, they live in a community where that is not true of everyone. They have friends who are what many of you would think of as poor. I rather like that my kids have exposure and friendships with kids of various economic backgrounds. They have had out of state friends they know from summer programs who are very wealthy. They have seen it all. They adjust to these differences. They might visit a friend out of state who lives in some ritzy mansion type place or has a famous dad, my younger one's boyfriend is visiting us right now from out of state and his grandfather has a jet, and at the same time, they have friends who live in a double wide trailer or subsidized housing. So, in that regard, they are aware of all lifestyles pretty much, other than perhaps inner city ones. My daughter had a roommate this summer whose dad threw the mom a 50th birthday party where he flew 50 of her friends from Texas to DC and had a major affair there, published a book of her 50 favorite things for guests, had the room filled with famous paintings (Monet, etc) and all the paintings were gifts for the mom, etc. etc. My daughter shared this with me cause it is night and day from her friends at home. She may have a friend here who has never even been on a plane. So, I get the dilemma some of you are discussing about what your kids are used to. But I think your kids will have to decide for themselves what lifestyle they want. I am content with my lifestlye and I don't have what my parents did. I don't have an extreme difference but it is not in the same league either. I am fine with that.

I think you give your kids opportunities and let them soar down the path they choose. They know what they had growing up and can think about what they want down the line for themselves.


By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit

"As far as your own kids living the lifestyle they were used to growing up....I think this is a choice they gotta make and do what works best for them".

I am sort of wondering if I am the only one on this board, out of our flower-child generation, who at a very young age made the decision against "living the lifestyle they were used to growing up"?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:39 am: Edit

College should be a time to explore who you are, figure out what you like to do and what you don't, what kind of people you like, a time to take chances and push the envelope.
It is also OK to make mistakes and realize you can still survive and prosper.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:20 am: Edit

emptynester....I don't know that I consciously resisted their lifestyle but I don't live in a community anything like where I grew up, something hard for my parents to relate to though they got used to it. I grew up in suburbia. I would call it upper middle class. Again, they live a lifestyle that is quite comfortable. Also there were many people of the same religion. But now I live in a rural area, hardly anyone of my religion, a wider spectrum of socio-economic classes and so forth. It definitely is very different from whence I came. It is not like I am living poor or anything radically different....I am educated well as is my husband and both of us have worked as professionals. We are comfortable but not wealthy. Our community and my kids' peers are simply quite a contrast from the communities my parents live in. Again, it is not like I made some conscious decision to reject their lifestyle but did end up doing what I wanted. I also have a sibling who lives in Alaska...he is a professional with a graduate degree. But the lifestyles we lead are not like our parents'. My parents adjusted though.


By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:30 am: Edit


Objectively, one could argue that it was a "waste of time" since I am not in the theatre now. Subjectively, it was exactly what I wanted to do at the time, and so was fruitful as a journey, if not as a final destination.

I'm glad my parents didn't give me a hard time about pursuing such a course. If they had, I'd have always second-guessed them. Instead, they gave me space to make decisions --good or bad-- on my own.

Wisdom gained through experience, in my opinion, is better than wisdom gained through fiat. It takes longer, but it is genuine.

-El Noodle

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:30 am: Edit

I think there is actually concensus here! Make sure the kids have information and exposure and then they can decide. But I have to say, I know a lot of young people wondering what to do because they didn't have reality in mind when the chose art history as a major and they were so busy finding themselves in colleges that they didn't get the grades for a good grad school!

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:36 am: Edit

Noodleman: That's exactly what I was hoping to hear from you!

Mom101: A lot of students who were very good at whatever they were studying are still wondering what they want to be when they grow up. There's a lot of drifting into grad school as a way of delaying making a real decision.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:52 am: Edit

I would never want my kids to have the burden of having to maintain a certain lifestyle.
Noodleman is right.
Susan's parents adjusted.
We will too.
We are losing control.
My career did not exist when I started high school.
I just hope my kids are able to do what they want to do and find mates they can love and respect and vice versa.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:58 am: Edit

The only sure jobs that I can think of for the future are: 1) the military; 2) supply-chain management; and 3) supply-chain delivery/service clerk (think Wal-Mart.)

Pretty soon, all three will require masters degrees.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:00 pm: Edit

Lobbyists will always have jobs.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:09 pm: Edit

One of the (many) reasons I take my kids back and forth to my second "home" in rural south India repeatedly is to make sure they understand that, if they choose, they can live on (materially) very, very little, and be quite satisfied.

What is hard to live without is purpose. (though people can and do get used to that, too.)

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:12 pm: Edit

Hopefully, teachers will have better prospects in the future. I also thnink Nursing is coming up in the world. Human Resources will always be there...unfortunately! LOL I also think any job tied to aging populations will be booming in the future. So pension fund managers, homes and communities for the elderly, pharma companies etc... are set for the forseeable future.

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:13 pm: Edit here is something we can agree upon. Going to India makes me put things in perspective on many levels.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:21 pm: Edit

Prison guards. (just be sure you go to a top 10....)

By Optimizerdad (Optimizerdad) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:28 pm: Edit

Crime prevention. And maybe crime itself, since it does seem to pay. I can see it now, in my crystal ball - "Get a Harvard MBA! Learn to follow Kenneth Lay!"

(...and please, people - it's only a joke. Nothing against Harvard, it just had the right number of syllables)

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit

Re: Alexandre's post:
By chance, today's Boston Globe carried an article about nursing as a desirable career:

In poor job market, a rush to nursing
Schools around country flooded with applicants

By Charles Stein, Globe Staff | August 11, 2004

Some quotes from the article:

>>At Middlesex Community College the competition for spots in the nursing program is intense.

"It may be harder to get in here than at Harvard," said Brenda Loucks, a spokeswoman for the school. She is only half joking. Middlesex Community had 617 applicants for 60 nursing slots. Like Harvard, Middlesex Community accepted about 10 percent of those seeking admission.>>
>>Starting hospital nurses today can earn $40,000 to $50,000 in metropolitan Boston. Experienced nurses can earn up to $80,000 in the suburbs and up to $100,000 at Boston's teaching hospitals, administrators say.>>
>>Like many other students, Parena also wants some assurance there will be a job for him when he graduates. So far, the job market remains solid. "Nursing," Parena said, "isn't like computers where they will outsource jobs.">>

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:54 pm: Edit

My wife is currently in nursing school. She is a massage therapist who also has a practice working with Alzheimer's clients and just wants to be able to expand the range of services she is able to offer. The competition for a place at the local community college was INTENSE, far more so than the state university and, in terms of selectivity, probably about equivalent to Brown or Williams. (We were much more concerned about her getting admitted than about my d. going off to the northeast.)

And no legacies!

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:07 pm: Edit

There will always be a need for Pharmacists as well. Although drug companies will outsource research, pharmacists will have jobs.

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:08 pm: Edit


I respectfully disagree that future is that dim. The jobs are created by thinker. America is better tahn so many places beacuse of thinking. Indian is doing better lately beacuse red tape is cut and it allowed people to implement ideas. While I think going to HYP is better but it will be a waste of my kids intellectualism if they can not harness the power of thinking. So study whatever you like with a dose of reality as presented by AYn Rand. World alwyas and in future will be ruled by great thinkers who will invent new ideas and technologies.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:19 pm: Edit

Who in the world said the future is dim? Just because earning capacity may not be bright for the average American worker doesn't make the future dim in the least.

Average family income adjusted for inflation has been dropping in the U.S. since 1972. (World quality of life indices suggest that 1972-1973 were the years that quality of life -- which measures not only income, but environment, schools, family stability, # of hours worked -- was at its peak in the U.S., with a long, slow decline since then.) But this is not the case worldwide.

And who ever suggested that a growing number of supply chain managers, service workers, military, and prison guards are not part of a happy, healthy economy? (The only question is - for whom?)

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:21 pm: Edit

Chinaman is totally correct. But there is a reason so many are rushing to train for the $40K nursing jobs--we haven't taught them to think and create. So isn't the point of what this thread evolved to this AM, the whole line of thought about where jobs will not be drying up, serve as proof that kids about to enter college probably need more guidance (and a reality check) than we parents did?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:29 pm: Edit

Mom101, we are all going to do what we all are going to do.
Some of us are going to give a lot of guidance, some very little.
Everyone is different.
There is no proof.
If you feel it is important to give a lot of guidance than you should give a lot of guidance.
Nursing is a noble profession. It is pretty insulting to think people who are going into this profession haven't been taught to think and create.
There is a shortage of nurses. Society needs nurses.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:30 pm: Edit

Maybe less. Who, for example, when I was growing up, would have predicted that doctors would be leaving the profession in droves and that medical school admissions would get easier and easier every year (and that the percentage of Yale grads. going to medical school would drop 65%, from 17% to 6% in 25 years), that the number of Boeing engineers would drop from 70,000 to 6,000 (in the U.S.), that lawyers could be outsourced, that on-line universities could use low-cost faculty from India, that schoolteaching could/will be done mostly by paraprofessionals, and that Wal-Mart would be the largest employer of both managers and service workers in the world.

The reality check probably should be that our kids shouldn't depend upon their place in a world which is a reproduction of the world we inhabit, 'cause it ain't gonna be that way.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:32 pm: Edit

Chinaman's last post really struck me because his words are almost identical to those I heard over and over in a documentary in which young Indian engineers expressed their shock that American's were upset that they were taking rote technical jobs away from us. "But American's are the creators, the innovators, they don't really want these simple jobs." Yet here in Silicon Valley there is extreme anger about the dissapearance of those rote jobs.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:34 pm: Edit

BBC, July 26, 2004:
US criminal numbers hit new high

The prison population has risen this year, the report says
The US has nearly 6.9 million people - roughly 3.2% of the adult population - in prison or on probation or parole, a Justice Department report reveals.

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:35 pm: Edit

"The only sure jobs that I can think of for the future are: 1) the military; 2) supply-chain management; and 3) supply-chain delivery/service clerk (think Wal-Mart.)

Pretty soon, all three will require masters degrees. "

That is what I took. There are always people like me who took safe routes but we have kids when we came to this country. I want my kids to be risk takers with practical dose in life. Sfae jobs will be who have power to think and bring new ideas on the table. That is why we pay a CEO zillions of dollars to perform( sometime not but they have a history to perform).

Thank god China is opening its door otherwise corrput politicians will ruin the country. Thank God in America we can be whatever we want to be.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:37 pm: Edit

Dstark, I was not trying to be insulting. But are people rushing into nursing because it can't be oursourced following their hearts? Is this Americans creating and innovating or hunkering down for safety?

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:41 pm: Edit

Maybe some people enter the nursing field because they are compassionate caring people who are not totally obsessed with money. Just a thought.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:41 pm: Edit


Students who can figure out that an aging population will need more nursing care are well able to think for themselves, whether they have been taught to think and to create. A $40k starting salary is not to be cavalierly dismissed. A $100k salary is well above the national average. And, as the article noted, the job will not be outsourced. Nor will some behemoth make money out of your innovation, leaving you in the dust (see Apple, TiVo for examples)
Anyway, what's wrong with nursing? I will forever be grateful to the small army of nurses who have attended me through several hospital stays.

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:42 pm: Edit


If you see that most of the world admire and want to immitate America. Free enterprise and ability to accept new ideas have allowed America to be the most desirable part of the world. On top of forefathers seprated the religion and state (Extremely wise step). These people were more intellegnt and ahead of their time. How could you not wnat to live in this world. America is the beacon of free enterprises. That is why I love this country.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:42 pm: Edit

People are rushing into nursing because there are opportunites in that field.
Mini, in reponding to your 01:30 post,
about maybe less guidance,
I don't want my kids to be me.
When I listen to the kids, they are aware of what is going on better than I am.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:50 pm: Edit

Two $40k beginning salaries in a family would put it in the top 25% of American families. It would be double the average family income in San Francisco (let alone the low rent districts).

Put a nurse and a prison guard together and your family is rich! at least 50% above the median San Francisco family income.

Sometimes I think we lose a sense of proportion....

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:53 pm: Edit

Well, our kids are starting to leave the nest so we are starting to crack up a little.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 01:55 pm: Edit

Chinaman, I guess my question is whether America really has the values so many foreigners assume we have. We are thought to be risk takers in general. Right now we are holding back the numbers of people from other countries who want to be educated here. I think it's a big mistake because it is many of those people, true risk takers, that have become American and driven much of the innovation. In this generation I see a lot of American kids looking for safety.

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:08 pm: Edit

A little off topic but among some people I know when a certain level of income is reached (which can be a quite arbitrary number), the goal is not to find ways to spend the excess but to ensure that the children (and possibly grandchildren) will have a financial safety net that enables them to have more freedom in life choices. It could also serve as security in an uncertain and unpredictable economic environment. Is this discussed at all in your clearly very affluent social circle, Mom101?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:15 pm: Edit

Emptynester, has anyone who can afford to said they are not going to financially support their kids when they are older?

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:15 pm: Edit

I am fascinated by the way you seem to equate innovation and creativity with wealth creation. There's a lot of creativity involved in fields where the financial rewards are negligible and the risks are many. The arts in general (bring back the starving artist in a garrett) attract highly creative folks, but artists do not seem to be included in you category of risk-takers.

I would think also that many innovations have occured not for the sake of innovating or even making money but in the pursuit of some other goal, such as finding a cure for diseases.

Anyway, there will be teachers needed to teach the children of the risk-taking innovators and nurses needed to tend to their deteriorating health, as deteriorate it must.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:28 pm: Edit

Yes Emptynester. In fact I had this very discussion with some friends recently. My best friend is not wealthy but will be inheriting a couple million dollars. We discussed whether she should tell her now 15 year old about the money as it could influence his career thinking. He has always wanted to be a PE teacher but this is the Bay Area and he also wants a home here. The reality, however, is that life events such as illness, long term care needs, etc. could wipe much of this money out before it becomes his. And if she inherits it before he begins college he will be a full pay. And grad school....The thing is, many people overestimate how far money will go. As for the wealthy among those I know, they have various thoughts. My own are probably based on having watched what happened with one very wealthy college roomate. She had worked hard to get into a top college and to get through it. Her parents had always told her they would not be leaving her money, it would all go to their foundation. The day we graduated, her father told her that he had only told her that so she would work hard. Indeed there was a trust fund and she was given access to it. She never worked a day in her life after that. My own children know there will be money for their children's education and enrichment. They can choose any career they like and know their children will enjoy the same calibre educations that they have. They mention this on occassion and my feeling is they see it as a gift and don't expect more. My husband's wealthy grandparents really did leave the majprity of their money to a scientific foundation they started. His parents will do the same as all 4 of their children actually became wealthier than they are. I suppose I'll wait and see who my kids are before I decide where any remaining funds I have go!

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:29 pm: Edit

I think that part of intelligence is recognizing when it is time to be practical.
I know artists who are nationally if not internationally collected yet they are very practical. Still not a lot of money coming in, they need to manage what they have very well, also they have turned to teaching and smaller projects to supplement income at times. ( Same w musicians, writers)
Nursing is a very noble profession. One which I know many single moms have turned to , to have some sort of flexibilty in hours with decent benefits and wages. Not to be sniffed at.
I read the alumni magazine of my daughters school and I see many students still in graduate school or changing fields after post doc programs at ivy league schools. I have to admit I wonder where the money is coming from for this delayed adolesence.
I feel like it is pretty indulgent to attend college, mayber
I have no bones to pick with people changing fields midcareer, I realize that many people change at least two or three times before they retire. I hope that by the time my kids are college age, they have recognized what it is that attracts them about certain fields and find that in a field that can support them. If you live to create, there are many ways you can do that, you don't need to starve doing sidewalk paintings.
Be creative about addressing your hearts desire, that is where the real innovation comes in

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:30 pm: Edit

Mom, Chinaman's sentiments regarding the US are typical of most people who come from the third world and developing nations. Canada, the US and now Australia represent opportunities that their own countries could not provide. There are obviously many countries that are just as developed and free, countries like France, German, England, Sweden and several other Western Europen countries and Japan. But those countries differ in 2 respects:

1) They were not founded under the principle that any immigrant could come in and set up shop.

2) They are already overpopulated. Japan and Germany combied are identical in land area to the state of Texas, but their combined population is over 200 million, almost 70% the population of the entire United States!!! So they cannot afford taking immigrants. Imagine, the 25 countries of the European community have a land area roughlly a third that of the US but a population of 460 million (50% greater than the US).

Many of my friends from Pakistan and India simply cannot accept that Europe is as benevolent, democratic and wealthy as the US. One of my best friends, who happens to be Pakistani, had that very image of Europe and the US. He always criticized Europe for living in the past and not being as good as the US. He just completed his summer in Paris as an intern (he is getting his MBA at Carnegie Mellon) at a French company. He loved his experience in France and could not believe how accepting a society it was. He is now thinking of moving to France! The two hour lunch breaks and 6 weeks of paid vacation is what did him in!!!LOL

Seriously though, people often do not realize that Europe is such a great place because they are not as open due to their over-population.

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:31 pm: Edit


Without a doubt we americans have that much capabilities. Do not forget there will be more Bill Gates coming through. In which country could you find a person with $20 in his pocket and wife and kid come to it and go ahead.

Americas number one threat and prioity : "control the religious zihadism from midlle east"

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:33 pm: Edit

Marite, my interest (research wise) is in job creation as opposed to wealth creation. Something we badly need in this country right now. But they do go hand in hand.

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:33 pm: Edit

Dstark, this board seems me composed entirely of those really invested in their children and concerned for their future welfare.. economic and otherwise. No, I have not read of anyone suggesting "they are not going to financially support their kids when they are older"-- quite the opposite. I am just wondering if anyone considers another approach to ensuring that welfare other than (or in addition to) attempting to help plan a financially rewarding career path.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:36 pm: Edit

Emptynester, are the people you know who can afford to take care of their kids financially forever, telling these kids to follow financially rewarding careers? Or are they telling these kids to do what they want and not worry about money?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:40 pm: Edit

Sokkermom wrote: "Maybe some people enter the nursing field because they are compassionate caring people who are not totally obsessed with money. Just a thought."

I agree with you. I went into the field of education and also teaching and the idea of how much I could earn was not part of my decision. It was a field I was interested in growing up and I went for my interest. I know peers of my D's who are pursuing nursing. I am pretty sure their pursuit is cause they like that kind of work. Maybe they also weighed in with the notion that there is a shortage of nurses but I am sure they picked this major cause they really like that kind of thing.

I am not knocking money. But I can't imagine that being the driving force in choosing a field to study in college. Yes, one must be cognizant of planning for the future and earning an education. Young people must look into opportunities in life and what they need to do now to get there. But I think at this stage of age 17/18, it is mostly about getting an education and the rest will follow. Opportunities will develop. They have like 40 years to work and it is best to start with something you like as you will be doing it a LONG time. Also even if you pick this or that major in college, it does not close off many fields or opportunities. It is just the starting point. I think today graduate school is almost more of where you are trained for a career in certain fields, anyway. And even THEN, that degree is not always narrowly defined and there are many things you can do with a particular degree.


By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:42 pm: Edit


If job creation is your major concern, then I do not understand your dismissal of nursing. It is a high growth area, as the population is getting older and sicker. And the more medical innovations there are, the greater the scope for deploying nurses.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:49 pm: Edit

First, I did not knock nursing. I simply said I thought many chose it because it was a safe career rather than because it is their dream job. At least that's what data I have shows and was the implication (for some) in the article you posted. The growing elderly population will ensure many jobs in nursing, my help is not needed. I am a student in education, trying to figure out what we need to teach the next generation of kids to help them push creation and innovation to replace the jobs we will continue to lose to developing nations.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:55 pm: Edit

Marite, I agree with you that many in the arts are risk takers. None of this has to do with money. I know in my D's field of performing arts, it involves risks constantly. You are always putting yourself out to be judged. And once a professional, you are constantly job hunting. And it involves constant auditioning and not taking it personally and getting up and doing it over and over again.

Dstark writes: "I am just wondering if anyone considers another approach to ensuring that welfare other than (or in addition to) attempting to help plan a financially rewarding career path."

I have to say that my own parents did this. They never ever tried to persuade our career paths. They ensured our education and helped us create our futures. They helped us afterwards as well. They have made it a huge priority to help enrich their grandchildrens' opportunities, helping them along the way. I have to say this of my inlaws as well. And they saved up to leave them money or provide for them for things like college and so forth. My kids are very lucky to have grandparents who have made this a priority of their choosing. Nobody has ever told my kids what they should pursue. Not us or the grandparents who have helped them pursue their dreams and opportunities. The kids are supported, just like we were at that age.


By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:56 pm: Edit

I don't see a single answer to that question Dstark. I am not talking about those who can jet around the world for several generations on inherited income. Kids won't be taken care of financially forever, without an additional source of income, unless they live very modestly. But that would be a possible choice. And they tend to be families with a pretty strong work ethic regardless of what the work turns out to be. A question I have heard asked of young people is, "how much money do you think you need to be happy?"

Mom101, your children sound fortunate indeed.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:57 pm: Edit

The point I was trying to make was that one "career" title can have as much variety as you would want.
A nurse could work run her own clinic as a NP and prescribe medication, she could work in surgery in a big time hospital, teach sex ed in a public school, teach nutrition in third world country... Really nursing could take you around the world!

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:00 pm: Edit

Okay, you do not knock nursing. But the only dream jobs you seem to think worth promoting are the ones that will generate money. To me, that sounds as if you are promoting safe jobs. It's just that your idea of 'safe' differs from that of the person who sees a job with a $40k starting salary and the possibility of earning $100k with experience as safe.

My brother is a real risk-taker. Not sure what his contribution to the French economy has been. He's lost his shirt time and again. Thank goodness he has no children and has risk-averse siblings to bail him out.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:08 pm: Edit

The problem Marite, is that there are no longer enough safe jobs paying between $40-100K to go around. Yes, the industries and companies that will be started that hopefully will create safe jobs will also generate wealth. Is that bad?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:12 pm: Edit

No, what is bad is thinking that only jobs that generate huge financial wealth are worth having.

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:17 pm: Edit


I am very surprised that you have such an interesting take on the nursing profession. In another thread you mentioned that you had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I would think that someone in your position would see a tremendous value and appreciation for those "non-innovative" nurturing individuals who choose this noble career. Sometimes we rely on experience (not necessarily innovation) and compassion in dealing with caring for each other. I know our family has grown to appreciate medical professionals much more so than investment bankers! God forbid that you develop any serious medical problems associated with this disease that are out of your control. However, if you do, who do you want caring for you? I personally am glad that there are people who dedicate themselves to caring for others, rather than only focusing on their own wealth and the wealth of their family!

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:23 pm: Edit

I am Mom 101's daughter (where did she get that name?) and she asked me to post my thoughts on your questions. Because my mom has gone back to school, we probably talk more about education and careers than most families. I am just starting high school, but through shadowing and family friends, I have taken a look at people's jobs and thought about what I might like to do. Does money count? I have to admit that it is certainly a consideration for me and most of my friends. We know how much houses cost, we love to travel and we are aware of the cost of the schools we go to. Is money the only thought? Not at all. Teaching is something I may really want to do but I know I will have to decide how important trips to Paris are (very) and many other things as well. At my school many parents are making big sacrifices to send their kids there because public schools in our area are pretty bad. Many kids have had to leave in the last two years because a parent lost a job and they simply could no longer afford private school. This has made me and my peers really understand the problems in the economy first hand. So I do think as college approaches we will be considering many things when choosing what to major in and working very hard to get the grades for the best graduate schools!

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:26 pm: Edit

"Put a nurse and a prison guard together and your family is rich! at least 50% above the median San Francisco family income.

Sometimes I think we lose a sense of proportion.... "

importance of perceived prestige of job titles? any thoughts?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:30 pm: Edit

Hey, who dissed nurses? Yes I am a diabetic and have indeed neede the help of several! I was simply responding to an article that said that a Boston nursing school could only accept one in 10 candidates, and that this reflects a pragmatic approach to finding a stable career as opposed to a sudden love for the field! And Dstark, where do I say that only high paying careers are worthwhile? I gave up one to become a low paid education policy wok!!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:34 pm: Edit

Mom101's daughter, you write very well. I hope you find your passion someday (no rush) and partake in it.
Enjoy your high school years.
Being unable to go to private school is not the end of the world.
Good luck to you.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:38 pm: Edit

This seems to be a very American thread.
families that have their parenting practices from another culture, don't seem to think twice about encouraging their children in a career that will support them and be somewhat stable.
Families who are musicians, vinters, book publishers, seems to raise children who are musicians, vinters, and book publishers.( examples)
There are so many ways to reach the same goal. While mom101 daughter has european vacation as a priority, if i understand her correctly she seems to have certain parameters for that vacation.
However many ways to accomplish same goal.
OOne friend was an aupair and lived in Paris for over a year when she was about 22. Other friends make a commitment to going to France every couple years and that is a family priority even though their funds are very limited.
The people I know who travel the most are teachers!
Who else has a three month vacation every year?
What seems to be common, is teaching at summer institutes. my daughters biology teacher in high school is also a well known poet and teaches workshops in Alaska. We know teachers in public school who take major european vacations at least everyother year. Travel doesn't have to be expensive, time is what is expensive.

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:40 pm: Edit

Mom101's daughter, Paris can be very cheap if you want it to be. Anyway, good luck at SPS this fall.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:43 pm: Edit

Mom101, read what I wrote again.
Didn't say that applied to you. I just answered your question.

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:46 pm: Edit

I hope that Mom101's daughter realizes that attending a "prestigious" prep school does not make you a better person. My son just graduated from the most well known and prestigious prep school in NH, and he still has the same values he did four years ago! (Thank goodness.)

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:48 pm: Edit

Hi Mom101's daughter! You seem like a sweet thoughtful young lady.

A lot of what we value comes from our upbringing. I am not knocking that it may be important to you to seriously weigh career earning potential when choosing a field to study or get a job in. This may be very important to YOU for reasons you gave such as wanting to live in a house like you grew up in, travel like you are used to, and so forth. This may be important to you to continue. Hopefully it is indeed a choice for you to continue, not one you feel you must continue. But it does sound like what you are hoping to do. These outlooks are part of whatever values you were brought up under. So, I do understand it.

Some of us are more concerned that the kids just follow whatever interests them and are not as keyed into making sure they factor in potential earnings at this stage. These are simply different values or outlooks.

As far as some of your observations of your peers, it is all perspective. You live an affluent life and attend a private school. The fact that some of your classmates have parents who have lost jobs is unfortunate of course (I know about this as my brother, in his late 40s, with a kid about to start college was out of work for over a year but recently started a new job). But you have not seen quite the range of kids' backgrounds. Just not being able to go to private school is really not what most of us would call real bad. My kids have friends/classmates who really have it way more difficult than that. They have friends whose parents will not be paying for college, do not pay for their clothing, etc. One very close friend of my fifteen year old, who has a single mom with a fairly low paying job, never has much money. She told my D that the reason she did not come see her in a show she directed was because she did not have the five dollars to get in and I think she meant it. I bring this up cause I recall last night in the car, my D mentioning this to her boyfriend who is visiting us from out of state and he is from a well to do background and he could not understand why her friend did not see her perform as it was ONLY five dollars. But he does not see this among his friends in his well to do suburb. So, it is all relative. Also as I mentioned earlier, my older one has friends going into nursing and their parents could not be more proud!


By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:51 pm: Edit

Susan, nice post.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:59 pm: Edit

The community college could only accept 10 applicants because it did not have the staff or facilities to accept more. If there is a sudden influx of nurses (say, from the Philippines) perhaps wages will drop and so will demand for places at that college. That's the way the free market operates.

As to love of the field? Do you think everybody who goes into law or investment banking or computer science does it for love or for the income it's supposed to bring? And does the lawyer, investment banker, computer scientist think about the jobs he or she is creating? I'm still confused.

By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:12 pm: Edit

I have told my daughter to follow her passion, and never looked at money being the great leveler and there is more than one way to determine wealth.

There are many who don't equate weatlth with money. I have been at both ends of the spectrum, doing something that I was well paid and hated and doing something that I make less money at and love. I am well aware of all of the perks that money gives but we also have seen it come and go. No matter what happens you adjust, sometimes I think that I have more now that I make less money because it has made me re-evaluate my priorities. I am now making preparations to leave corporate life by my the time she graduates to become an elementary ed teacher,because that has always been my passion.

Yes, I have have had friends and family members tell me that I am going to be in the poor house because of the really big pay cut that is going to come with this, but I am the point in my life where I really don't want to chase the dollar anymore and I really want to be an agent for positive change in the life of children.

How many of us simply work our jobs for the status and the paycheck. If you had to do your job for free, would you?

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:20 pm: Edit

>If you had to do your job for free, would you?>

Not a job, excatly, although definitely time-consuming, but what are so many of us doing on CC? For free? Sheesh

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:24 pm: Edit

I get paid. I thought everyone did.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:28 pm: Edit

What kind of support will you provide your kids?

This is tricky, isn't it? But here are our thoughts:

It would be nice to be able to give them:

A house deposit and college education expenses for their children. Take away those two frightful items and career possiblities open up.

My own preference would be to add private school tuition to that list, but I think it will depend on outlook of DIL, lol.

By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:44 pm: Edit

A house deposit and college education expenses for their children. Take away those two frightful items and career possiblities open up.

But those things are all relative as we determine what we want and what we need. You you provide a nice house or a multi million dollar dwelling?

By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:46 pm: Edit

I should restate my question:

Do you love your job so much that you would do it for free?

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 05:06 pm: Edit

What we want and what we changes through life, doesn't it? For example, I need less glitz now--and I was never big on glitz.

But lol, no, not thinking of a deposit on a multi-million dollar house. Just a regular family house, when, and if, they have families. (A teeny weeny Barbie house if they decide to live in California!!)

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Sokkermom, we're counting on prestigeous prep school to expand horizons. A review of the incoming class shows that the Bronx is the most represented town. And we were looking for old friends from Greenwich CT--not a single one in class!

Affluent parents have to work very hard to achieve balanced kids. Certainly all parents pass on many of our values to our children whether we plan to or not. I make no apology for my child considering money a relevent factor in deciding future path. It makes sense to me. She has seen the opportunities it has given her. And frankly, on boards like these, I have seen so many kids chasing high money careers because they think money buys happiness. My kids know that's not the case, but they do know there are good things it can buy and things they will have to do without if they set other priorities. So the choices are theirs, and I want them to weigh as many factors as possible in making them.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:33 pm: Edit

And Sokkermom, I do think my daughter feels pretty special to have been accepted at a school that required so much hard work and overall excellence to get into. Didn't your son? And was he proud of what he achieved there among such stellar peers?

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:48 pm: Edit

Many people on this forum are ignoring the realities of today's world. Money no longer is a luxury. It is a necessity. Without it, you are pretty much left out of every major opportunity, be it good medical care, good education, good housing etc... all of which, to me at least, are necessities.

Let us examine those necessities shall we. By the way, I am assuming this is a normal family of 4.3 members (parental unit and 2.3 kids...not inlcuding any quadrupeds).

At the secondary level, which is where a good education is forged, you have two choices, either of which requires money. Either live in a wealthy neighbourhood and have access to a good public high school or live in a not so good area and send the kids to a good private high school. A home in a respectable (not great mind you) neighborhood costs roughly $300,000. In cities like NYC, Boston, San Francisco etc..., a good home will cost over half a million. If you chose to live in a cheaper neighborhood, chances are your kids will have to attend a private high school to get a good education. We are talking about an average of $20,000/year for 9.2 years (assuming you have 2.3 kids). That's $182,000. Then, you have college. For those of you who are lucky to live in a state with good state schools, we are talking about $60,000/child, or $138,000 for 2.3 kids. So to provide a decent education for your 2.3 children (nothing fancy mind you, a great education would cost double my estimate), we are talking about $320,000 if you live in a mediocre neighbourhood. So, whether you pick the good house/good public high school approach or the mediocre home/private school approach, you are looking at half a million bucks.

For a family earning $100,000, it would take roughly 20 years to save that kind of money, living a hand to mouth existance. But then people have to save for retirement.

Of course, if the parents want to drive cars (regular cars mind you), take their kids on trips and leave their children a little something when they kick off (again, none of those concepts are outlandish) they are going to have to earn a great deal more.

In short, I agree that in principle, money does not matter that much. But when looking at things practically, without a decent cash flow, a family will struggle to get the bare necessities and might as well forget about providing their kids with the tools to help their children make it in an ever complex world.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:54 pm: Edit

I really just wanted my kids to get through college. I look upon those years as a time for them to grow up, get a little independence, try out the vices away from me, have some fun and learn some academics. My kids were all pretty immature, in my eyes, when they graduated from highschool---just kids. A lot of their growth occurred in college.

I do believe that letting kids know and keeping them aware of the job situation is important. An 18 year old is certainly adult enough to understand the financial implications and risks of certain careers and benefits of others. There is a big difference between pressuring a kid into a field and informing him about a field.

By Justplayin104 (Justplayin104) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:56 pm: Edit

Being an incoming student, i'm half torn between studying something that i might enjoy and not make much, like ecology or env. sci, and between something i enjoy that would give me more money, physical therapy. Of course, the temptation is to choose physicaly therapy without giving ecology much time or effort, and money is a part of that.

I personally want a career that pays decently so I can give my family and kids what I havn't really had. Things like vacations. All my friends go overseas and on cruises and to the beach like it's a routine thing, and I havn't been anywhere since 8th grade. Different things like that make me want to go for a higher paying career. It's more with future family in mind than anything else.

By Farawayplaces (Farawayplaces) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:02 pm: Edit


Your post cheered me. Congratulations on your son. Sound like he has an attribute sorely lacking in many of the rich: humility!

By Spoonyj (Spoonyj) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:07 pm: Edit


Yes, I would do my job for free. I'm a teacher. Sure, I might arrange it so that I only had three sections instead of five, but I just can't imagine giving up the psychic rewards that are a daily part of my professional life. Teaching is not for everyone, of course, but if it really is what you are called to do, I suspect you will feel the same way. In fact, I have several colleagues who are independently wealthy, yet they come back year after year. Congratulations on your career change--and good luck.

By Sac (Sac) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:24 pm: Edit

I think I DO do my job for free. I'm a writer and, if I divided up the amount I get by the mumber of hours I put in...I don't even like to think about it. But writing is both a compulsion and a career. As for my other job, raising my children, I have done that for free -- unless we're talking about rewards that you can't bank.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:52 pm: Edit

Is it so black and white? Get paid or hate your job?

Not for me. We love our work/business (architecture). Of course, we pay ourselves well which certainly helps us to love our work, lol.

I think a better question might be, would you still work if you won the lottery? I think we would. More vacations maybe.

That's what I would tell my sons. Pick something to do that interests you so that even if you win the lottery--or the opposite--had to sacrifice material things--you would still find enjoyment.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:52 pm: Edit

Well, not sure I would do my job for free (the loss of income!) But I cannot imagine doing another job, and I have a hard time thinking about what I will do when I retire.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:02 pm: Edit

Spoon and Sybbie, I was a teacher for many years and believe me, people don't go into that field for the money! Ya gotta love it.

Jamimom, I am of the same viewpoint as you can inform kids of what you need to do to get from point X to point Y, but that is not the same as influencing them or pressuring them to choose certain fields of study or discouraging them from others. To me, parenting is about support. You can teach values of course, as well. For instance, my family values education so the kids always knew that they would work hard to reach goals to go to decent colleges and to pursue something and work hard to get there. But what that something is, has been up to them.

Alexandre...I do not totally agree with parts of your post. I think it is a little simplistic when you discuss the options that one must choose between. I don't think the choice is between living in an affluent community where the public schools are held in high regard or living some place else and sending your kids to private school. Clearly, many make it without being from either of these two options! My kids don't fall into either one of those. We don't live in an affluent community. We live in a diverse community as far as socio-economics...some low income, some middle class and a few upper middle class. There are no private schools anywhere near here. The public schools are decent but not held necessarily in high esteem such as the ones you were referring to in affluent communities. In some ways, there are aspects of our school I think I like better when I read about the competitive atmosphere of some rich towns described here. My kids' elem school which is rural has won national awards and recognition. Our high school is ok, some good aspects, some needing improvement. Not everyone there goes onto college, only 66%. But ya know, my kids have done well. They are competitive in a pool of applicants. One is heading to a top college and the other is applying to very selective schools in her field. So, it need not be either/or of the two options as far as where one must live or send their kids to school.

I don't think anyone on here is dissing having money. It surely takes money to live comfortably and to afford opportunities for one's children. But ya know, that does not mean one must choose a career that is high end when it comes to affluence. Many people are successful and live comfortable lives and provide for their children on much lower incomes than you are espousing. Of course it costs more to live in certain areas. But my husband and I have professional degrees and for now, he is the wage earner and most around my neck of the woods would think we live quite decently. My kids have more than many of their local peers and get to do some things they don't it summer programs, many costly ECs, trips, or dress nicely. But it is all relative. Our income is far below what some on here discuss, as are home values. My child even qualified for some financial aid. So, there is nothing wrong with striving for high income but really there is much success to be had at other levels of income and be doing all right. I think we are. Having more money would make life easier but we are not suffering. We are not poor. I think what you are striving for (which is totally fine of course) is a reflection either of your values or upbringing or both.

I think there is a lot of talk on this forum lately of these various economic backgrounds. Almost too much emphasis for my taste but that is ok really. There is nothing wrong with thinking about job prospects and fields you wish to pursue that will afford the lifestyle you desire. But not everyone has a high end lifestyle as a priority. Also many of us are of the "ilk" that we don't persuade our kids one way or the other , but merely support their wishes and drives. Not once did I have a preference for which college my child attended. I could not have begun to tell her which. The selection was hers. I was there as a resource through the process but not in regard to making any decisions. I would not begin to persuade a career choice. I have one child who has known what she has wanted to do since she was a mere tot and there is nothing I would do to get in her way. We are behind her choice. She even wants to graduate early and while that would not be my choice, we are supporting her efforts. I know this kind of support without major influence is not for everyone but it works for me.

I also don't think that if your kid picks a college major that does not sound lucrative or practical, that it sets him/her for life. I think it is an education and people's careers can go in many directions down the line. I'm also with Jamimom about college as an almost halfway house for these young folks.


By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit


My son definitely appreciates the opportunity that he had. He realizes that the family made some sacrifices to allow him the luxury to attend such a school. (We are in that gray demographic area where all the economic formulas tell us that we can pay full fare tuition, but certainly not without some lifestyle awareness!) He understands the value of money, and understands that Mom and Dad work hard for it. Neither of us married for the money. (darn..)

He took full advantage of the opportunity. He excelled both in the classroom, in student government, and on the athletic field. There was an article in the graduation edition of the school newspaper about him and the success he achieved during his four years there and the positive impact he made. Quotes by his peers,instructors, and coaches all focused on a common theme: his strong work ethic and humility.

When he was asked about such successes, he gave credit to his teachers, coaches, and parents. Were we proud? Absolutely!

By Lefthandofdog (Lefthandofdog) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:13 pm: Edit

What I find fascinating about these discussions is the fact that, as far as I know, there is no other place to find out what people think about these things. Talking about salaries, careers and incomes is (rightfully, I think) taboo in person. The problem is that, while it preserves civility, knowledge is power. I read some of these posts and kind of bristle at the sentiments. Either I'm misunderstanding the writer, or they are a new species to me. Someone I've never encountered before (and I've been around a little bit). So we can read about the range of thoughts parents have regarding their kids' futures, mull it over, and probably in the end realize we preferred our own way of viewing it all along. But it's made it feel like we were faced with a fresh choice, instead of just continuing on a path that started when WE were 17 or 18 (or 47). I love hearing about positions I'd never in a million years hold myself. What a planet!

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 08:19 pm: Edit

Congratulations Sokkermom, he must be a truly special person. I think the best of these schools pay close attention to not just academic excellence, but the potential of these kids to really contribute in the world.

Lefthandofdog, couldn't agree more.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:09 pm: Edit

Dstark, it certainly isn't the end of the world to not go to private school. But is it seriously sad when the middle class stop having the choice to send their kids? I think it truly saddened my daughter and many others to lose friends/ classmates because of the harsh reality of our local economy. Her school is one that went out of it's way to try to achieve significant diversity. Until recently, the most well heeled towns here were under represented at her school. Imagine, rich white kids as URMs! I still wonder if she would have gotten in but for the fact that we applied from out of state and didn't yet have a local address. The last few years have changed all that--the school still has a long waiting list, it's just a different kind of family. Sad for all.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:31 pm: Edit

I guess it is sad to lose friends.
The middle class was subsidized at your daughter's school?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:50 pm: Edit

They were subsidized, but still had to pay more than was easy. When things got tough, many had to bail. If anyone wants to point a finger at people who are not giving, I'd say those that made big money during the bubble in Silicon Valley should take the hit. The charitable giving rate here is a fraction of what it is among those on the E. coast at the same income level. School endowments here are a fraction of what they are at comparable E. coast schools. A transient mentality exists here.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:04 pm: Edit


Much of the wealth accumulated in Silicon Valley was new. Your story illustrates that charitable giving lags behind the acquisition of wealth. It takes time for people to get used to the idea of giving away money rather than amassing it, especially if they were not brought up to give. I understand that savings rates were also lower than the national norm for the same income levels, for the same reason.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:10 pm: Edit

Mom101, are people feeling good about Google in Silicon Valley?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:21 pm: Edit

The press has certainly played Google up with stories suggesting it might effect the housing market and the sale of other luxury goods. The business community takes it for the anomoly it is. A close look at local press also shows that several other impending IPOs, valid ones like a nanotechnology company, were postponed after the market woes of the last couple of weeks.

Marite, you're right about it being a new money phenomena. Compounding it here is that everyone is from somewhere else and doesn't feel rooted. CA is the home of the iconoclast. So daughter goes 3000 miles to a school with an endowment of $400 million instead of under $20 million to meet the rest of America.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:23 pm: Edit

If things are so bad in Silicon Valley, and the population is transient, why aren't they leaving?
How old is the private school your daughter went to?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:39 pm: Edit

People are leaving. Hello Central Valley, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. Among the wealthy, early retirement in Aspen, Napa, Cabo. People like my brother, an upper middle class consultant, sold his home this year to lock in his retirement nest egg and bought rental property in Nevada where real estate prices should continue to rise. He's renting here where rentals are cheaper than they've been in years and I was able to do the unheard of--rent a brand new luxury house that a developer had on the market for a year and couldn't sell. I've reported on my own real estate search. But the press is quiet about all of this. When I bought a piece of property at a fraction of what it had sold for two years earlier, the real estate community insisted it was an anomoly, a desperate individual fire sale. No one wanted to call it the new value, which was fine with me!

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:40 pm: Edit

Oh, and D's private school is almost 100 years old, founded as a feeder to Stanford.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit

Susan, I do not tie professional success to college education or major. Like I said, students should study whatever they are passinate about. A broad-based education will provide a young adult with all the tools she/he needs to succeed in the world.

What I am saying is that it is simplistic to assume that money is not essential in this day and age. I am not talking about luxuries, I said it clearly. You need a lot of money to cver the necessities. Without money, a family will most likely regress. And I never said that you had to live in an afluent neighborhood. Look at my email. I said in a respectable (not great) neighborhood, like the one you described living in. Homes with 3 bedroom in decent neigborhoods in large cities are going for $300,000 these days. A home in an affluent neighborhood would cost over a million dollars in most cities.

So, back to the orginal topic. College majors do not dictate a person's professional future. I think your daughter will have great opportunities to succeed no matter what she studies. The most important education she received has come from you. Parents provide the most important education. Now she can go to NYU or Michigan (although I would love it if she went to Michigan, I have a feeling she will end up at NYU. It is impossible to love the idea of NYC and Ann Arbor at the same time), get a degree in any field and make it in the world.

Still, I would love to hear your thoughts of Ann Arbor when you visit it next month.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:13 am: Edit

Alexandre...I realize you were talking of cities when you described neighborhoods. But when you gave the options of a "wealthy" neighborhood and thus good schools vs. a not so good area and sending kids to private schools....YOUR definition of what you first called "wealthy" and then "respectable" was where homes avg. $300,000. And I was saying it is all relative. WE don't live where homes on average cost that, nor is it considered well to do area by any means. Kids attend our school who may live in a home that costs $300,000, a home that costs 125,000, a trailer, a subsidized apartment, etc. I know what you were referring to and it is NOT here. And I was saying I would not see those as the two options...wealthy respectable neighborhood (300,000 homes) and well regarded schools vs. lower end community and needing to send your kid to private school (which YOU might have called this area and in fact, some better off families here do send their kids to boarding school). I realize this might be the dichotomy in some areas such as urban ones but I do think many of us do not fall into either end of that spectrum, send our kids to public school, and they get a good start, education and can go onto good colleges.

I totally get what you are saying about the need to have money! I could never disagree that one needs money to lead even a basic lifestyle and support a family. Afterall, most of us on this forum, as parents, value education....for likely two reasons...simply to become an educated human being but also to lead to opportunities later in life in careers that require educated people! So, obviously we all value that our kids be educated so that they have opportunities ahead of them to earn livings and so forth. But that is where it stops for me. I have not discussed with my kids which fields to go into that might earn more money than another field. At this point, I want them to become educated and to pursue their interests and possible careers they might like. We have not discussed how much money could be earned at the career fields they are considering.

As far as my second kid, I have no idea where she will end up. The admit rates for the BFA programs she is striving for are in the single digits! None are what one would think of as a safety! We hope she will get into some. I don't know where yet! As far as evaluating the various schools, it is very different than her sister's process. The list of schools is almost defined before she begins as she must go where these programs are offered. Then of course it will come down to which she can get in. Also, it is not just evaluating the entire college as is the most important for most kids' processes but in this case, since it IS professional training, so much is evaluating the actual program in her field as the best fit for the training she desires. So, a big thing isn't even so much UMich itself vs. NYU as a university but much of the exploration and decision is over the program, unlike one would focus on when looking at liberal arts. And ultimately, it will come down to which ones accept her. It will be a difficult process to be sure. It is not like there are tons of schools to pick from as was with her sister's process. She must go where the programs are. And then she must see which will take her. I don't know yet if she will end up with choices. It remains to be seen. She is a very confident kid and feels she will get into at least one school on her list and that is a fair assessment. Some programs take a total of 10 or 15 students per year! She is able to self assess and knows many who got into the programs she is striving for and assesses herself against them. She is confident but I find the situation quite daunting. The odds alone are so small! While it is nice when people who know her or have seen her perform tell her she will get into them, I kind of shudder cause the odds just are so difficult and I don't know how they can come across with such suredness and I am not sure I love her hearing that message even though it is affirming in a way. It sort of reminds me of folks around here telling my first kid she could get in anywhere cause she is such a great student and also excels outside of the classroom but I knew the odds were so difficult and never loved hearing those messages over and over again. I realize people are being positive and also think these thoughts but I know it is wise for me to be cautious. I guess I am being realistic. I have confidence in them but have no idea what will happen with the admissions cause of how utterly daunting the numbers are!

I will let ya know about Michigan. Trying to put that trip together for Sept.


By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:32 am: Edit

Susan, besides Michigan and NYU, what other schools is your daughter interested in?

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:35 am: Edit

Mom101; Mmmm, I don't know if I believe all the doom and gloom in California. My sister bought a house in the Bay area this year and scrambled, literally scrambled, to buy one before it flew off the market. They must have missed five different houses in the $900K range, (houses that were the equivalent of a midwestern starter house).

What did Allen Greenspan say?

Irrational exhuberance?


By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:40 am: Edit

Susan, your concern is obviously well grounded. Great music schools are tiny and few in number. I wish your daughter the best in her college applications. If you need any help planning that trip to Ann Arbor, let us know. There has to be at least half a dozen Wolverines lurking about! LOL

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:41 am: Edit

Alexandre, I am left wondering where in America one can live comfortably, rely on public schools, be safe and spend under $300K on a home. I really want to know and in fact started a thread asking where the best places to live in America are. The answers were not what I had hoped--they were mostly places I had lived--Westchester, Fairfield County, California and Toronto. Where oh where can one live well in a house under $300K, have some culture around them, decent schools.....I marvel at how many on these boards think we are crazy to think that money is a consideration in choosing a path in life. I am a student of ancient philosophers, a believer and yet the pragmatic realities keep coming back to remind me that it's difficult to live in this country without resources. You have my total admiration for renouncing ibanking in favor of corporate HR! I am admired in my community for giving up my career for one in education that will still pay over $100K, rich according to Mini's calculations! New threads are popping up lamenting threads that examine the role of affluence in choosing an educational path. It's clearly taboo to articulate that you would like to be a millionaire in this generation, or on these boards anyway. How many America's are there?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:42 am: Edit

These are the schools on her list. If you are not familiar with BFA degree programs for musical theater, there are not that many of them and she took out the west and south. They all require auditions as part of the admissions process, in addition to the usual academic and application requirements. The admit rate at most of these programs varies between 5-10%. Some take as few as ten to fifteen students per year. So, it is nothing like the usual, "What are my chances" threads, not that I would list her stats or anything but this is so different. For example, if you saw her regularl stats and qualifications of the sort that people post on those threads, one would say she was over qualified for a school like Penn State or Ithaca but when you know about the Musical theater admissions rate, you find out that Penn State's literature, for instance, discusses an admit rate of approx. 5 %! So, this is another ballgame!

Her list was almost ready made before she began:

Carnegie Mellon
Boston Conservatory
Penn State


By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:43 am: Edit

And after Greenspan said that the Dow Jones rose 60+%. He was a little early.
Home prices in SF, Marin, and the East Bay have exploded. I believe that home prices under $1 million have gone up dramatically in the peninsula also.
But there was a report a couple of days ago that stated Silicon Valley people are the most depressed in the nation about the economy.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:47 am: Edit

Susan, not that many choices, are there?
Does she want to sing on Broadway?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:47 am: Edit

Cheers, there is a tremendous amount of built up home equity in the Bay Area to keep homes under a million going strong forever. It's hard to understand in other places.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:52 am: Edit

I lived in Manhattan for ten years so I 'understand' it perfectly. It is irrational exhuberance, but hey, as long as it's "going strong FOREVER?"--I don't buy the doom and gloom of how bad it is out there. Sorry.

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:58 am: Edit

Olympia, Washington. State Capital. Homes go for $125,000-$175,000. ($300k and you are on the beach.) We have two symphony orchestras. Two youth symphonies, 4 playhouses, our own opera company, a children's museum, parks and boating and beaches and fishing all around us. We are one hour from the ocean, one hour from Seattle (just drove there and back this evening), and 1 1/2 hours from Mt. Rainier - which we can see from the streets, as well as seeing the Olympic range from downtown.Skiing less than two hours away. I not only don't lock the door; I have lived in my house (which cost $81k) for 13 years and I literally don't even have a key! Time Magazine says that culturally we are "the most happening place in America". We have artists and musicians of every kind. We have no private schools other than an occasional Catholic or evangelical one. We have a state college, a private college, and a community college all inside the town., all bringing in speakers and workshops, etc. And our summers are MUCH nicer than the Bay area (we moved here from Santa Cruz.)

Tonight, sigh, I took my d. up to Seattle to sing Bach's B Minor Mass as part of the Seattle Symphony Summer Sings. We have been doing this every summer since she was 8. Lots of folks know us, and have watched her grow up. It was she who got me into singing again, after a 25 year hiatus, and prompted me to my operatic debut at the age of 52. Life is definitely going to be different, and it is just really sinking in.

I sat next to one guy tonight who told me he trained as an industrial engineer (masters, etc.), spent 6 months on the job, and hated it, and has now spent most of his life - happily as it turns out -- as a tax accountant. The guy on the other side of me, as it turns out, was also an engineer (for Bonneville Power), but is now going to school part-time to become a speech therapist. I was the only one who stayed with a career -- I've always been a writer -- just what I end up writing about changes my job title radically every once in a while.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:04 am: Edit

Alexandre, actually only at Umichigan is this major (musical theater) within a music school. The rest are not music schools. Some are in theater schools/departments or conservatories within a college.

Mom101, I don't think anyone thinks it is taboo to want to live a well to do life. I certainly don't chide that. My own parents live what I think of as pretty well to do, not rich maybe but certainly in a very nice bracket. I would never put that down. I think it is a matter of choice of lifestyle to some extent. For example, perhaps in your neck of the woods (or city as it may be), it is common place to want to own a Lexus or Mercedes or some other expensive vehicle. But people where I live might think it is great to own a new car, not a used car, and maybe a Subaru or Jeep! So, it is not like one NEEDS necessarily certain things or levels of homes, rather to some degree, it involves a choice of lifestyle.

I know you are asking where could one live where homes cost under 300,000 and have decent schools and so on. But it is all perspective. While that sounds on the low end to you, it is not to many other people. I would say the majority of homes in my neck of the woods likely fall in this category though many sell for more. My home cost less than that when we built it but of course is worth more now. You might not be content to live here and I respect that. You likely would not like our schools. And that's fine too. Hell, I know people here who want to send their kids to boarding school for something "better". In fact, I know where your daughter is heading and I know one family in our small rural town that sent both daughters there. One did get into Cornell. But the other, who I think wanted to attend Cornell, ended up at University of Vermont. I know she got a great education at that boarding school but ya know, as far as college goes, MANY from our high school which is nothing like St. Paul's are going to UVM. I know a girl in my younger D's class who went to Andover this past year for tenth grade but is coming back to our school this year. I know one from older D's class who did the same turn around after a free ride year at Milton Academy. I am positive these kids got what most would think of as a better education at these fine fine prep schools, that I am sure my own kid would have thrived at and enjoyed but ya know, they made out just fine at our public school and so far doing well on the college front.

I think there is a narrow focus if one thinks you MUST live in a expensive home or community with the finest schools or else send your kid to private school. Mine did not have either of these but I am happy with our choice. I also think when some are giving examples of home prices and things like that, your perspectives come from what you are used to. It might seem dirt poor to someone to think of someone in a home that costs 250,000 or who earns 90K per year but in these parts, that is considered doing quite well, not rich, but real good. And believe me, I know a lot of well educated folk here as well. SOOOO much of these perspectives are RELATIVE. I know my kids' friends who live in other states in more affluent communities might think nothing of high end jeans with designer names or designer shoes or purses and NO KIDS here have someone would think of Abercrombie as high end. So, this is a simplistic example of how what one person thinks is the norm is different from someone else.


By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:05 am: Edit

Mini, what is the weather like in the other seasons?
How nice is the beach? Sounds like a great area.
Your daughter got you singing again. That is what I am going to miss most. Who is going to spur me to look at new and old interests? Keep me up on the latest technology.
Play poker with me in computer tournaments at 1 in the morning?

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:14 am: Edit

Snows twice a year, maybe. We have a gloomy winter. Less total rainfall than Boston, but we get it spread out in the winter months.

Oceans beaches are the North Pacific - nice, but cold. Puget Sound beaches are calm and almost lake-like -- boating is more popular than swimming. We have lots and lots of folks who live on houseboats.

Prestige is funny out here, too. Other than three minutes over a cup of coffee, Yale or Princeton or any of the northeast LACs carry virtually no prestige. (The current Yale adrep out here was unemployed, last I heard, and I play in my little orchestra with the one from Mount Holyoke, who has gone back to nursing school with my wife.) For the most part, the few people who go to them don't come back, so there is no way to judge by other people whether they are any good. Certainly no alumni networking! You'd get some networking help if you were a Coug (Washington State Cougar) or Husky (U.Washington), but the other schools are not likely to help you in the least. Now Brigham Young does indeed have prestige out here -- at least among Latter Day Saints. Stanford has some because we see them on tv (playing Gonzaga and UW) - and we do send athletes from the area and an occasional math nerd down there.

We don't even have an Abercrombie's, but our big complaint is that we don't have a Trader Joe's.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:19 am: Edit

I am a Jew so I have to ask this large is the Jewish population? Any synagogues around?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:20 am: Edit

Dstark, that is the understatement...when you asked does she want to sing on Broadway! LOL. Broadway has been in her dreams since as long as I remember. Closest she has come was a contract she had to perform at Lincoln Center which was so exciting for a kid from a dirt road in Vermont but at the last minute, the orchestra went on strike and the entire festival season had to be cancelled. She has auditioned for Broadway musicals and been called back. But making it there is a difficult path but one she will pursue. Few make it as you realize.

Mini, like your community, ours is one that people choose to move to for the wonderful lifestyle. We have all the outdoor things many enjoy...mountains, lakes, etc. We have ski resorts. The arts are VERY strong here too. We have excellent restaurants. We don't have private schools except an occasional teeny tiny one here or there in the state or a couple religious ones, plus ski academies. Most don't lock their doors here either. I shudder to think what my home and property would cost out where Mom101 lives but I have 5 1/2 acres and 2800 sq. foot home with gorgeous views of the mountains and ski trails and it is not in the stratosphere of price by any means of which she refers to where she lives. People know one another and help one another out. The schools do not have competitive atmospheres. Our elem school is an award winning one.

And if that is not enough for ya, the world will be descending on VT this weekend for PHISH, lol.


By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:23 am: Edit

We have two. (We ourselves are the Quaker side of a Jewish family.) There is a largish (for here) Reform/Reconstructionist synagogue (of which my wife's cousin sits on the board) that has just outgrown its space and purchased a huge downtown Christian Scientist church; and a Conservative group that has just purchased a new building and is growing rapidly (maybe 55 families in this one.)

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:24 am: Edit

Susan, although I grew up with no money at all (but happy and culturally enriched) it was in NYC, so I am ernest when I say I truly wonder about other parts of the country. CA is an extreme in being a wealthy state with unbelievably poor public schools due to Prop 13. In my adult life I have also seen unbelievably good public schools, but at a huge cost, in NY and CT. I genuinely wonder what's inbetween. Because of the careers my husband and I chose, centered in major cities, we have really only lived the extremes. How do I explain to Cheers that things are truly awful here when million dollar houses are going strong? You have to experience life here to know that a million dollar house that can fit a family in a decent school district is not a reality. It's clearly an insane notion to most of America, the parts I don't know. Even when I spent a year in the mid west, I was quite surprised to find that in the most diserable part of dying Toledo, where the best schools were, homes were over a million dollars, and the best ones were several million. I guess the thing I like most about CC is what I learn about the different Americas.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:26 am: Edit

Susan, it would be better if she was in NY, right?
Sarah Lawrence outside of NY isn't good in her field? I am just wondering. And if I am wrong about NY, how is Northwestern?
The place where you live sounds great to me.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:27 am: Edit

Mini, it was sounding really good before you admitted no Trader Joes!

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:31 am: Edit

Mini, we don't have any stores other than gift stores and artisan type stores in my community! To go to Abercrombie, one must drive 50 miles, and even then, it was a very big deal a few years ago when those stores even came to VT. When the first dept. store came to downtown Burlington (not where I live), it was a major big fact, my girls were part of the opening ceremonies, they were tap dancing Filene's shopping bags! And getting a WalMart in VT was a HUGE deal several years ago. Our state capital is the only one of 50 with no McDonald's! And my own community has no fast food chains. Our state has no billboards either. My town has no traffic lights either!

Dstark, I appreciate your question and in fact, am Jewish as well. I grew up in a community where many were Jewish but my kids are not doing that. In my small community, there are some, but not that many. At school, my kids are the odd ones out at XMas time. They know several kids who are from mixed marriages but close to none in the community who have two Jewish parents as they do. There are synagogues in Vermont, however. As I live in the northern half of the state, I can tell you that there are temples in Burlington and Montpelier which draw from communities from a wide area. My kids were named in synagogues in Vermont but never went to religious school, as I had done where I grew up. They were in ski race programs on the weekends and synagogues were far away and we never did that. But if someone wanted to live in Vermont and belong to a synagogue, certainly we have them and one might want to live near these areas where they exist as opposed to a rural town that is further away. My kids are very aware of their Jewish culture and heritage but do not live among peers who share their religion for the most part. They have met many kids who are Jewish in summer programs they have attended out of state.


By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:37 am: Edit

I don't need many Jews, but I need some.
Susan, what is it like to take care of 5 acres?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:45 am: Edit

Dstark, my best frient is a very observent Jew, and as I am the guardian for her only child, and she has serious health issues, we have a constant dialogue going as to what I need to know. So today I had my first glimpse into the freshman class at daughter's seemingly waspy prep school. What percentage Jews, she wanted to know. How am I supposed to know? Check names! You want me to check names? Yes, she says. You know, I tell her, no wasp could get away with asking that question. We would be raked over the coals. I take the opportunity to ask: Am I supposed to make sure your son marries a Jew? Your daughter is fine, but otherwise a Jew. We talk about opressed cultures. All this to ask Dstark, how do you see Jews in the Bay Area?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:48 am: Edit

Taking care of 5 acres, unless planted high maintenance, is no different than one.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:50 am: Edit

Mom101, I appreciate what you are saying and it relates to what I have said in other is all about perspective and what you are familiar with. You have lived in NYC and in an expensive section of the Bay area so it is all relative. Believe me, many here are considered doing very well who live in homes that cost 250,000. It is just a very different area and a very different lifestyle. I am familiar with well to do lifestyles. My parents have a home in Palm Desert, CA...I know what you are talking about. It is worlds apart from here. But many here have CHOSEN to live here for the lifestyle we have. I live in a resort community, where there are many second homes and those are the wealthier folks. But the many are from out of state (ourselves included), not natives, who moved here out of choice. Our community is not a typical Vermont rural town at all. There are many "flatlanders" living here. Professionals might commute within VT (as my hubby does and I have done before) or telecommute depending on the type of profession. While we have very educated and professional type people in town, we also have poor people, farmers, artisans, contruction workers, those tied into the service industry cause of the resort, and ya know, everyone mixes! My kids have classmates who live in tiny homes or apartments or even trailers and others who live in nice homes.

Dstark, I would not say it is better for my younger D to be in NYC for college. I mean this is just the college years. She would need to be in NYC AFTER she graduated, yes. She just WANTS to live there now, LOL! Most would say New York can wait. Afterall, she will only be 20 when she graduates! But she does love NYC. And NYU is one of the top programs in her field, though many others are also very well regarded and are just as good.

Sarah Lawrence does not have BFA programs in musical theater. Remember I am not talking of a BA in theater. She is applying to Bachelor of Fine Arts programs for one thing, and even then, ONLY in musical theater and thus, there are not THAT many of these out there. It is a professional type training sort of conservatory style degree. One appealing thing at both NYU and UMich is that they also allow them to do some liberal arts too. And she truly is an excellent student who enjoys other academic subjects, even though she is going to pursue theater. As far as Northwestern, it is a bit different than all the schools on her list. You do not audition to get into musical theater at Northwestern as a freshman. I probably am not explaining this totally correctly but I also think the degree there is different. I know you audition to get into this major there AFTER freshman year. It may be a BA degree, not a BFA degree. Believe me, the list of colleges for this is not that long. And as I said, she knocked out the west and south. Probably the very top programs in this field are at NYU, Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, and Cincinatti College Conservatory of Music, though honestly many of the others are top notch too but these four are often the "Ivy" of the crop.


By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:55 am: Edit

Jews make up about 10% of the population in Marin. So I haven't really experienced any prejudice for 30 years. There are all kinds of Jews from the most religious to the Atheists here. I am not religious, but I would like to live in a community with some other Jews.
My kids can marry whomever they want.
My two brothers married Catholics, my sister a Jew. They are all good people and that is what counts.
I just wouldn't want to live in a community where people think Jews have horns on their heads. This has happened to me before.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:59 am: Edit

Funny, it's a story I remember from childhood (in 95% at the time Queens NY), a teacher telling us that she went to school in the South and people asking why she didn't have horns.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 03:03 am: Edit

Yeah, that story is out there. Now I am going to sleep. You people stay up late.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 03:04 am: Edit

Dstark, again, depending on which community you lived in within VT, you would have access to a small Jewish community and synagogue. My community is more rural, however, than those ones, and there are some Jewish people, but not MANY. NO community in Vermont would be remotely classified as largely Jewish. We have more than a typical rural town cause I live in an atypical town as it is a resort area. Obviously many of the tourists and second home owners are Jews in our community. But hardly any classmates of my kids are Jewish, though as I said, they know several of mixed heritage. But clearly this is nothing like living in a Jewish suburb. For instance, we have school on the high holidays. In fact, sometimes very important required events at school or some such are on the high holidays and nobody here thinks twice of it and do not seem to even know we have these holidays. That does tick my kids off a bit. And at XMas time, it is tough cause they have to constantly explain to others that we don't celebrate Christmas which leaves many aghast and also people just ASSUME we do. And over the years, issues at school over this have arisen. I don't want to get into all that now but it has been an issue at times at school things. Mostly it is due to the ignorance of others and their lack of ever knowing any Jews when they grew up.

Your question about taking care of five is not that that different than for someone on less land. Part of the land is cleared and part is wooded. So, not all five acres are grass! Honestly, since it is bigger than most lawns and my hubby feels he has enough responsibilities in our lifestyle with the kids (lots and lots of driving, plus his job itself is 50 miles away), he has chosen to pay for lawn mowing. That is a bigger job than what most of you likely have. Someone comes on this very big ride on mower. We also have a large meadow where our very long driveway is located, that we have mowed. We also pay for snow removal. But at the house we had prior to this one, it came with this old beaten up truck and plow and my hubby used to plow our long driveway at that house but has given that up (nor do we live there or have that wreck) and we pay for plowing. We also have to pay for trash pick up here too. And of course. we must pay to maintain private dirt roads. So, those are additional expenses. I do my own gardening as far as flower beds and such.


By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 03:07 am: Edit

Dstark, you're making me think of my childhood and what a backwards view of the world I had. I was practically the only non Jew in the neighborhood, the only one at public school during most of September! So tall and thin there was just no way to blend in.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 03:12 am: Edit

Susan, knowing you are in VT gives me more understanding. Such a mix. My husband, a Canadian, spent summer just over the VT boarder in Quebec where land still sells for about $15K an acre. I went to Dartmouth. There is no place I feel more at peace. Lucky you.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 04:04 am: Edit

I must say, Dstark has created an awesome thread here. So many different views converging and yet, there is complete civility and genuine understsanding. We are an enlightened lot aren't we?! LOL

And Jan, I had no idea you went to Dartmouth. Now I know we are complete polar opposites. Early in my junior year of High School, Dartmouth was one of my top 5 choices for college. But in the spring of my Junior year, I visited some 20 campuses in 60 days and I came away from Hanover convinced that Dartmouth was the last place on Earth I would be prevailed upon going! LOL

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:10 am: Edit

Polar opposits? I was mourning the fact that you're too old for my daughter! Smart, caring, ambitious, pragmatic, a passion for fine food and truly international, Alexandre, you're seemingly as close to perfection as men come! Actually, I came from a background whereby I was not sophisticated at the time I chose a college. Was it a perfect fit? No, knowing what I know today. Would it be top on my list for my kids? No, but ah, the legacy factor....All of that said, I absolutely loved every day of my years there (and a term at H proved that wasn't me) and think that area is paradise on earth!!

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:16 am: Edit

"Mini, it was sounding really good before you admitted no Trader Joes!

We are campaigning.

But I live within close walking distance of a bagel shop (alright, they aren't Queens bagels - I grew up in Bellerose), but they bake terrific authentic challahs on Friday.

Quakers don't traditionally celebrate Christmas either! (the funniest thing you've ever seen is a bunch of Quakers trying to sing Christmas carols - no one knows the words!)

The Jewish community and Quaker communities are very engaged together here. We are the home community of Rachel Corrie, the young woman run over by a bulldozer in Gaza. My younger daughter gave a piano recital and raised $1,800 to bring two fathers - one Israeli, one Palestinian -- to our town from the Israel-Palestinian Families of the Bereaved Forum for Peace ( ), and for their events, more than 1,000 people turned out.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:21 am: Edit

Aahhhh to be 16 again! As it stands of course, I turn 31 in a little over 12 hours! Well Jan, I can assure you there are many young men out there with very similar profiles to mine, so your daughter will not have any problem finding a fine young man one day.

I actually thought Cornell and Dartmouth had a lot in commone when I visited those two campuses in the spring of 1991. The only difference was that I already had my 2 best friends at Cornell, so it was appealing in that regard. But even their being at Cornell could not tempt me.

The irony of it all was that I ended up going there for graduate school. Poetic Justice is cruel to say the least!

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:27 am: Edit

It all depends on where you're coming from. A child of NYC, Dartmouth and Cornell were so foreign. Do you have a yonger brother? Cousin? Sorry, the profile is not as common as you may think! But it is such a small world as you've pointed out before. Yesterday, we got the list of my daughter's classmates at very small prep. Her next dooe neighbor in dorm is the daughter of my first college boyfriend!

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:28 am: Edit

mini you have seen this haven't you?

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit

Of course! And we are in touch with Daniel Barenboim's music program for gifted musicians from Israel and Palestine.

Back to college for a minute -- Earlham has a long-standing relationship with Palestinians (there has been a Friends School in Ramallah educating Christians, Muslims, and Jews for almost 90 years, which was bombed and heavily damaged by the Israelis last year.) They bring between 3 and 7 Palestinians to Earlham each year, but the problem recently has been that if they come, the Israeli won't let them back in, and the U.S. won't extend their visas, so they become stateless. The Friends Music Camp in Barnesville, Ohio has had similar experiences of late, which has been causing great hardship.

Are you in Seattle? My younger d. has been invited to do a benefit recital at Classical Grands (it will be for the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Program in Rwanda-Burundi). No date yet, but we are hoping for late October.

Mom101 -- as a child of NYC, my parents drew a 3 hour circle around the city and said I could go to college anywhere in the circle (provided I could get someone to pay for it!) But they included Cornell in the circle 'cause they didn't realize New York State was so big! I ended up at Williams, among other reasons because it was the outer edge of the circle. LOL!

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:47 am: Edit


Tanglewood probably attracts as many NY residents as it does MA residents. Same distance. Remember the spot on the Mohawk Trail where you can see three states?

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit

Yup. Top the mountain, west side above North Adams. Actually, if you go up into the Hopkins Forest (which is owned by the College), there is a place you can lie down (it is said - I never did it), and be in three states at the same time!

In the early 19th century, western Mass. had cattle drives, if you can believe it. (The railroad connected from Boston through North Adams to Albany and then to the Erie Canal, so the population of North Adams was much larger in 1850 than it is today.) Anyway, ranchers from Mass. used to drive cattle over the boarder into Vermont. Vermont passed a law providing for capital punishment for any rancher caught whose cow (steer? hey, I'm from NYC) came over the border and broke a fence. The law was repealed in 1966, I think.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 04:34 pm: Edit

Sorry Jan, no relation of mine is young or old enough. My little nephew, Alexander, is only 6! LOL He was born in New Jersey but his parents just moved to Abu Dhabi, about 100 miles up the road from Dubai. I do have a cousin, Nicholas III, but he is weird.

Strange that your daughter's next door neighbor is your ex's daughter. It is a small world we inhabit. I have had so many weird encounters with people who know people I know, I am convinced we live in one little Earth. You an I probably know people in common.

Anyway, I will keep my eyes peeled in case I run into a worthy gentleman for your daughter! LOL

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 05:10 pm: Edit

Alexandre, happy birthday.
Susan, I totally get the Christmas thing.
If I ever move, I am not taking care of a property; although, yours sounds fantastic.
Mom101, let me get this straight. You grew up in a predominately Jewish area of NY; therefore it must be a liberal place. Then you got to school at one of the most conservative places, especially in those days.
You had a choice and you chose to be conser........
Mini, OK, what is the downside of Olympia? Is there something wrong with the state of Washington?
It looks like you get a lot for your money there.
I was goofing around at and I looked up some houses.
What are the nice areas of Olympia? I noticed Black Hills and Olympia Westside, are they the nice areas? If not, what are they? How are the public schools?
How did you end up in Olympia?
Do you know anything about special ed services in Olympia?

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 05:25 pm: Edit


Joyeux anniversaire!

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 05:42 pm: Edit

Happy birthday Alexandre!! Yes Dstark, who was it who said if you're not liberal before 30 you have no heart, and conservative after 40 you have no head??

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 05:58 pm: Edit


The quote is attributed to Winston Churchill who was a member of the Liberal Party from 1904 to 1922, in between being a member of the Conservative Party. He was never a liberal, but definitely a conservative with both upper-case and lower-case C.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 06:23 pm: Edit

So Jan, what is a person to do when they are between 30 and 40? Have no head and no heart? LOL

Thank you all for wishing me a happy birthday.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 06:28 pm: Edit

Alexandre, are you having the birthday blues? Wondering where life is going at the advanced age of 31? You clearly have both heart and head! When are you off to Paris?

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 06:28 pm: Edit

"Mini, OK, what is the downside of Olympia? Is there something wrong with the state of Washington?
It looks like you get a lot for your money there.
I was goofing around at and I looked up some houses.
What are the nice areas of Olympia? I noticed Black Hills and Olympia Westside, are they the nice areas? If not, what are they? How are the public schools?"

Downsides to Olympia: some folks -- including me -- don't like the winter weather (which can get gloomy, though not quite as bad as Seattle.) So I try to get away at least once each winter. The state is by far the largest employer (which I see as a plus, rather than a minus, because employment is steady, and income bands are relatively narrow, which means fewer rich folks and fewer poor folks. And employment is steady enough that most intact families only have 1 1/2 or so working members, which means lots of culture, arts, etc. And educational levels are relatively high.) Taxes are very regressive -- no income tax (which I see as a real minus), relatively low real estate taxes. High sales taxes. Negative in Washington is in Seattle, which has gotten much more crowded, and the economic collapse of the computer industry hit hard. And eastern Washington is poverty stricken, as small farms go under.

I like all of Olympia except Lacey, the town next door. Westside is nice; Black Hills is relatively new (mostly new development.) I live in the near northeast, which is the cheap seats. (But I have a 26-acre woods virtually in my backyard, and a new park with tennis courts and etc. four blocks away, and a play house around the corner, and a bagel shop 3 blocks away.)

Schools are said to be excellent, as schools go. (we homeschool - lots of homeschoolers.) Excellent special ed. services, or so it is said.

We moved here (from California) to recareer. We were both working too hard, and wanted to homeschool our kids. Work for a writer was very easy to find (though I was scared to death at the time.)

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:22 pm: Edit

Olympia, sounds like a great place to live. I can see why you moved. I may have lived in California too long, but it just seems like a rat race here. I think the quality of life is dropping.
Plus we are taxed out of our minds, and there is never enough money.
The schools aren't very good.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:30 pm: Edit

No birthday blues here. I come from the "it-is-better-to burn-out-than-to-fade-away" school! hehe

I will be in France from September 3 until September 12. I cannot wait. Three weeks to go! I get to spend 10 days with a special someone. I have already made reservations at Taillevent, L'Arpege, Le Cinq, L'Esperance and La Cote D'Or!

Anyway, I am off to bed. Will check in later.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:44 pm: Edit

Close to Washington is a place I'd love to have a home, Vancouver Canada. The big issue for a Californian is the winter rains and total lack of sun for months in both places. It's a hard adjustment. And Dstark, be careful when looking at special ed in different places. I actually moved to the school district noted as best in the country for special ed and it came with a whole different set of problems than my CA district that knew nothing about spedial ed and therefore let me define it for son.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:04 pm: Edit

We have heard lots about Olympias schools from aquaintances who moved back from Virginia. It is a beautiful area, although not as "hip" as Seattle or Portland. They love it and are very happy with the schools, I believe when they were on the east coast they had their kids in private schools but in Olympia they can use the public school system. ( I seriously wish he would run for governor, I think he would accomplish more than Locke has)

The real estate taxes are relatively low, but assessments of housing( Seattle) particularly in our zip code go up every year about 10%, that is just crazy! It's an industrial neighborhood, not view property.
Another negative thing about the schools in general in Washington. Class of 2008 ( my 14 yr old) will need to pass the WASL ( state test) to get her diploma.
Princeton Review has indentified the WASL as the 5th most difficult state exit test. The legislature funds education about 46th of all the states. So 2/3rds of the students are not on track to get their diplomas in 4 years, ( including my daughter).

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:37 pm: Edit

I like Vancouver too. Not doing anything yet. Just researching. That's why I came to this board, finding out what is going on.
2/3 of the students are not on track to graduate high school in 4 years. That's worse than Cal.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:53 pm: Edit

That's only because we abandoned testing when we saw that two-thirds wouldn't pass!

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:56 pm: Edit

Dstark, when you mentioned "quality of life", that is exactly what most think of where I live. People espouse the quality of life here. Also the sense of community. Most LOVE it here. I must admit it is not for everyone (those who must have urban life) but for those who like this sort of thing, it is a very lovely quality of life in VT. After all, I live in a community where people CHOOSE to come settle from out of state. It is nice to live some place you WANTED to live not cause you have to.

A little anecdote is when I would ride the ski lift at the ski resort in town, a typical conversation with a stranger would be, "where are you from?" since most are tourists. When I reply I actually live here and sometimes I just point behind our backs (as we are riding high up the mountain) and say, over there in the valley viewing these slopes! And they always reply at first increduously, "You LIVE here?" and then tell me how lucky I am.


By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:13 pm: Edit

I think I need to start another great places to live thread. Susan, I don't think you weighed in. I've been thinking about future places to live a great deal, probably 2 homes are practical for a Californian turning in a home here. A lake in NH or Vermont is high up for spring/summer. Any thoughts?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:21 pm: Edit

I missed that great places to live thread. I'll have to look it up.
I'm tired of the money game. I want to go for the quality of life game.
I don't think my wife would go for Vermont. Too far from her world.
She likes Vancouver.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 10:58 pm: Edit

Funny, Vancouver is close but the differences are significant between living in the 2 countries. Should you consider, I'll put you in touch with the woman who has sued the BC govt. and changed special ed there. Knew her when she was a grad student at Stanford and saw her name in the paper when I was up there recently when she won a battle for special ed kids before the Canadian supreme court!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:31 pm: Edit

I'm still a few years away, but thanks.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:36 pm: Edit

Dstark, Do you have to stay in a 500 mile radius?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:41 pm: Edit

Cheers, No, but I am not moving for at least three years.
I like to research in advance.
What place do you like?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:50 pm: Edit

Mom101...if you really want to be near a lake, you can't beat Lake Champlain. There are really nice communities with gorgeous homes near the lake that I think you would like. And then you have access to Burlington, the largest "city" in VT which is often found on those lists that crop up of best places to live or something like that. It is not like a big urban city but it is a city with lots to do, a college town city actually but lots of arts and culture and the lake as well, and mountains nearby. I don't live there but go there often (tomorrow in fact for my D's voice lesson...I drive long distances all the time) and my hubby works in a suburb of that city. There are smaller lakes in VT that are in even more rural areas. The resort communities in VT tend to be in the mountain areas where ski resorts are, such as where I live. Also if you lived in a community by Lake Champlain and Burlington, you would not be that far from Montreal if you want a big city once in a while. My feeling is you might like Shelburne or Charlotte, just south of Burlington, on the lake. Or some live just north of Burlington on these little islands, South and North Hero. But that is a different kind of community than the first two I named. Lake Champlain is really have the Adirondacks on one side and the Green Mountains on the other. And Burlington is lakeside.

If you like resort communities but don't care if the lake is not in your community but is a drive, there are so many resort towns in VT...if you look into the ski resorts and read up on those communities...for instance, Stowe, Killington, Stratton, Mt. Snow, Sugarbush. It depends just what you are looking for. The ski resort towns are attractive to second home owners. And while these towns are small, they have amenities due to tourists and so forth.

In NH, lakes that I think many have second homes at include Lake Winnapasaukee (sp?) and Lake Sunapee. These are rural areas but vacation areas. They are not that that far from Boston (could go for the day). Since you only mentioned "lake", I don't have anything else to go on.


By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:55 pm: Edit

I like New Zealand. Moved here almost three years ago. Picture California in 1888.

Pacific Ocean: 12 minutes to the east
Southern Alps: Ninety minutes to the west

Thought it would be a five year posting, now don't know how I would live without it. Too gorgeous to explain...

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 12:08 am: Edit

We used to go to the NH Lakes area often. Lake Winnipesaukee is about 3 hours drive from Boston. Close by is Squam Lake (where On Golden Pond was filmed). Another hour's drive or so and you are in the White Mountains. We used to drive to Mt Washington to ride the cog train when my S#1 was in his serious train phase.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 12:21 am: Edit

Cheers, yes that is more than 500 miles away.
I have heard good things about New Zealand.
That country might be a little far.
The internet is a great invention. People all over the world are communicating on this board. Amazing.
Just read through the best places to live thread..
Very good thread.
Susan, since your daughter really loves NY, I hope she gets into school there.
I like both Ann Arbor and New York, but they are very different.

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 12:22 am: Edit

"2/3 of the students are not on track to graduate high school in 4 years. That's worse than Cal."

Well, how else are we gonna get Wal-Mart clerks?

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 12:29 am: Edit

Two Wal-Mart clerks can buy a house in Olympia?

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 12:38 am: Edit

Easily. In fact, the star of our performance of "The Marriage of Figaro" last spring is a Wal-Mart shipping clerk. (No kidding.) And our latest addition to the opera company, a very fine tenor, is a 24-year-old former army guy who works at Costco on the graveyard shift and thinks he is the reincarnation of Mario Lanza (he's pretty darn good, too!)

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 12:48 am: Edit

Vizited NZ recently, truly beautiful. Stayed on a! Great prices, too. Thanks for the lake advice. I remember taking a ferry across Champlain years ago, will look into those towns. Mini, I used to take offense at some of your socialist ideas, but I've gained a real appreciation for you on this thread!

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 01:11 am: Edit

A friend sends out a list of books he has read every year, with brief reviews, in lieu of a holiday letter. One book he reviewed this year had a title something like "Retire in a College Town" or something like that. Not that we are all nearing retirement or anything, but sounds like a worthwhile read!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 01:30 am: Edit

Robyrm, Does the book "Choose a College Town for Retirement" by Joseph Lubow ring a bell?

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 08:02 am: Edit

My inlaws, who are retired, do live in a college town though they have lived there for their entire adult lives. Now that they are retired, however, they regularly audit courses every semester at the college (this college has an arrangement that allows senior citizens to do that for some incredibly token minor cost). This is at Skidmore as they live in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. One of my D's friends is heading there and I have told her that my D's grandparents just may be in one of her classes!

When I suggested the Burlington, VT area, it was mostly cause Mom101 said by a lake, but not only has this small city been on "places to live" lists but it is a college town as well. I was suggesting the towns right outside of it on the lake such as Shelburne or Charlotte but everyone who lives there enjoys the greater Burlington community, as well.


By Sfe (Sfe) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 02:03 pm: Edit

I'm now living in the first non-college town I've ever lived in (as an adult - I grew up in the Air Force, so lived all over the place inside and outside the US as a kid/teenager). I miss living in a college town! So, personally, I think those of you who are considering them are on the right track. My husband is a professor and we have spent most of our married life in Berkeley and Palo Alto but after an IPO allowed me to "retire" (I'm a computer scientist) we moved out to the country in Sonoma County where we could have some land and raise the kids in a more peaceful atmosphere (my husband still commutes a few days a week). Ironically we live where many people in Silicon Valley think about retiring (the gentleman-vintner phenomenon), but we sometimes dream of moving back to a tiny apartment in Berkeley to be in a university town after our kids are grown.

re: the original topic of this thread:

Mini - I loved (and completely agree with) your observation: "... if they choose, they can live on (materially) very, very little, and be quite satisfied. What is hard to live without is purpose."

Some of the best traveling I ever did was as a poverty-stricken student in the years I took off between undergrad and grad school - as many others did in the 70's and early 80's, saw the world on a truly non-existent budget. And my favorite job was when I took a pay cut to leave a Silicon Valley computer company to go to work for NASA on some Space Shuttle missions – NASA’s “purpose” meant more to me than the money did. And while my husband used to be somewhat envious of my Silicon Valley salary vs. his professor one, I am envious of his sense of purpose (he is a molecular biologist/virologist who has a lab and grad students doing HIV research and would truly do his job if he didn’t get paid for it).

During the boom days in Silicon Valley I used to be puzzled by the people I personally knew (more than I can count on both hands!) who made 30 million or more (my own “lottery ticket” was much more modest) in IPO's and who continued to seem so obsessed by getting more ... and more. Then it dawned on me - to some of those people it is all a competitive game and money is how they keep score. Nobody asks Barry Bonds why he "needs" to make another home run, and I realized I was missing the point of these people's motivation when I asked myself why they "needed" to make more money. (On the other hand, one of my sisters, who is in that category in terms of wealth, established an educational foundation and spends her time reading grant proposals instead of conspicuously consuming. So there are all kinds.)

My kids will have to decide for themselves what economic level they consider necessary/sufficient - but what I hope for them is that they find a purpose.

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 02:21 pm: Edit

Oh, something that will be negative for some folks about Olympia is that we are very "liberal". Liberal as in Dennis Kucinich swept the Democratic caucus in my neighborhood with more than 50% of the votes. But the town next door, Lacey, is pretty conservative, so it balances out.

We have lakes! 10 of them, plus Puget Sound, and the Nisqually River Basin. Lots of folks fish. Mostly salmon and steelhead. And here people ski real mountains (I HATE skiing.) When we went east so d. could see Williams, she made snide comments the entire trip about "mountainlets". My assistant goes out regularly to kill Bambi's mom and even little Teddies.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 02:29 pm: Edit

Purpose. Thanks Mini and SFe, I couldn't have put my feelings into words any better.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 02:39 pm: Edit

In the Boston area, we get many suburban emptynesters moving into condos so that they don't have to take care of huge yards and they don't have to travel in order to go to shows and concerts.
I did not contribute to the best place to live thread because it is so subjective. It depends on what ones likes and what one is capable of, and also the time of one's life. My M-I-L prefers to be in a small apartment because it is in an elevator building. Perhaps one day I will feel the same. Right now, I'd feel claustrophobic.

By Sac (Sac) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Sfe, lovely messsage. We live in Berkeley and always thought at some point we'd move out to the country. Now, we're realizing that once we retire we want to be in a university town. So, odds are we'll be in the house we've already lived in for more than 20 years for another twenty or thirty, unless we get buried by the contents of the closets in an earthquake.

One thing we did right as a young couple was to buy a house we could afford on one salary, with the idea that one of us might like to go back to school, work part time, switch careers,quit our jobs over a matter of principle or out of boredom (all of which have happened). We could have afforded something grander (though we also love our house) and at times I'm sure our kids thought we needed something bigger. I don't know whether our kids will have our options, given housing prices. But I've told them this story everytime they've oohed and ahhed over someone else's house or possessions. Our goal in life has been to do work we love, and find a way to do that work that allows us to spend time with those we love. I hope they're lucky enough to do the same.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 02:55 pm: Edit


Thanks from me, too. It's a good message to share with kids as they contemplate college majors and careers.

By Mini (Mini) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 03:45 pm: Edit

Today, is a sad day for Smith College, but a good day to celebrate "purpose" and the meaning of a liberal education.

Julia Childs died. She graduated with a degree in history from Smith, where she also learned French, and had dreams of writing for New Yorker magazine. She moved to New York, but the only job she could get was writing advertising copy for a furniture and rug company.

After three of four year of this, she enlisted in what is now the CIA! She was posted to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), where she met her husband-to-be, a foreign service officer, who really wanted to be a painter and photographer. She liked cooking for him.

In the late 40s, he was posted to Paris. Now in her late 30s, she didn't know what she would do, but she liked cooking for him, so she enrolled in a haute cuisine school for chefs, with no interest whatsoever in the restaurant business. Anyhow, she made friends with two French chefs, and together they wrote a cookbook. Published in 1961, only 27 years after she graduated from Smith. It took her a little while to "find herself."

The cooking tv shows began in 1963.. Sounds very domestic, of course, unlike the liberated woman, except that she astonished tv audiences by drinking the wine she cooked with. Now, many housewives did that all the time, but she was the first to do so openly.

10-15 books later, hundreds of tv and radio spots, couple of hundred million dollars (or so it is said), and a very happy life. No kids, though, although she "adopted" scores of Smithies in her time. She was 91 when she died.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 03:50 pm: Edit

Sac, Berkeley is a great place to retire.
Sonoma is nice too. My parents are there.
Olympia being liberal is a big plus for me.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 03:57 pm: Edit

For a humorous perspective on a liberal arts education, read Conan O'Brien's Harvard Class Day speech of 2000. It's been reproduced on quite a few websites, so you can just google Conan O'Brien + Harvard. O'Brien majored in English and wrote his senior thesis on Faulkner.

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 04:07 pm: Edit

I've been watching Julia Childs for what seems decades now. Never learned a thing from her but watched her nevertheless. Will miss her.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 04:14 pm: Edit

What makes college towns so attractive? I lived next to a major university for many years and I think these are the advantages.

1. Stellar peer group. Irreplaceable, really. Maybe it's the sense of purpose. Never thought about it like that Sfe.

2. Peer group with less conspicuous consumption than general pop. (Still unbelieveable pressure in US to consume conspicuously. Unbelieveable. The nicest people get sucked in).

By Sac (Sac) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 04:14 pm: Edit

There is another successful chef I read about who has a PhD in Asian or East Asian studies, I believe, and whose love of cooking came from her exposure to Asian cuisines.

In the you can't always predict in college what you'll do with your life category....

Within the last two days, I've read or heard about two physics majors. One is now a Congressman. The other was a recording engineer who worked with some of the greats, including John Coltrane and Charlie Parker.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit

Sfe, it amazes me how few people, such as yourself, had the wisdom to take the IPO largess and get out. So many took a million, or five million, and stayed to live in crummy school districts and in an area where they can't afford to do much else but pay the mortgage on the house that was still a stretch. They chase the next IPO (good luck now!) and never see their kids. Congratulations.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 07:21 pm: Edit

Mom101, I just played golf with my cousin who is in the computer business. I asked him how Silicon Valley people are surviving.
He said inheritance. The parents of the baby boomers are starting to die.
Cheers, I have always liked college towns...intelligent people with tons of energy, less money focused.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 07:32 pm: Edit

Funny Dstark, I never gave this much thought, but it is the reality for several of my friends.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 12:51 am: Edit


Thanks, that's the name of the book. Sounds good to me as well...

Continued at Part 2

Report an offensive message on this page    E-mail this page to a friend

Administrator's Control Panel -- Board Moderators Only
Administer Page