Friday, January 24, 2014

Young marriage: Another daughter engaged!


I feel like such a rebel! I have condoned -- no, encouraged! -- something that would have been unthinkable to me just a few years ago. The first public hints of my mental shift came through on a giddy facebook status a few weeks ago:
Through steady growth in my Faith and (please God) in wisdom, some of my philosophies of life have changed so much that I don't think even my 40-year-old self would recognize Leila today. Life is wild and wonderful. Hang on tight….

Followed by:
People think that the great freedom is in jettisoning the "constraint" of the moral law and God Himself. But they are wrong. There is no freedom there. The freedom is in jettisoning the more secular conventions of the culture, sometimes with abandon.

My mind was whirling, processing, but few people knew what was was happening behind the scenes.

Soon, I quoted the Holy Father:
“God always surprises us. Like the new wine in the Gospel, God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God!” -- Pope Francis

I even brought my hidden excitement to this blog, posting these inspiring words from Pope Francis to those at World Youth Day:
Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion; in a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of "enjoying" the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, "forever", because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. 
I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love. I have confidence in you and I pray for you. Have the courage "to swim against the tide". Have the courage to be happy.

The pope's exhortation to the youth resonated deeply within me, because something was brewing in my own family and was changing my own heart and mind.

I had always been a theoretical proponent of young marriage for our Catholic youth if the couple was sufficiently mature and understood the meaning of the Sacrament -- but not actually for my own children! After a college degree, yes, then the Miller children could safely head to the altar. But before? I couldn't condone it. I was just not that brave. Ultimately, I cared too much about what people thought.

But that was before the shocking realization that my 19-year-old daughter not only would soon get engaged, but should soon get engaged!

And now I don't care what people think.

Early marriage is not for everyone, to be sure. But this particular young adult couple, firmly ensconced in their Catholic Faith, desired to be married. Dean and I assessed the situation and ultimately agreed that they should be. Bam! Just like that, the conventions we grew up with were cast off like shackles. Our daughter would marry at the age of 20, before her degree was complete.

And so, with Mama still basking in the wonderful strangeness of it all, my husband and I give our blessing to what happened last weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, when our younger daughter agreed to marry the stellar 22-year-old man who proposed to her on bended knee in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus Christ Himself, Who is the Source and Summit of both of their lives.










With the young man's parents' support and blessing as well, the Millers have begun planning another wedding that (depending on the Navy!) should take place in about a year.

I'm still in awe, and I couldn't be more thrilled by this turn of events -- and my own turn of heart.

God is full of surprises!















May the Lord bless the happy couple now and for many, many decades to come!




Jenna Rousseau Photography



256 comments:

  1. This gives me chills - I love it! Congratulations :). As one on a journey where my current self would not recognize the me from just a few years ago as well, that leap of faith is scary, but oh. so. worth. it. Prayers for all of you!

    Did she know he was going to propose or was there a photographer "hiding out" waiting for them?

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  2. Congratulations to you, your daughter, and her fiance!

    I was engaged at 20, but waited almost three years to marry. I wish now that I hadn't (it was so we could finish school), but everything has worked out well nonetheless. As I see more and more people muddle through their 20s with no direction (except "party harder" and "make money") I am glad that my husband and I are there for each other. :)

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  3. Rebecca, thank you!! I know exactly how you feel (and it's been an honor watching your own metamorphosis).

    The photographer is a friend of the groom-to-be, and he had cleverly arranged for her to be "taking pictures of the cathedral" as they just "happened" to be there. ;)

    But she actually did know the proposal was coming. :)

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  4. So when are we going to get the "How They Met" story?!?!??!?

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  5. Ha ha, Liesl, I will expand on that someday, but here is the nutshell:

    Catholic Match combined with the powerful 54-day rosary novena! She deferred his first message last summer, but through a series of events he tried again (as she began the novena, unbeknownst to him) and it was all over.

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    1. And yes, I did have my grubby hands indirectly involved with getting this whole ball rolling...

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    2. Congrats. Our 20-year-old is getting married this summer. She is finishing school first, but because she wanted to. No pressure from us either way. We love her husband-to-be. That said, she crammed and studied so she could finish a year early. Her degree is philosophy, so not worth much professionally. She wants to be a stay-at-home mom. God bless her. After all she's been through with our large family and she still wants to have her own children!

      I left college to be married and start a family (also military). It took me 17 years to finish my degree and I have ZERO regrets. I finished because my husband was getting sent away to war and I wanted to be ready to be head of the family if necessary if the unthinkable happened.

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  6. Congratulations! There is so much joy and promise in a happy union! It is almost like a new baby! :)

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  7. It's so moving. Congratulations!
    May they grow in love every day!

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  8. Congratulations to your daughter and her future husband! Starting out your life together in front of the Blessed Sacrament? That's a great sign! You're doing something right there, Leila!

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  9. Congrats. I just love those pictures!

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  10. Hooray! Congratulations to the happy couple! What a great way to get engagement pictures--she almost looked like she dressed for it! Very stylish!:-)

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  11. Congratulations to your daughter! I'm amongst the crowd who would say wait until you are finished with college. That said, my husband comes from a large Mormon family in the east valley and many of his cousins married around 20. Most of them have happy, larger families. It can be done, but I'd encourage her to finish her degree before pregnancy because you never know what the future holds.

    BTW, is this your Priscilla? She's a beauty.

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  12. Priscilla, yes, that is my Priscilla! Thank you!

    "I'd encourage her to finish her degree before pregnancy because you never know what the future holds."

    This opens up another HUGE discussion for me (probably deserves a post and comments of its own), in which I also have changed my previous paradigm. I went to an elite New England university, graduated summa cum laude. It was what I was expected to do, and I went with it. It's taken me a long time to realize that the degree is practically worthless (though I did end up finding my husband during a semester in D.C. so that's something!). I don't even remember what I learned, and most of what impacted me there was partying and debauchery. Thankfully, I was debt-free because of generous parents, but that is not normally the case in today's world of massive student debt slavery. Things are not what they were. Too many university degrees today are not worth it and do not lead to happiness and good employment, but again, that is a discussion of its own.

    For the record, she and her fiance intend for her to finish her degree. She continues on with her studies as she is engaged (and she chose a community college, due the desire to avoid college debt; Again, it would have been unthinkable to me years ago that any child of mine would attend a community college; another complete change of heart here!), and she will continue toward that degree when married. Without incurring debt, and without bypassing marriage and family in the meantime. Marriage and motherhood are her vocation, not getting a degree, as noble as that can be (and used to be). Now, I am not downplaying education. My daughter went to a high school where she was classically educated with a Great Books curriculum. So, I would put up the education she has already received against most college grads today. She will be very well able to educate her children and contribute much to society.

    One of the many perks of my daughter being from a big family: If anything (God forbid) should happen to her husband, she has a huge, loving family (with many professionals and professionals-in-training) to come home to. Her support system is huge, thanks to the Faith that teaches us openness to life, and thanks to having a ton of siblings and extended family. She is a blessed young woman in so many ways, and I can only thank God and the Catholic Faith for that reality.

    Yep, I can't follow the crowd on this one. I really have changed my mind.

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    1. In other words, it's such an individual decision, and each couple and circumstance is different. That's what our culture has utterly forgotten, and it's hurt many people who could have, should have, been married young and reaped the joys and benefits of that choice.

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    2. I got married at the end of my third year of school. My husband and I both had at least a year left. He finished the following spring, when our new baby was 2 weeks old. I had lofty plans about daycare and finishing school...until I actually had my baby in my arms. Things change. Family matters. Worldly attractions are just distractions. I am so grateful that I have put my life into my family, despite all the flack I've taken over the years about "wasting" my mind and my life. NO REGRETS HERE. NONE. (Leila, you and I are about the same age.) I have so many friends my age who are "enjoying" established careers and the paychecks they bring. They had two kids who are now either grown or almost grown, kids they hardly know. They have accolades and stuff. I have joy. I don't envy them.

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  13. Way to go, young lovers!

    I just wrote a long comment about how I married young and couldn't be happier, etc. and then I lost it!

    I'll say this: I'd rather my children start their adult lives with the grace that always accompanies the sacrament of marriage than the debt that usually accompanies a college degree.

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  14. Congratulations Leila! As someone who was engaged at 22 and married at 23 I would not have done it any different. We trusted in God and His timing and it worked out. When you are grounded in your faith you are able to discern God's call. Congratulations to the couple and may God bless them abundantly!

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  15. I did not go to college and I'm okay with that decision. I always knew I wanted to be a mother and a wife. In my "career" I had a great job that paid better than all my college educated friends, I was sadly unfulfilled. I struggled with what the world was telling me to be fulfilling, a good career but I was so unsatisfied and longed for more than what my career could have ever given me.

    I wish, when I was 20 and met my now husband, that I would have been able to marry him then. I had to grow up the hard way.

    Marriage has been such a huge blessing to me, I wish I would have been able to have had 6 more years with him when I was younger.

    I think it's a true testament to your parenting.

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  16. Oh I'm so happy for them and your whole family! G and I also married young (I jokingly called myself a child bride, haha) and it was so wonderful. We'll celebrate 10 yrs. this summer! I loved reading your thinking about everything…and how perfect that our Pope just recently spoke about this…love it! Congratulations! P.S. I also never heard of a 54-day novena before but when I saw you talk about it in the fb comments, I looked it up and started one 5 days ago. So thank you! :)

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  17. Congratulations! I absolutely love the hats they are both wearing. I wish hats like those were more common in everyday fashion ; )

    Are your sons eager/excited to find spouses too?

    My own experience is pretty much polar opposite your daughter, but I have no regrets. Congratulations to her and your family though.

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  18. Congratulations!!! :) While I didn't marry young, I did meet my husband online. Ave Maria Singles. My sister met her hubby on Catholic Match. :)

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  19. Darling photos! Congrats to all!

    That'd be an interesting post on education. Which field is she looking into?

    And:
    "Today, there are those who say that marriage is out of fashion; in a culture of relativism and the ephemeral, many preach the importance of "enjoying" the moment. They say that it is not worth making a life-long commitment, making a definitive decision, "forever", because we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
    I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love.
    "

    BEST.

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  20. Beautiful couple, amazing pictures! Congratulations to all of you, what a blessed day! It also explains why your mind was perhaps less focused on the blogging - it's been well worth the wait!

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  21. Filthy, stinking, over the top, “Lovey, pass me the spittoon, this dog food they call caviar is killing me”, RICH! You guys are amazing, blessed, wise and I agree with the OP and all your comments. Right there with you, have watched and learned and changed as well. Congratulations Priscilla and all the Millers!

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  22. Congratulations!

    My husband and I have been married 8 years now. When we married I was 18 and he was 20. I was raised Mormon (we're now Catholic) in Idaho/Utah so it wasn't uncommon for people to marry so young. I agree that it isn't for everyone but it was right for us. We grew up together. We also decided to start our family before either of us had a degree -gasp-. I found college was just not for me after one semester. My husband studied philosophy but then took a break before we had our first son. We realized that once you have a family your decision on what degree to pursue changes a lot. (If anything happened to my husband I would go back to school in something totally different than what 18 year old me chose!) My husband is now one semester away from graduating with an employable degree and in a field that will allow him to have more time with his family. We now have three boys! Yes we continued to have kids while he was in school -double gasp-. Has it been hard? You bet. But it's been worth it. Those boys, more than anything else have made our priorities clear.

    According to everyone else my husband and I did everything wrong. They told us to wait to get married. We didn't. They told us to wait to have kids. We didn't. They told my husband that he would never go back to school if he took a break. He did.

    There are a lot of naysayers out there but in my experience marrying young and having kids sooner rather than later has more advantages than people give it credit for. If I had it to do all over again I wouldn't change a thing... except for maybe skipping that one worthless semester of college ;).

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  23. Natasha, that is awesome!! What a great comment. And thanks to the rest of you… I am really enjoying the comments and experiences (and I agree, Gwen… I love the hats, too, and I have a great picture of the two of them in a haberdashery!)

    Nubby, she is studying business at the moment. :)

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    1. Ah, nice. Very flexible choice. Business Finance is the way to go, imo. Classes between babies. Then someday maybe her MBA. Then more babies. ;)

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    2. Ha ha, yes, lots of babies (God willing!). And the good news is that her fiance is a Navy Nuke, which means he runs the nuclear power plants on the ships. This knowledge is quite marketable in the private sector, so he will be in great shape for the future (although his goal is to be a medical doctor, which I don't doubt he'll execute well.)

      My girls ended up like me… craving the stay-at-home mommy life! I pray that they will always be in a position to have that dream fulfilled.

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    3. Hmmm, carriers, subs...San Diego!? Balboa Navy Hospital. Hanging with the Sawayas?

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    4. Oh, believe me, Chris, San Diego is what we are praying for!!! Start praying, too… bring out the big guns, my friend! If they go there, I will be spending a lot more time in San Diego!

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    5. Ahem! You know my house is a stop on the way to the Sawayas', right?

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    6. Of course, yes, pick up all the Bubble related desert dwellers between Phoenix and SD. Come on down! We'll host you all:)

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  24. Wow! I was surprised by this post! Good for you for admitting a changed mind! I think some of the hardest things we have had to work through have been baggage surrounding previous relationships so much so that sometimes I wish we had just married each other younger, but then it wouldn't have been him so, I always catch myself :) We got married when I was 24 and he was 26 so I guess we hurried up and got on it as soon as we found each other ;) Congrats to them!

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  25. This is awesome! Oh the grace is way better than that college debt!! YES!!

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  26. Gwen, I forgot to answer your question! My oldest son is a junior in college, pre-med, honors student, working as a paid intern for the Mayo Clinic as well, very nicely positioned to be a good provider for a wife and family -- yes, he wants to marry young. He is a faithful Catholic and looking for a faithful Catholic young woman. So… if any of you out there have thoughts on that, shoot me an email, ha ha!!

    My other boys are all a bit young to think about it, but my soon to be sixteen-year-old son has talked about marrying young as well. He is on the engineering track, so any mommies out there with girls that age, make a mental note and get back to me in a few years. ;)

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    1. I also think it's awesome your sons are thinking of marriage young... that is like my hubby. Too often men aren't encouraged to think of marrying young or of supporting a family, and that has long-term repercussions.

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  27. Congratulations Leila! Wonderful news and gorgeous couple!

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  28. Congratulations to you and the lovely couple! What joy!

    I married at 22, and am sooooo thankful for every second I've had with my wife. There's something magical about being that young and married. How wonderful that your daughter(s) get to experience it!

    Cheers!

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  29. Congrats to your daughter!

    you and your family have a different approach to marriage than most. And it just shows that there isnt a one size fits all approach to life, especially relationships. I don't think young marriage works for a lot of people, but if it works for you it works!

    CS

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  30. Aw, another Catholic Match couple??? God is working through long-distance and the internet big time these days!!

    Regarding finishing college before children... I too think it's so individual for each couple. I have a sibling who left college after one year, floundered for a bit to find direction (but really, it was wise for her to not rack up debt while she was so uncertain) and in the meantime met her wonderful hubby (also military) through Ave Maria Singles (yep, online!). It became clear to ALL of us that THIS is why she was "called away" from her university at the time (that's not to say she could never or should never get a degree... she just CLEARLY had an early vocation the rest of us weren't quite so blessed to have!). They now have 4 kids, have traveled the world... she still has plans to study and maybe get a degree or certification some day, but I am always in awe of how blessed she is to be living her "counter cultural" family life so young. Fertility and family-building years can be limited, but we can always be life-long learners (not to say that everyone should follow this path, but I totally agree that it's right for some).

    What a gorgeous couple! And YAY for more wedding planning!! :)

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  31. Thanks, everyone! And Sarah, yes, one thing about faithful Catholic guys marrying young is that if one has a vocation to marriage, most chaste young men will want to marry and bond early with a wife. The two forsaking all others and (finally, after marriage) becoming one flesh. It's so wonderful. But the good men go fast, truly. I have sooooooooo many more women asking me to help them find matches than men.

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  32. PS: I highly recommend Catholic Match (esp. if you remember to find the "7 out of 7"'s), and AMS! I know so many folks who have met their spouses on these sites. It's such a great use of the internet! I am a huge proponent of being proactive in finding a spouse if that is the vocation one is called to. None of this sitting around waiting to see if he walks into your parish magically one day! Get moving, do something!

    Heck, I actively pursued my wonderful husband, even back before we were anywhere near faithful Catholics (he was not even Christian). It's so important to go where good eligible Catholic men are. Don't be embarrassed ladies! :) And men, don't be shy!

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    1. And for those who do not understand the "7 out of 7" reference, here is a post I wrote on that many moons ago:

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/04/disappointing-eureka.html

      It's sad but true! Thankfully, my daughter's fiance was a 7 out of 7, not a 5 out of 7 (which she did not even consider). She wanted someone who already understood and embraced his Faith, in obedience and love.

      Truly, though, Catholic Match needs to add an 8th question now, about acceptance of the Church's teaching on marriage. Funny how that never used to be an issue in the culture, thus no previous need for such a question -- which shows you how contrived (and not just a "religious matter") the whole gay "marriage" issue is.

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  33. Oh, I couldn't agree more about being proactive! I was on AMS for years (and Catholic Match some, too). You are right, it is typically much tougher for women.. not as many active, Catholic young men out there. But sitting around and waiting... I just couldn't do it. Ironically, my dream hubby showed up one day at my parish. ;) But after encouraging a single sibling and a single friend to try the online route, both found wonderful spouses. So my own experiences there weren't in vain. :) (Actually, nowadays, I'd almost recommend Catholic Match over AMS... 10 years ago, AMS seemed to be the better option due to their thorough profiles, but now, CM seems to have a great population of young people and AMS seems a little more limited).

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  34. Sarah, ha ha, that is so wonderful that he did show up at your parish!! I love it, and so I stand corrected… it can happen, folks! :)

    And I totally agree with you on the AMS/CM thing. I used to ONLY recommend AMS, and now I tend to recommend Catholic Match much more often than AMS, due to the sheer numbers of young folks. Volume makes up for some of the lack of orthodoxy in the general CM crowd. :)

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    1. By the way, people should not give up, even after years. Priscilla found her young man very quickly once she joined, but he had been on the site for a couple of years. I hear he was almost ready to quit the site. I am ever so grateful that he didn't!!! And so is my daughter!

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    2. Amen to this. I joined AMS when I was 21. I didn't get married until I was 29. Sometimes we have to persevere for quite some time (and yes, even though my DH showed up at my parish and even noticed me and tried to pursue me off the bat, it still took friends playing "match maker" to get me to notice him AND, I was the first one to ask him out on a date). I have a very good friend who married a man she met on Catholic Match. She was on it for a couple years before meeting him and was 33 when she married - had joined AMS even prior to that.

      Just makes me even MORE happy for your daughter that it unfolded at such a nice young age. :)

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  35. Priscilla G, my mind came back to this:

    I'm amongst the crowd who would say wait until you are finished with college. That said, my husband comes from a large Mormon family in the east valley and many of his cousins married around 20. Most of them have happy, larger families. It can be done, but I'd encourage her to finish her degree before pregnancy because you never know what the future holds.

    But I think you're making my point. You say that "most" of these early-marrieds have big happy families. You are seeing that it works out, right in the midst of a divorce culture. There are so many *unhappy* marriages among people who followed the "go to college, get the degree first" rules (and of course happy ones as well).

    I would venture to guess that it's the deep faith and religious culture that is the variable of those happy families you mention. You'd likely agree. I think it's the same with devout Catholics who marry, whether young or old, whether with a degree or without. That's why it's not the age or the college degree that matters, it's the commitment to one's faith and an understanding of one's marriage as a supernatural, unbreakable bond instituted by God that makes the difference.

    Just a thought that I had to get out there.

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  36. Congratulations to the gorgeous couple. I loved looking at their pictures, it just seems so timeless. I felt my vocation early on to be a wife and mother, yet there was not much happening in the dating area in that time of my life. I admit, I was painstakingly picky, but it was NECESSSRY! My expectations were faith related and life-goal related. I always felt countercultural desiring to marry young. Thankfully, I met my future husband at the age of 21 (just a month shy of turning 22) and we married when I was 23, he was just a babe at 24. I will never forget how all my prayers were to find my husband soon simply because I was questioning my vocation. I still remember with great clarity that one winter day, I was going in for a job interview and when I pulled into the parking lot of the company I clearly heard a message from God that I would meet my husband here. I worked there for a few months, never meeting him. It took one brief meeting and we were hooked. We will be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary in July, so thankful for him! So thankful for the gift of being able to grow along side him for so many years!

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  37. I've thought for a long time that faithful Catholics should encourage early marriages for their children. Here is one reason: how can we expect them to live chastity from the ages of say eighteen through thirty-five in our totally sex saturated society?

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  38. I met my husband online at age 19, and we were engaged and later married when I was 20. Don't regret it at all! I went on to finish my degree (and have worked full-time in my field ever since), and my husband finally finished his in November 2012. (He went part time for years and took several semesters off, as we had four kids in between when he started his degree and when he finished it.) He just got a job in his field, computer programming, two weeks ago, a few months after baby #5 arrived. :)

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  39. "I would venture to guess that it's the deep faith and religious culture that is the variable of those happy families you mention. You'd likely agree. I think it's the same with devout Catholics who marry, whether young or old, whether with a degree or without. That's why it's not the age or the college degree that matters, it's the commitment to one's faith and an understanding of one's marriage as a supernatural, unbreakable bond instituted by God that makes the difference.
    "

    Interesting points. My take is a little different... but I getcha ;)

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  40. First of all, let me say, I agree with what you're saying Leila. I don't think age is necessarily a factor in readiness for marriage or family. And I acknowledge that your daughter is considered "young" not just by today's standards but because she 's still working on her degree, by many would-be supporters.

    However, I'm confused about the ages that others are claiming young with no degree. I get that marrying in your early 20's is considered YOUNG by today's standards. But what age are people graduating from college? I married at 21 and my husband was 22, super young according to our current culture and at the time according to all my friends and family. We also had our BA's in hand too.

    Don't tell me 21/22 is now considered "too young" to be graduating from college?

    I don't get it...

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  41. Nubby, I'd love to hear your take!

    Bethany, I guess there are different camps. I married "young" (23, hubby 24) by today's standards, but I think it was more acceptable because we had college degrees. There is a double whammy of unacceptability if the couple is not only young but also without a degree (or just working on one).

    And, more and more I hear that even with degrees, people think they should wait till they are "mature" and "have lived life" and "are financially set", etc. before they do something as unexciting and stifling as settling down and marrying. The average age of marrying now is late twenties?

    I believe that there is no right age to marry, but that generally marriage should be the cornerstone to one's adult life, not the capstone.

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  42. Leila I actually really disagree,

    I dont think people are delaying marriage because its boring but because its exciting to and it gives you something to look forward to. Celebrating milestones are fun. Graduating is big. Getting your first apartment is big. Getting a job is big. Getting married is big. Buying a home is big. Having kida re big. Getting married/buying your first home/having children sort of go together and they are the last of YOUR milestones. Sure there will be other milestones your kids graduating and what not but it's not the same. Some people just want to spread out their milestones it doesnt mean that they don't see a benefit to marriage just that there are a lot of great things in life and enough time to enjoy them all.

    CS

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  43. I don't know, CS.

    Marriage used to be seen as the way to start one's adult life, no? And it was important not only to the spouses, but crucial to the foundational strength of the whole society. It was not just something done along the way on par with buying a house or getting a job, just another "fun thing" or even "big thing".

    I always ponder the fact that all societies have done two things: Married through rituals, and buried their dead. Those things are so primal. It's not like graduating or getting your first apartment.

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  44. Those pictures of them in front of the tabernacle make me want to cry in a good way. In my universe there are no nice Catholic boys and everyone gets married to whomever gets them pregnant first. It is absolutely joyous and heartening to see that it isn't that way for everyone. That there are good men of character, that young people wait on sex, that those fresh out of high school do make good choices. Thanks be to God.

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  45. Congrats, Leila! Please pass on my best wishes to the bride and congratulations to the groom. (Although, they don't know me.) Such happy, joyful news!

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  46. My family always had the philosophy once you meet that person.....you know. And until you meet that person.....you just don't get it. In my family the age of child at the time of the first marriage spanned from 19 to 41.

    My mom did a real sweet display at the rehearsal dinner for my eldest brother (the one married at 41) titled "Through the years and across the miles" It was about what they went through and how they finally found each other. Not a dry eye in the house. No less sweet or loving than my middle brother who married his high school sweetheart at 19.

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  47. Isn't it funny how our perspectives change?

    I was sure I'd marry young...but it didn't work out (despite a few proposals along the way). I graduated from college...did some masters work in theology...and then went on to law school. Honestly, I'd more or less given up hope for my married vocation. I was discerning with a group of sisters who had professional jobs, but still lived in community, wore their habits, etc. I also thought about being a consecrated single and was actually working up quite a bit of enthusiasm over living as some sort of hermit in the mountains, with five dogs and several shot guns.

    Then my best friend left seminary, and told me he was in love with me! Two years later, after I finished law school, we got married. A year and a half later, we had our first baby on earth.

    I've never worked as an attorney, although I do use my theology MA quite a bit and am currently working as the youth minister at our parish. But - we have loans. Huge scary loans that we're paying because I was too scared to quit law school and just get married. I was scared what people would think - especially my parents, and his parents. I knew the prestige of being a lawyer was so much greater than, "oh I have a BA, did some work on an MA, some work on a JD..." My parents were already horribly embarrassed that I left my grad school to go to law school!

    And now I face the pressure of people wondering why I went to all those years of schooling if not to work. I have been asked variations on "what is it to educate a woman if she just stays home." My husband and I are united in the desire for me to stay home and educate our children, and praise God, we can afford to do that even with my imprudent loans. But I have a feeling that if I had always been allowed to want to be a stay at home mom...if I hadn't felt like changing directions was 'quitting' - then I would have made different choices.

    I will raise my daughter differently. I will tell her that staying at home is a wonderful choice if she's called to it, and that a college degree is not necessary for a good and happy life. I don't want her to be ashamed of the most natural desire in the world - to be a mother and stay home to raise her children.

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  48. Congratulations and God's choicest blessings to Dirk and Priscilla!

    Although...umm... we have to note that one Ms Amy Glass is not at all impressed. :)

    I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry

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  49. Francis- Is it really worth the time to reply to Ms. Glass's post? Won't life set her straight soon enough?

    Anyone who spends time with children knows raising them isn't easy. Anyone who lives in a household bigger than one knows that laundry can destroy domestic tranquility faster than anything. Those are just facts of life.

    True working women don't look down on stay at home moms. We respect the ones that deserve respect (raise their kids, keep house, and respect our lives as well.) For the ones who are lazy and use their husbands as a meal ticket.....we feel sorry for the husbands.

    Vacuuming isn't as important as being a doctor but backpacking through Asia is not as important as raising kids.

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  50. It's late and I wish I could respond individually to all of you, but rest assured I am loving reading these stories!!

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  51. It's late and I wish I could respond individually to all of you, but rest assured I am loving reading these stories!!

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  52. There are a few points that got put together.
    I would untie education from marital age and sacramental understanding.

    As far as marital age, I agree with the original topic supporting the idea of marrying young. I support that 100%. If the couple is ready, there's no time like the present.

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  53. Kat, well put. Some of the stuff I read these days leaves me wondering if the authors can really be serious about their propositions (provocations) or whether they've been smoking funny cigarettes or are just pathologically desperate for some attention. Or maybe those three things are a natural fit for each other? :)

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    1. Ha ha! Who knows! I think part of it is so many kids are taught every thought they have is pure gold and it takes them a while to understand the rest of the world doesn't find them as interesting as their parents.

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  54. There is something that is just so ... "refreshing" about all of this!!!!

    What a beautiful young couple. And at the risk of sounding shallow (because there are SO many philosophical, theological, cultural tides they are swimming against in embracing marriage (at all, much less at a young age) that I could touch upon, I just wanna say I LOVE her outfit in those pics! Not only did you raise a holy woman, but a classy one!!

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  55. Congratulations!!! The joy on your daughter's face is so touching. You and your husband must be so happy!

    I totally agree that early marriage is not for everyone, though. It certainly wasn't for me. I married at the ripe old age of 36 and I am very thankful for it. Obviously, the fact that I was in med school (then residency, and fellowship) had a huge factor in that, but I would also like to believe that I was, in my own way, doing what Pope Francis exhorted the youth to do. I believe in marriage and I believe that it is a life-long commitment. So I had no desire to marry unless I KNEW it was going to be for life. So I waited. And I found him. :-)

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  56. M. Albinoni, that is wonderful! One of my dearest friends in the world married her husband when she was 36. Three children and 24 years later, they are still the happiest couple with a solid Catholic marriage (they were introduced by their priest!). Their eldest daughter (my eldest daughter's best friend) is recently engaged herself to a wonderful Catholic young man. So, I totally agree that we follow God's lead and we can't go wrong. :)

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  57. I sometimes find it difficult to believe this debate still takes place. In our world of immediacy and instant gratification, I always found it strange that marriage, one of the central figures of socioeconomic infrastructure, seems to travel in the opposite direction. As it has become easier to get to know someone more quickly, people have become convinced that you need even more time to do so. The result has been a reckless abandon by society of the basic elements of marriage as a unit. Now, the elements surrounding a marriage are so torn away from one another that few see the point in getting married with any haste. Sexual gratification is given to men and women in the discrete privacy of their own homes by the lifeless displays of their computers. Culture encourages us to live together, have sex, and just stave off the inevitable results of these actions with even more casual relationships and contraceptives. We are told by society at a young age that it is required to have a degree in some personally self-important field to be happy in life, yet most who do this see their passions quantized and eventually reduced to a miserable grey. The first time so much of the world has come together to protect nature is ironically the time it has chosen, seemingly, to destroy itself. The life of a lion cub is rightfully protected while the life of an embryonic human child is wrongfully encouraged to be destroyed. Business ventures have become somehow more important than family. The price of oil is for some reason causing men and women to doubt the affordability of a human life. Housing expenses manage ineffably to discourage a couple from marrying into one home. After all, when you combine finances, it's all over.

    I defy the sentiment of this notion. I say that a man called to marry is called to as much immediacy as the man called to pull a woman from a fire. After all, he may very well be doing just that, or the woman may be doing the same for the man. I can say with no level of uncertainty that the day I signed up for the Navy, I made a less significant life decision than I did the day I asked Priscilla to marry me. In fact, I can find no decisions more important outside the sacraments.

    I had to stop typing to go to mass, and now I can't remember what I was going to say next, so I'll end with this: I could not be happier that I'll be marrying such a servant of God as Priscilla. I cannot attribute enough credit to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was prepared to know Priscilla through my consecration to Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her intercession due at least in part to the 54-day novena has brought us closer together than I ever expected to be with such a holy woman. Praise the Lord! :)

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    1. Now you can see why I love my future son-in-law!! :)

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    2. Does he have any very significantly older, single brothers? ;-)

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    3. GFNY, I'd clone him if it weren't immoral. ;) Now, go do your 54-day rosary novena after signing up for Catholic Match. :)

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    4. Leila, my girls might be marrying your daughters boys! :) LOL

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  58. Reality check on college education, employment and debt:

    http://news.yahoo.com/college-worth-104500677--politics.html

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  59. Leila,

    I am so excited for you!! Congratulations!!! I am so filled with hope by your post. I LOVE the pictures! I was moved to tears by the photos of him on one knee. So beautiful! I, too, am looking forward to the "how they met" post. I'm intrigued that he proposed in SC. My oldest daughter is 16 and I would be thrilled for her to marry young. I married at 24, but would have married my hubby much earlier! God bless you!

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  60. Regarding average age of college graduation - yes, 21 would now be considered "young." College students are less focused today and the average time it takes to get through college is about 5 years with an average change in major of at least 3 times. I had my BA by age 21 *only* because I skipped a year of high school (with guidance counselors pressuring me to wait because "I wouldn't be ready for college" - whatever! College isn't exactly a magnet for maturity). My husband did not have his BS until he was 25 due to horrible career counseling and a rather winding path (in spite of being a hard worker... when I met him, he was carrying a crushing 21 credits per semester trying to end the misery of college). His brother won't have a BS until he is at least 23. Look at average graduation times for most colleges... the stats show about 5, even 6 years. No wonder more young people are in debt. And this only pushes marriages up, up, up when people insist on being done with a Bachelor's first.

    When my mom was going to college, she had a real sense of duty to pay for it and be done asap. She chose the most practical career she could think of and got a full ride scholarship and did not change her major once. She took no more than exactly 4 years to complete her BS. She would be very rare today.

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    1. And last I checked, average age for marriage for women was roughly 26/men 28 in the US? In major urban centers the averages actually break into the early 30's. *Averages!* I got engaged at age 24 to a 26-year-old NYC resident, and we were looked at as just revolutionary... and we were the only engaged couple at the time in the young adult Catholic circle and one of the youngest couples overall (sadly, that engagement did not work out, so we didn't actually help lower the NYC average). I remember people asking us our engagement story with almost a sense of awe.

      In my local area, the average for marriage is a bit younger compared to the national average and much younger than NYC's average, so marrying just shy of 30 felt really, frustratingly old. :) Sorry to go on and on.. this is one of those topics I get into, ha!

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  61. Sarah, you are right. It's crazy how long it takes to get through school now, and the amount of debt. When I was at a private university, everyone (and I do mean everyone) I knew graduated in four years. We came in as freshmen, and we graduated together. It never occurred to anyone to do otherwise, and maybe that's because it would have been so expensive (and the mindset was different even 25 years ago). Crazy what's happening now!

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  62. Sarah, regarding your second comment just above, it almost seems as though people (even good Catholics) are looking for permission to get married younger, but they aren't finding it much. They likely would marry younger if they felt they would get the support from family, friends, culture. I think we'd all be better off. Marriage tends to mature folks, and if people are waiting till their 30s (on average, as you say, in some regions), then we are seeing a trend of postponing what was generally understood to be the beginning of adulthood. Of course not everyone can/will/should marry young, but it's the trends that are troubling. And I don't see a bunch of wildly happy young adults in this culture.

    Anyone reading this… you have permission to marry young! Re-read Pope Francis' words. :)

    I also really like this article:

    http://catholicgentleman.net/2013/12/17/get-married-young-man-dating-to-marry/

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  63. Oh my, yes that IS different! Now it's, "I can always add a semester... " Or arguably worse... colleges accepting too many students (they are businesses trying to make a profit, after all) and simply not having the courses to offer students in certain majors so they can finish in a timely manner. I've seen that happen too many times. I always cringe when I hear politicians advocating for *more* college education (and the loans that go with it) as the solution to all our societal ills... way more complicated than that.

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  64. Sarah, totally agreed! The student loan debt in this nation is nightmarish, and that bubble is going to burst. Instead of pushing more college, we should be pushing more marriage and family life (and college when it's fruitful, affordable and sustainable). Our priorities have gotten so screwed up. :(

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  65. Permission to challenge the 'college debt' argument and 'amount of time it takes to complete college' argument. And you know I love you.

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  66. Nubby, you have standing permission to challenge me any time you'd like! You know I love you, too. I especially hope I am wrong about the nightmare that is the college debt bubble! Let's hear it! :)

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  67. Just as I don't believe that fear of potential divorce should keep people from marrying, I don't believe that fear of potential college debt should keep people from pursuing a degree.

    To your point on waiting for the better circumstances (when college is fruitful, affordable, sustainable), that may never happen.

    Would you agree that the remedy is the same for both (successful college career and successful married life)?

    Agreement, understanding, diligence, smart planning, and a commitment to protect for the future. It will pay off, if there is a plan.

    The best advice I heard, and that I give to young lady relatives who are considering college, includes a long list of questions to be answered before a field is even chosen. I'd be happy to throw some out here.

    My main point is not to let fear of anything postpone a wise and practical choice.
    A degree is a worthy pursuit, both spiritually and practically speaking.
    Having a degree is never a bad thing. It is better to have one and shelve it in the interim (or forever), than to not have it and wish for it or find you suddenly need it. Experience speaking here. I've lived one side, and witnessed the other. One is clearly the more practical (and pre-children, even easier) route to go.

    It is never a bad thing, to have a worthy degree. It's all in the planning, honestly. Do not fear, but plan. I can speak to the debt issue personally. It's all tied together in the planning, just as selecting a spouse is all in the planning (ie, the match-matching). One needs to include the practical and spiritual factors.

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    1. Nubby, I am a huge fan of having a degree. But part of the issue is that high school kids are not properly counseled on how to go about it *it all.* Not financially, not in selecting a career that will fit well long-term, etc. I am not a fan of ditching college degrees altogether, but out approach needs to be rethought. Also, the cost and loans have been inflated by a lot of government programs that are supposed to "help." My dad's law degree did not crush him in debt the way a law degree can and often does nowadays. I was blessed to have very good counsel, so my English degree was "worth it." My hubby paid way too much for a BS in Business and would have been better off doing it differently. It's not that degrees aren't valuable, we just need a better system.

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  68. To the points made on the amount of time it takes to complete college (extra year or two), I'd say: So what?

    Maybe one or two extra years, depending on credit load, for a BA, BS? That doesn't factor into a huge loss of time in the workforce. No promotions will be lost. What would one be doing for those one or two years anyway, if not in college?

    I just don't see the amount of time as important as pertains to finishing up with a good degree.

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    1. A lot of jobs don't see the typical BS or BA as a "good degree" though. It's like a generic starting point. The extra time = extra debt. Trust me... we're living through it with our monthly college loan payments, and I see it all the time. I even have friends with law degrees who cannot find adequate jobs (many starting positions offer 60k a year for lawyers. After you've wracked up 6 figures in debt. Meanwhile a Computer Science degree might pull in close to 6 figures with the right company after coming out with 15k in debt... this is where kids today need a LOT of good counsel and strategizing instead of just "everyone goes to college, here, sign of the dotted line for your first government loan... don't even look at the numbers, just sign! Oh, and here's your first credit card! Now, have fun at those frat parties!"

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    2. Um, and please don't judge my grammar/typos online, lol. Ack, I swear I have a BA in English that *was* worth it, but I am terrible with comments and FB (I'll blame the toddler running around).

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  69. Nubby, I don't disagree, but you are using the words "worthy degree", "planning", "good degree" and I would assume you would add, "worthy institution". Today, that is very, very rare. I think the hard sciences are worthy of racking up debt, as there may actually be a demand for that in the marketplace, and a way to pay back the loans. Liberal arts degrees these days (except in a *very* small, select group of schools) are corrupted, and worth very little on the outside.

    Even back in the day, when my husband got his poli sci/philosophy degree, it took him almost ten years to pay off a relatively small amount of debt. And that was before liberal arts degrees were completely corrupted in my opinion (have you seen what they do for an English degree in most universities nowadays? It's nonsense, leftist indoctrination, and reflects very little of what an English degree was when I was in school).

    I know folks with over $100,000 in debt now (principle). It will never be paid off, and becomes part of a "lifestyle" as one friend put it. But I don't want that lifestyle for my kids if I can help it. I see debt as a moral issue. If debt can be reasonably paid back, then that's one thing. But too often (most often?) kids today are taking on debt for liberal arts degrees that will never afford them the opportunity to pay it back. They become slaves to the debt.

    I'd be interested in your take on this:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/ripping-off-young-america-the-college-loan-scandal-20130815

    With a critique of it, here:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/356551/what-profits-rolling-stones-matt-taibbi-misunderstands-student-loans-jason-richwine

    I wish that most degrees today were a worthy spiritual pursuit. I don't see that anymore (again, aside from a very small handful of universities). And as far as cost-benefit, Bill Bennett did an analysis on that and found that very few colleges hit that standard (his book Is College Worth It? is an educational read):

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/only-150-3500-u-colleges-worth-investment-former-132020890.html

    I wish things were the way they used to be, but they are not. And new paradigms are springing up all over (thank God), but the kids caught up in the old one are being very, very badly served. I fear for them, honestly.

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  70. Having said all that, I will say this:

    My oldest daughter is a Classics Major, and she was able to get through her degree debt-free. What a gift, as she is now about to be a mommy. Her current job is clerical.

    My son is a biology major, and is racking up debt at a public university, but with a great plan for med school (and hopefully the M.D./Ph.D. program which is a scholarship). I know doctors with hundreds of thousands in debt (even several years into their practices) and I don't want my son to endure that.

    My nephews (the two so far of college/almost-college age) got full scholarships. My oldest nephew is going to a prestigious Jesuit university for free, since he earned their presidential scholarship by working very hard during his high school years. The Jesuit school, is a left-wing bastion, but he's muddling through, as he has a plan for grad school/law school and beyond (again, with full scholarships). No faithful Catholic would actually want to shell out tens of thousands in debt for what they are learning at this Jesuit college, trust me. But free? It's easier to swallow, and worth it for the long term plan.

    If he had not gotten the free ride to the private university, he would have gone, tuition-free, to a state school. Again, bypassing the debt is a huge part of the plan. (As Dennis Prager, Ivy League educated, has said: "Why would we pay people to corrupt our children?")

    My second nephew also worked hard and has been accepted (early) to all the Academies and will be attending the Naval Academy. No tuition. If he had not made it, he would have gone to a state school, tuition-free.

    I just have a very negative opinion on most universities today (can you tell, ha ha), esp. in the liberal arts. Hard science? Engineering? Biology? Even business? It might be worth it, but even then, find a way not to accumulate debt. It can be done. If the only way one can get a degree is becoming a slave to debt, then find another way.

    I can't say it enough: To me, debt is a moral issue, as much as any other. I have seen lives ruined, people crushed. I hate it so much.

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    1. Yes, this!! This!! And the amount of interest federal loans can charge... astronomical. It really can destroy people. Almost everyone in my family has advanced degrees... some will not be able to pay off the debt before they die (more examples... want to become a social worker and make 30k? You have to spend tens of thousands and get a master's! A school teacher making 40k? You have to get a master's... that's fine and well, except the costs have exploded. Look at the differences in cost over the past 30 years... far outpacing cost of living expenses and actual wages for these positions), So yes... we need a better way. Sounds like your family, Leila, has found several ways to make the system work for you instead of against you!

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  71. I agree with your points, I do. And, yes, I chose those words on purpose.
    I share your opinion on the joke that college has become in a lot of fields of study, yes.

    But, this is where the practical side of my brain starts to melt.
    This is why we need to look where the jobs are now, and where they are projected to be. And not just look at what is "hot right now", but where the jobs always are.

    We have to look at careers that are not intuitive, that's my main point. We have to think economically. Is this job/field x intuitive or does it take specialized training? If there are going to be cuts, would this be a career where I'm first to get cut or last? Simple, practical questions like this should be asked before a field is chosen.

    Take the math. Take the sciences. Take the computer programming. These pay off. Especially for women.
    Not everyone is good at math, science, I get that, gifts are different; but let's plan according to the economy with our gifts, then, right? Not just our passions at the moment. We have to accommodate the reality of the workforce, if we plan on entering it. There are certain fields I'd never recommend, even to a relative who maybe has a gift to serve in that field. I'd never recommend a dead end, economically, because of that responsibility to debt that you mentioned. To my brain, it's all planning, it's mostly practical planning.

    I agree with the moral responsibility to debt. This is what I mean when I say protect for the future, and choose a field wisely, etc.

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  72. Because there is a moral component to this, is where I say, go for the degree. Yes, liberal bias is there in droves at colleges everywhere. But that's no real top-heavy factor in whether one should pursue a degree or not.

    Speaking to the moral responsibility, think of it this way: If I have a degree, I can help a family member who might need financial help. If I have my degree, even if I've shelved it for 6 yrs., I can return to work and help this person get back on her feet for a few months.

    Even better, if I have that degree + job experience that was right out of college, I'm even more likely to be able to get re-hired should I ever need to re-enter the workforce.

    I don't believe the thought process or choice of to attend or not, should get hung up on the liberal-ese of colleges. I believe there is still a lot of merit in pursuing a degree (esp in technical or medical fields).

    There are so many reasons to have a degree. Maybe we agree that the colleges are a joke, but I really think the practicality and the pursuit is still worth it.

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  73. I blame universities for creating and keeping fewer and fewer tenure-track positions while making more room for administrative positions. Administrators outnumber professors at most major universities (good news, I suppose for those who enjoy administrative work). I also blame universities for squandering enormous amounts of money on sports and coaches.

    I always give undergrad students an idea of what possible jobs they might be able to obtain if they major in my discipline. I do think it's a worthy pursuit to do what you feel passionate about, but also good to keep a practical mindset and plan too.

    http://chronicle.com/article/The-Cost-of-a-PhD-Students/144049/

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  74. I had substantial debt. But it was because I completed my degree that I got hired and was able to pay that off in 6 yrs. That's my experience, anyway. A lot of that was due to protecting for the future. I knew the degree would pay off in relation to the debt that was reality at the time. This is the practical aspect I totally encourage for everyone.

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  75. Sarah,
    I don't completely disagree.
    Apart from the spiritual gifts/talents considerations, the most important practical discussions related to college careers, without a doubt, include:

    Which jobs are projected to be available upon my graduation/when I enter the workforce?
    Which field or career offers the best stability for my age and sex?
    What is the starting salary for this field?
    Is this field of choice too intuitive or is it more specialized and protected?
    Does my field of choice directly impact the economy?
    Will there practically always be a demand for my choice of career?
    Which careers/jobs in this field offer quick chance for promotion?
    Which careers offer flexibility for females, in terms of maternity leave and/or job-sharing?
    Which careers offer the best opportunity or flexibility for women to re-enter the workforce post-maternity?
    Will I need to relocate to find employment in this field?

    Spiritual questions matter too, of course, as pertains to which gifts or talents we've been given and how to appropriate those through our choice of study.

    I can't speak to other people's debt, or how they got there, or the way they took through college. Truth is, for every bad story, there's a success story, too. I'm speaking just directly to the wisdom of planning and diligence toward that plan. Trusting in Christ all along the way.

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    1. My hope is that these questions become much more routine, because my issue is that there is a growing trend of people being detrimentally affected by their college career choices. I do not believe the negative stories are the exception to the rule anymore.

      From a spiritual side of things, I agree, we all need to ask us what God is calling us to do with our talents. Unfortunately for some, rushing into college and taking on unprecedented amounts of debt can really hamper your ability to answer God's calling, too. I don't regret my degree, but if I could go back... I would do it differently. I would probably be an RN or something similar, not an English major. :) But that's a long story. I was encouraged mostly to just study what interested me and even in a very financially-savvy household, finances were probably still not discussed enough as it related to career prospects and debt. I finally wised up when my dad - always one to encourage advanced degrees - tried to convince me to get a law degree. I did the math and realized it was not a good investment. I did get accepted into a fantastic theological school overseas for a master's in theology, however, again, I did the math.. it was not a smart investment even though the price wasn't "bad" compared to many advanced degrees. But we're talking about a theology degree... if I want to study that field, I need a savvier way to do it then just signing up for the full loan amount. I have friends struggling under the weight of the cost of their theology degrees... many of them men, who are having a hard time supporting families now!

      Sorry to ramble on... I agree with what you're saying, I just want to see that approach become more of the norm again.

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  76. I boil it down to this, I guess:

    Get a liberal arts degree if it can be had for practically nothing, or if you have enough money to pay for tuition and not incur substantial debt.

    Other than that, get a degree in the hard sciences or technical fields, something that will result in a job with the ability to pay off the loans you accumulate.

    Gwen, just playing devil's advocate, but I've heard it said that the sports programs do tend to pay for themselves (at least at the big state schools?) and that that is not a real factor in the rate of tuition going up a zillion times faster than in any other sector of society.

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  77. Nubby and Sarah, I'm really enjoying the conversation!! Nubby, we are in basic agreement. I agree with Sarah that kids are not adequately counseled about what they are getting themselves into, and the easy government loans make it SO easy for universities to keep jacking up prices, since it's the students who will be carrying the water, not the schools.

    I was so proud of Priscilla when she decided to pursue her business degree at a community college for the first two years (transferring later to a university) and saving herself about $20,000 for the same degree. Unfortunately, the college counselor was not as enthusiastic, as generally high schools want to see their graduates go on to four-year universities. But my daughter's prudence and wisdom should have been lauded, not discouraged or met as the "lesser" option.



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    1. I have a big issue too with the idea that more federal loans are the "answer." In many cases, they have created the problem. And that is also why I referenced politicians and their ideas about "more college." Their ideas don't always translate into quality degrees for a quality price.

      I have been reading recently that many companies actually do value English and liberal arts degrees, and they can give you an edge because so many with technical degrees lack the intangible communication and critical thinking skills. I certainly was able to use mine. But I think liberal arts students need more counsel than the rest on how to afford and plan for their futures, and I agree that many colleges do NOT offer quality liberal arts education anymore. I happened to be in an English program that had some fantastic professors, one of which was definitely from the classical school of thought one education. :)

      Part of my DH's nightmare (and his brother's) was actually community college and trying to get credits properly transferred and being discriminated against by the 4-year university for being transfer students (had to sign up for classes last, couldn't get what they needed, etc). I fared way better than they did by just starting at a 4-year institution. That said, I agree that if people would see the value in these transfer students and the system was structured better, it would be a very savvy road. I am glad Priscilla persevered and made it work for her! So many CC's make it sound "easy" and like "such a great deal" and they don't prep the students for the fight they might have with the 4-year school! (And many are not counseled to contact the 4-year school to get THEM to pre-approve their program).

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  78. I think that is awesome that she transferred. I think it's equally awesome that she's going for business, so many good options for the present and the future. Although I have my opinions and experience that would guide her away from certain avenues and toward others, lol.

    I would say that in this day and age, college is so accessible from anywhere, it's ridiculous for the counselor to be unenthusiastic about Priscilla's choice.

    I hear you both (Sarah and you) on the counseling issue. It's a major blessing to get solid advice or direction from those who've walked the mile.

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  79. She could finish her degree online with NAU's personalized learning program. They offer a B.A. in Small Business Administration. It might just be perfect for her. I'd also encourage your son and future son-in-law to look at some of the other health professions...pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, etc. Shorter time frames, less debt, good salaries.

    Just my two cents.

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  80. Nubby, amen. And to be clear, she was going to transfer, but as of now, she is still in her first year of community college. She will be leaving with her new husband wherever his next Naval assignment is, and continue her degree on base, with the many options they have.

    Priscilla, those are great ideas! However, with my son, he is convicted about medicine, and already has a paid internship with Mayo Clinic, as well as the hope for the MD/Ph.D program which would only leave him with undergrad debt (doable!). And my future son-in-law has a *great* GI bill situation, as well as the ability to make and save good money in the the civilian nuclear power field before enrolling in med school. They both are in very good financial positions, thank the Lord.

    And ultimately, my daughter will probably be like me (and my sis, my mom, so many of my friends with professional degrees): Not using her degree in any commercial way once babies come. She's always wanted to be a wife and mom -- her vocation. I know she will be fulfilled and happy. And if, God forbid, something should happen to her husband, she's got a huge loving family to help support her as she gets her bearings, career-wise. Another reason to have a big family! The government can't support everyone forever (one day the economy might collapse), and families are going to have to step in again if a member needs help. In fact, that's how it always should be.

    College paradigms have changed so much even since my oldest set foot on campus her freshman year, and things continue to evolve more quickly than I ever could have imagined! When my youngest gets to college (he's pre-school age), we will not even recognize the old models, as they will have fallen apart. It's totally unsustainable.

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  81. I agree with Nubby -- and I'll also add that I think you are overlooking a big reason why people delay marriage until after college. It's multi-factorial, and part of it is because more and more jobs that can support a family require a college degree. People married after high school for many decades in this country because raising a family on a high school degree was much easier when we were based on a manufacturing economy, with decent paying jobs that didn't require college degrees. (Prior to that, when the country was more agrarian, people married even younger and most people didn't graduate high school). Now, we have a service ecomony and most of those jobs require a college degree. The debt issue is separate. The high college loan debt is not sustainable, but people with high school jobs still struggle (statistically, I know we all have anecdotes about the high school dropout that is making millions) to find jobs with living wages. And young marriage and family requires someone to financially support the family. So there are sound practical reasons that the marriage age has ticked upwards, it's not just people wanting to party and play the field before settling down.
    In terms of college debt, it's not the federal debt that pushes people over the edge, because federal direct loans are maxed out at around 30K for all 4 years of undergrad. It is additional loans that have higher interest and much higher borrowing limits. A friend of mine in college counseling advises ALL of her students to not borrow more than that amount, which is very wise. 30K results in a monthly payment that is quite sustainable, even on a starter job.

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  82. Jessica, that brings up some questions for me. What are you agreeing with Nubby about? I can't figure out (my brain is tired) if you are trying to say that all Americans need to have a college degree? I have to disagree, if so.

    Also, it seems like you might be implying (I could be wrong) that young people today really do want to marry young but they just can't anymore because we have moved past the agrarian/manufacturing economies. That they would if they could. I don't see that attitude around much, actually. In fact, when Priscilla started this semester, her English teacher asked the kids in class (community college) what their goals were. All of them said that they wanted to "make a lot of money", have this career or that, and Priscilla thought she would bite the bullet and say what she really wanted to say: She said she wanted to be a wife and mother! There were chuckles, stares. Thankfully, she is a confident girl, and her teacher (a woman) was very cool with it. (Older and wiser??)

    I see much of young America thinking of marriage as something that comes later, when the *real* stuff (career, money) is established, so that marriage and children don't get in the way. Don't you sense that, too?

    And if a person gets a liberal arts degree and has taken out $30,000 in loans, how long will that take to pay back, realistically, unless the liberal arts student goes on to get a graduate degree or Ph.D (and then how many tens of thousands are added to that student loan debt)? I don't see it as workable, really, unless one gets an undergrad degree that takes them into a lucrative field. And unfortunately, if someone does want to marry, that person often has to take on the college debt of the spouse as well, and to pay off that double whammy of loans, they feel that children have to be delayed for years, etc.

    It's just really unrealistic to think that everyone (or almost everyone) benefits from a college degree. I am not seeing it. And trust me, I used to think that way. It's how I was raised to think, and I believed it up until very recently. My sister has changed her understanding, too, and my parents. And they were the last folks I would expect that from!

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  83. Let me clarify - I don't believe college is for everyone. I don't believe people should attend just to attend. No one should be as a vapor in the wind, attending because their friends attend, etc., because that's how loans go through the roof.

    I just commented regarding a plan of action for a useful degree, if one is indeed college-bound.

    To your point on family helping out family if need be, I got some points on that because I lived it, briefly. I would say it definitely makes a stronger case for getting a useful degree.

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  84. I am not saying that all Americans need to have a college degree (and in fact, I would actually very much support more of a focus on trade education, because many highly skilled trades where one can make a decent living are in high demand). I am saying that if you look at the statistics, it is MUCH harder to find a job with a living wage on a high school degree now than it was 50 years ago. In terms of repayment of about 25-30K, if you take the income based repayment and you are making 30K, you owe $170/month. If you take the standard 10 year repayment plan, you will owe about $290/month. Not insignificant, but IMO, homes and education are worth some debt (and I say that as a person who has no debt other that our mortgage, all our cars are paid off, no credit card debt, etc.) Obviously debt is bad, but so is not being able to earn a living wage, and when you are talking about young marriage, you have to talk about that. For faithful Catholics, there are two true vocations -- religious life or married life, but even within those vocations, someone has to financially provide. When I talk to my daughters, I always tell them it is a very worthy vocation to want to be a wife and mother, and I think it's great that young women ackowledge that. But I am very practical -- being a FT wife and mother is only possible with a spouse that can support the family, and as a result, it's not a goal you can accomplish on your own -- you have to hope and pray the right person comes along and sometimes that does not happen for many years. In addition, some people do not discern their vocation until much later in life -- probably the most faithful and devoted young Catholic woman I knew in my youth had this situation -- she was drawn strongly to the married life and the religious life, and it took her many years and much discernment to figure out her true call. I am not at all against young marriage -- and I got married youngish and have been married decades! -- but I am saying that the very clear shifts in our economy have made it so that being able to support a family in general is easier after a degree is earned. As I said initially, the reasons for the uptick in the marriage age are multi-factorial, and I think one of the reasons you didn't touch in was the very real change in our economy.

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  85. Jessica, I agree that young folks should be working towards a meaningful way to support themselves (for my family, so far, that means a college degree). If my daughter had not found her future husband, she would be doing naught else but completing that degree on schedule. Since she has found her spouse early (and he has means to provide), she will, if God so blesses them, begin to have children after marriage. That might delay her degree (even indefinitely) or it might not. If they can't have children for some reason, she will definitely complete that degree and likely work full time.

    I absolutely agree that someone in the marriage has to financially provide. Usually it's the husband/father. Not always, but usually. With my degree, I could never support the family *nearly* as well as my husband, with his degrees. Even with my degree, there is very little I could do to support a family of eight children. My contribution comes in other ways.

    I have been of the mindset, though, like everyone else, that it's important to prepare for catastrophe (divorce! death! ruin!), but honestly, I've learned that living like that also has its own downside. Living for catastrophe takes a toll. Plan, yes. Be prudent, yes. But live in the moment God gives us, too. And I don't want to live as if every moment might lead to crisis (I may be WAY off topic of what you were saying, so forgive me; I am just letting my jump around.)

    Also, I wish I could agree that it's easier to live comfortably after a degree is earned. It used to be so. It still is so, if, as Nubby has said, the degree is useful and things have been planned well. But I know too many people who are in massive debt (with their spouses debt, too) *after* their degree, and have no real hope of crawling out from it. And it's generally then that the family has to step in and help (how many young, degreed folks have moved back with the parents!). So, family may be helping with or without that degree.

    Nubby, would you tell us more about your experience being helped by family, if you can? It sounds like that did not go well in your case. No worries if it's private.

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  86. I fear this post may have been misunderstood to mean that young women should not get college degrees.

    I think that everyone who can do it wisely and without massive debt should get a degree if they want it. It's to be encouraged… wisely, prudently, and with good counsel.

    But if a young woman should marry before her degree is complete, there is no cause for alarm. A call to marriage and family should not be postponed, in my opinion, simply because secular convention says that a woman must get a degree/degrees before she gets married. That is the basic shift in my thinking over the past months. :)

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  87. I agree that there are many people are in (too much) debt after college. But IMO, given the realities of our current economy, the alternative isn't generally not a degree (because over and over again, the stats show that people with only high school degrees only have a much harder time earning a living wage, and are also much less likely to have benefits), it's getting a degree while minimizing the debt and being prudent. Prudence is a virtue in my book! And I agree, we can't live in crisis mode, planning for disaster around every corner, but we do have to plan. Striking the right balance can be difficult, as we cannot predict what the future will bring.

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    1. And I am talking here in generalities about the uptick in marriage age and the pursuit of a college degree, not about specific situations like your daughter's, where thoughtful young people have made a very sound decision to marry (and I will reiterate the congratulations I offered earlier in the thread)!

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  88. "So, family may be helping with or without that degree."

    That's true. However, the one with the marketable degree is capable of finding employment again, quicker, than the one without. And that person who was helped by family, can honorably pay back the money that was borrowed from mom, dad, or sibling more quickly.

    My experience wasn't bad, it was just a stressor on the one doing the asking (for $) and on the one providing the money. It's worse when there's no light at the end of the tunnel because there was no good schooling in place previously, to help the person find a good job.
    It goes from, "You need help? Sure!" to, "Get out of mom's basement, Joey! We're sick of your leeching rear end!" in about two months. lol

    It's just life. The thought of being a perfectly charitable help in times of stress is good, but, reality is, a worthy degree can curb the time it takes to wear out a welcome.

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  89. So many thoughts and feelings on this subject of young marriage, marriage, college degrees, earning a living, and debt, and there all in my head. Ugh. Well, okay. I wish I had a brain and interest and gifts and talents for science, technology, engineering so I could some rich techno whiz rolling in the big bucks, but I don't. If I had to major in business, I probably would've stabbed myself because I would've been miserable. Sure I wanted to be a mom and have 10 children, but there weren't any quality men (and still aren't) who were INTERESTED in me. Was I suppose to marry some dunce just to conceive children? That wasn't going to bode well. I have to stop writing before I dig myself into a depression here.

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  90. Like I said, I can't speak to other people's massive amounts of debts, or to the reasons why they changed course, etc. But estimated loans needed for an engineering degree are roughly $50k. Average starting salary is $70,000 so the loan is paid in roughly 7 yrs. if 10% is paid toward it, which is completely do-able. And salary only increases from there. Could be making 6 digits easily, in 5 years, and loans are a thing of the past. I'm not sure why other people are way over their head, but this is one example of pretty straight forward, easily managed college career debt.

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  91. How would it sound if said what I really want? A rich indulgent nice Catholic husband who is open to relocating to a better climate and supporting me financially, so I can pursue my interests in the arts and the humanities, which may or may not bring in money??? Maybe we could still have a baby or two. I may be in my 40s, but things haven't shut down if you get my drift.

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  92. I agree that degrees are not necessary before marriage.
    I piped in b/c of a much earlier exchange btwn you and Priscilla G. when you brought up degrees. Sorry if I misread you.

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  93. I completely agree with you, Lena!!! I WISH I had the gifts/interest of an engineer or nurse or some other straightforward degree/career. I'm 23 and graduated last May with an English degree. Fortunately, God blessed me with parents who managed to save money for my (as well as my older sister's and brother's) college tuition so we all came out of undergraduate debt free! PRAISE THE LORD!

    It hasn't even been a year since I graduated and I already have regrets over focusing too much on the academic side, while not getting much career experience, which leaves a very unfortunate resume. I also share Lena's frustration over having no luck in the romance field. There's a chance that God might be calling me to the religious life (just starting to explore that possibility), but otherwise, I'm really not sure what to do. Even finding a part-time job is difficult these days.

    I chose English because I have a deep passion for writing and somewhat enjoy reading and I didn't see myself succeeding with any other major. Looking back, I'm realizing that I had a BAD perception of college: I saw a degree as an accomplishment, without thinking much about what I'd do after graduation. I thought I'd pretty easily find an office job somewhere (I also LOVE do clerical/secretarial work) and meet a man, get engaged, married, live happily ever after...didn't quite go that way :( I'm still living with my parents, trying to figure out what I should do, and wishing I had thought ahead more while I was in college. Super torn between religious life and married life. Oh and trying to figure out God's plan for me.

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  94. Leila's comment that she agrees that someone must provide for the family and usually it's the husband is simply not my experience or the experience of those in my very large family of origin, or those around me in the workforce. All of my sisters and I are the primary financial support for our families, as was our mother. My brothers' lives are mixed, but no one in my family married someone who did not work outside the home. All of us have wonderful children and now some grandchildren. I am not around very many families where one parent is caring for and raising children full time. It is wonderful for those parents who are called to that life, and are also able to live out that vocation by reason of another parent who can support the family. But not every young woman called to marriage and motherhood wants to leave the workforce. I am thrilled for both your daughters and happy they have found their husbands. I have no concern for postponed or interrupted college educations, and if they are able to raise children (God willing they are able to have them) as their life's work, I think that is wonderful too. Just keep in mind that your son may meet a beautiful woman who is a med student in his class who is also a devout Catholic, and fall in love with her, And they might marry and raise many children with both of them working outside the home. Many families have done so, and raised godly Catholic children. Would that also be another situation where you "change your mind?" It doesn't have to be an either/or. Blessings to both your daughters and their husbands.

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  95. "However, the one with the marketable degree is capable of finding employment again, quicker, than the one without."

    Nubby, agreed! And the emphasis is on the word "marketable". I fear the ones needing help even after a degree are the ones whose degrees are not marketable. Sorry if I was unclear in all of this discussion. I have not been as articulate about everything I am trying to say, and I am still rapidly evolving on these issues. Trying to think with the mind of the Church rather than the mind of the secular culture. That is so freeing! But I don't think I've gotten to the bottom of it yet. :)

    Francis, I have zero problems with the woman working or being the breadwinner, if that is truly necessary. I know of very wonderful Catholic families where both parents work, and even some where the woman makes all the money and the father is a stay-at-home dad (I even know a homeschooling dad, and he and his accountant wife are parents to my godson!). The norm here, though, is the father working and the mom taking care of home and hearth. Most of my mom friends in that position have degrees, and even post-graduate degrees. It's always fun to discover (eventually) that this or that Catholic stay-at-home (or homeschooling) mommy was an attorney, or an engineer, or the press secretary to an attorney general, etc. Fun stuff!

    Lena, are you on Catholic Match or AMS? I am a huge proponent of being pro-active!! (I know, I am a broken record; but I am passionate about being assertive in this area, if you feel it's your vocation. Even some folks on CM are just sort of there, but not assertive at all.)

    Jessica, I agree with you. I am pretty sure we are on the same general page (and Nubby, too). We may not be in lockstep, but close enough. ;)



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    1. "Francis, I have zero problems with the woman working or being the breadwinner, if that is truly necessary."

      And I should have added: Or if it's best for that family, and that particular situation, even if not strictly necessary. It's an individual decision.

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  96. I find this conversation really interesting as a current college student.

    I am lucky that my interests are in biology and I want to be a nurse, so I am likely to get a job without too much debt, if at all.

    I have friends who are getting gender studies and English degrees, and it is a big debate on campus. I think the problem is my generation have all been told to follow our dreams. I think this is because the generation before could follow their dreams. Now we can't. The message is still there though.

    I wish that they would make the sciences more attainable. They should not dumb it down of course, no one wants their doctor to have gone a remedial school. I know though that I spend much more time in class than my humanities friends, and lab is 3 hours long and no additional credits. Than you get to go home and study for the next exam. Of course people are going to shy away. They make the humanities seem better.

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    1. Nursing is excellent, Chelsea. Go for it. The nurse in our family has amazing flexibility in terms of employment and scheduling. She worked a high stress job in a busy hospital with a "2-12s and 3 off" schedule, I believe (that's 2 days of 12 hrs and 3 off), and quit that to take up a regular 8-5 job M-F at a local clinic. And she's the breadwinner since her husband is in and out of seasonal work. Nursing is a broad enough degree, that you should always be able to find employment pre-kids, during kids, and post-kids, should you need/desire it.

      Your friends pursuing gender studies will be unemployed. How is that even marketable even if the job market should be on the upswing?

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    2. Thanks Nubby! That is encouraging to hear!

      I don't know. Out of love for them, I really really hope there is a job out there for them... Maybe NGO's?

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    3. And if/when the funding runs out? They're out of work. You, having the degree and skills of a nurse, will be happily employed.

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    4. Chelsea - this is the trend I saw *so often.* We were told that "a college degree" (any degree) was necessary and worth it. But many college degrees are not only not necessary, but detrimental. But there is just so little guidance there! Congrats on choosing the field of nursing... it is a great career path and very much worth the schooling. My mom is an RN, and it always worked really well for our family.

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  97. Chelsea, great insight! I think you are right about the message that has been sent to your generation: "You are so special and can do whatever you want!!" Well, not exactly true.

    If I want to be a basketball star, it's never gonna happen for me, for example.

    The one thing that no one is encouraged to be, the one dream that is never lauded, is to be a wife and mother. That one is looked down upon, thus my own daughter having to muster up her courage to even say it in her college classroom. Had she stated that she wanted to be a gender studies major minoring in Bulgarian lesbian poetry and ultimately lecture and write in eastern Asia on mountaintops, she would have been heralded! :) I'm only half-joking.

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  98. She would be fully heralded here.

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  99. Chelsea, what do you think people would say if you said (theoretically) that you wanted to be a wife and mother for your goal in life?

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  100. I do hope to do that, and be a nurse as well. When I say that to similarly minded friends (I have befriended the most conservative students of MA) they say they want to as well.

    I don't attempt to mention it to the rest (other than the nurse part). That is because on the confessional, anytime someone mentions wanting to be a wife and a mother, many attack her for being sexist and not having ambition. There is also a stereotype of them not being able to make their own decisions. I really don't want to invite someone to say that to my face. I think I once mentioned I wanted 4 kids and that was a huge shocker to a friend.

    I am already disappointing people by becoming a NP rather than a doctor :p.

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    1. I would screenshot it, but it is a pretty nasty conversation.

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  101. Chelsea, good for you!

    And, in your opinion, why do young women have such a nasty response to the idea of being a wife and mother? Where are they learning to disdain this path?

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  102. When I left my job, Leila, my reason was because I wanted to stay home and get through a miscarriage, and I told my super that I would not be returning because I would be working on trying for a family. I was fully supported in this decision, and fully encouraged to return, should I change my mind, even (and especially) by my male supervisor. So there is hope that not every profession is going to try and make us mommies or wannabe mommies into someone worthless. ;) The respect is there, on the job, I'd wager, it's higher for women in certain capacities, mommy or not. :) BONUS lol

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    1. Nubby, that's awesome! I just heard the most wonderful speech at a Theology of the Body fundraiser… Patrick Coffin spoke, among others, including my friend Bridgette. Bridgette was a huge career woman, making a ton of money, and was the first woman to step into her position at Motorola (can't remember what position, but it was an executive job, running pretty much everything she saw, ha ha). She was fabulous at her career. They were VERY good to her as she started to have more and more children (after becoming a devout Catholic), and even paid to have her nursing babies accompany her to Japan, etc., for meetings. It was so heartening to see that from a corporation. She finally decided to stay home permanently. Gave up so much money, all the prestige. She's never been happier. Now she is bringing all her expertise to promote TOB and feminine genius and the Church, etc. Amazing stuff. Frankly, I wonder if I'd have been able to give up all the money and perks had I been in her place! I'm rambling, but it's neat to see companies that get it.

      And, I am sorry for your loss, with the miscarriage.

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    2. Yep, I know quite a few who gave up the $$$ and are happily at home with babes in arms. But they have that excellent option of returning, even periodically, b/c of their degree + experience. I'm pro-good degree and pro-staying at home, living contradiction, yes lol

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  103. Trying to think with the mind of the Church rather than the mind of the secular culture. "

    I'm with you in that I don't want to think apart from the Church, either, ever.
    But this, to me, isn't so much a matter of direct obedience to the Church, as much as it is one of stewardship (time, talent, treasure). Maybe you agree?

    If we have gifts for college, we should go.
    If we go, we should choose the degree that is marketable, not to make coin like a greedy Gretchen, but to work toward a positive impact on society and family, in ways which Christ has gifted us to serve.

    I am much more equipped for serving my family, my brother or sister in need of a loan my community, the poor, etc., if I can get hired even five to ten years after I have kids. There are few degrees that allow for that. Those are the ones I say to go for.

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    1. Nubby, agreed!! I am right with you.

      The part about "thinking with the mind of the Church" was more about the cultural philosophy that if the call to Matrimony comes up while we are still working on a college degree, we must reflexively choose the college degree completion before we consider entering the Sacrament of Matrimony. I say bull-honky to that, whereas before I would have said, "yes, I guess that is prudent". But that would have been me thinking with the mind of the culture, not the Church. The Church would not require anyone to default to a college degree before thinking of marriage. Now, some --even most-- will still choose the degree before matrimony (for any number of reasons, including that they have not found a suitable spouse) and that is fine with me! I just am saying that it should also be totally fine if the opposite is chosen, if Matrimony is chosen before (and yes, even sometimes instead of) degree. :)

      It's so individual.

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  104. I think that most women would agree that once upon a time, it really was the only option for women. That needed to be pushed back with force.

    Of course now women do have the option of working outside the home but we still have the same pattern in the very liberal arts.

    I can't figure out where they are learning this, and how I got skipped somehow. Many of the women I know started feeling this way in high school not college.

    Do you have a opinion of where they learned this?

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    1. I think the feminist movement (not the good stuff, from before the sixties' sexual revolution) has infiltrated all of our institutions, from Hollywood to academia (even grade school) to the arts, to the courts, to the government. We've been taught that it's "enlightened" to think like a radical feminist (and have general disdain for traditional female aspirations and roles) and backwards to value being a wife and a mother. Partly because the only "value" that today's feminists put on anything is economic. Very sad indeed. If women earn money and have power in the corporate or academic world, then we are lauded. If we earn no money and have no corporate power, we are selling out women everywhere. And that is why abortion is so important and even valued by the feminists: Being able to kill our unborn offspring makes us "equal" to men in our ability to be players economically. Obama said as much on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade the other day. Abortion helps us fulfill our dreams and give us opportunity! For what? Working and making money. Whereas the dreams I have as a woman is to love my children, nurture them, and raise them with the father who made them with me (and love him, too). But that's crazy thinking today… ;)

      Sorry, rambling now!

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  105. I'm pro-good degree and pro-staying at home, living contradiction, yes lol

    I think it makes sense, and is not contradictory!

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  106. Sarah (I'm addressing your comment waaaay up there, trying to get back to the main thread), I agree about the marketability of good writing and communication skills. The more the K-12 schools fail to educate our kids (they are all remedial going into college now), the more valuable it is to have a worker who can read and write!! The best combination is a science or business major who can read and write effectively. That is a rare thing!

    And, yes, community college transfers can be so tricky and it can really backfire. We are so blessed here that the Maricopa Community Colleges are really quite decent, and they have reciprocity with the three big state schools (ASU, NAU, UofA), so that transfer, while not perfect, is much, much easier than in other places. That's how it should be everywhere! And not only that, but the CC professors are as good as the university ones, and the kids actually have the professors teaching them, not TA's like at the universities.

    How frustrating that your dh had to go through that!

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  107. I do think we've established this one size fits all approach to college that isnt working. All degrees aren't equal and all institutions aren't equal. We can't keep telling people that an online degree in english is going to get them anywhere. People have different circumstances and different reasons for going to college and that need to be acknowledged. In terms of people taking forever to graduate and not being serious about studies, it again comes back to your reasons for being in college. If you look at the top 50 universities in the country you'll notice most students graduate in four years.


    But I think the reason that college is suggested to widely to everyone because it's something you can control and that no one can take away from you. It doesn't depend on good fortunate or meeting the right person it's something you can do for yourself and that's empowering. Furthermore debt isn't something to be avoided like the plague if your a serious student. I can't believe I'm agreeing with Nubby ;) but the fact that she was able to pay 50k off in 6 years actually shows that large amounts of debt are manageable. 5 or even ten years or debt is nothing when your talking about huge earning potential

    CS

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  108. CS, depending on the degree and the job, it could be impossible to pay off 50K in ten years. My husband owed MUCH less than that 25 years ago, and it took almost a decade to pay off. If he had 50K, I wonder if it would be paid off even today? I think of what the interest on that loan would amount to. Kids today are amassing a lot more than 50K, with both undergrad and grad school.

    I hate to be ornery, but "empowering" myself is not a virtue. Loving others is a virtue, gaining wisdom and knowledge (not just facts or information) is virtuous. I feel 1,000x more empowered by my marriage, my love for my husband, and my incredible children than I do by my English degree from a college that I barely remember attending now. I don't mean that to belittle academic accomplishments (after all, it's the Catholic Church that founded the university system itself, in order to impart truth, beauty and goodness). I promise, I see value in education (as a former education snob). But I have learned that careers and economics are there to support the family, not supplant it. Careers are generally the means to an end, with the family being the "end" itself. My husband works as a means to an end, i.e., for his family. If women work, same thing. Again, I'm not saying that careers can't be or shouldn't be fulfilling, or use our talents and gifts, but I think we are missing something huge if we put career above the more eternal things. CS, you know well how important family is, above any career or degree. Hopefully, all of us here do.

    Hope that makes sense.

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  109. Congratulations! I'm so happy for them, and you! I always wanted to marry young but it didn't work out for me. I still get sad thinking of what could have been (perhaps my six years of infertility could have been in my early 20's instead of 30's.. or maybe I would have been more fertile when I was younger.. either way it would have meant MORE BABIES. Although then things would be different.. we might not have adopted.. oh heck.. never mind, haha). At least I can draw upon my own experiences when I talk to my daughters about all that good stuff many, many years from now.

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  110. As a banking and finance professional who has advised (and lent to) everyone from small income earners to multimillion dollar business for decades, I have to say that I’m not sure that Nubby's example above, of a $50,000 debt readily repaid over 7 years out of a starting salary of $70,000, would actually work for most people.

    Here in Australia, the repayment amount required by the government for student loans ranges from 4% to 8% of one’s annual income - starting at 4% if/when the borrower's annual income hits $50,000, and rising progressively to 8% when the borrower's annual income hits $95,000. Even factoring in wage rises, what about interest and rises in inflation/cost of living? What about a mortgage? A car loan? What about credit card/hire purchase debts (assuming a 25 to 30 year old buying/furnishing a home and/or engendering a family)?

    Perhaps someone can dig up some historical data of how long it actually takes on average for a student to pay off a $50,000 debt. IMHO, to make Nubby's scenario work would require... the focus and discipline of a Nubby! And my experience says there aren't really a great many young people of that caliber around! Perhaps Nubby can put up a draft living budget for a young person with little or no existing assets paying off a $50,000 debt (with interest) from a salary of $70-100k. Who knows in what other interesting directions this already interesting discussion might then take off? :)

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  111. Francis, I think CS said (assumed?) Nubby paid off 50K in a few years, but I don't remember Nubby actually giving us the amount that she owed and paid off. I may have missed it, but I am guessing it was not 50K at all?

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  112. As someone with a master's degree, who's graduated with debt (bachelor's) and no debt (master's - paid for by my employer and with a scholarship), who works at a university, and who was raised by a full-time SAHM, I have lots of opinions, given my experience.

    1) College is NOT for everyone. However, if you are planning to work for someone else in a white-collar position, you will likely be expected to have one.

    2) Everyone should have the ability - a degree, a trade, military experience, or other strong, marketable skills - to secure gainful employment, even if you don't plan on working outside the home. "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." Indeed. You do not know what life is going to throw at you. For all of your plans and prayers, your marriage might end. Your spouse might become disabled and unable to work. Your spouse could die. Try to decrease your vulnerability, and that of any children that you might have, as much as possible.*

    3) For the most part, WHERE you get your degree from is not as important as your having a degree. Just be sure you received your degree from an institution with regional accreditation, and one that is recognized by the US Department of Education.

    So if you want to go to a fancy private university for an English degree but it's going to cost you several times more than your getting the same degree at a cheaper public university, go to the public university. It's not going to matter that you couldn't take a class with some poet laureate when you can't find a job and you've got student loans coming due. Been there, done that. Plus, I graduated with my bachelor's during a recession and had to take a low-paying job to start paying off my student loans, rather than deferring them and increasing the principal.

    4) Your university of choice may have a great reputation for X major, and may have reknowned faculty on staff, but don't expect to have classes with that faculty. Such faculty teach a minimal amount of classes and are otherwise involved with research. You are more likely going to be instructed by lecturers. Please don't misunderstand me (especially Miss Gwen) - many lecturers are fantastic, dedicated teachers with real-life experience in their fields - but you might be expecting many classes with reknowned Professor X and paying the dollars to do so, but getting instructor Y instead.

    5) Go to a community college for the first two years of your degree. It will save you a bunch of money. Plus, you are likely to change your major in the first couple of years anyway, possibly even more than once. Each time you do, you will lose classes that would have towards your final major, and the money you spent on them, too. Do your research and be sure that your community college credits are easily transferable to your top three college choices, and also investigate the transfer acceptance rate at those colleges, too. Research and plan.

    6) Go after a marketable degree. Look at the industries where job growth and (relative) job security are steady or poised to climb and find something in one of those areas that you think you'll enjoy. True, students who've obtained a degree in one field often get positions outside of their fields, but if you are putting effort and money into a degree, make sure it'll be one that will work the hardest for you.

    *While I agree with Leila to some degree about being able to depend on family, in reality, that's not a viable option for most individuals whom I know, including myself, who have no family upon whom to depend.

    Also, given my childhood, I am, it's fair to say, rabid about individuals, particularly women, being able to support themselves and their children as necessary, and their ability to get their children away from a parent who is harmful.

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    1. To clarify having "no family upon whom to depend," I mean that some individuals might have family, but are truly unable to depend on them.

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  113. Leila,

    I was responding to this comment of Nubby's: January 27, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Whenever I read a sentence with "principal", "term", "repayments", etc... in it, my brain automatically switches to affordability-assessment and ease-of-repayment mode! :)

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    1. Francis, got it! You are wonderful and I am glad to know that this is your area of expertise! :)

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  114. GFNY, excellent college/career advice! I cannot disagree!

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  115. Oh Leila! I'm so happy for you! Another joyous marriage to celebrate. What a reason to party!

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  116. If a woman racks up debt earning a degree, then marries before or shortly after graduation and never really enters the workforce, but becomes a SAHM - doesn't the husband then have to pay back both her student loans and his own (assuming he also went to college/university)? How can that work, while paying for the upkeep of a hopefully growing family? I am seriously puzzled how the system works. Here in Europe, most universities are state-funded (or subsidized), so the issue of student debt is not so prevalent. I am a father of two young girls, and if one day they chose to study abroad, taking on debt to pay for a top-notch university, I would expect them to earn a living afterwards and pay back the loan (unless they find a husband able and willing to do it for them, but that should not be the assumption). How does it work in the US? Is the debt forgiven/forever postponed if the woman does not earn a living to pay it back? I can't begin to imagine the stress on a young family if the husband has to pay back not only his own loans, but also those of his wife.

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  117. $70k less 10% still gives a person 63k/yr to live off of. That's for first year employment (it will increase with salary bump and bonus the following yr). There's also usually a signing bonus when one signs on for a white collar job.

    If the argument is that people can't live off of 63k/yr, I don't know what to say.
    Then how do people make it work on 40k/yr?
    Why are we getting into mortgages and living beyond our means if we can't make it on 40k/yr or 63k/yr.?

    Paying down loans aggressively and saving aggressively are two things I believe in. I don't see why that's being attacked or argued.

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  118. Sebastian - that is basically my family situation. I have a BA in English from a very highly esteemed liberal arts college (for the most part the school has avoided the leftist indoctrination element, but it's still there in part.) I decided to become a teacher because I had a passion for education and I thought teaching would provide me some good flexibility because I also knew I wanted to be a mother. I went to a top rated education program at a state school for my MAT, graduated at the top of my class, and looked for two years for work as a teacher. The closest I ever got was a long-term subbing gig for five months making barely over minimum wage. My undergraduate education was financed by merit scholarships, a few jobs I had on and off campus, and the rest by loans. My graduate education was financed by loans, and my teaching stipend (for a year as an intern) was only $2,000. But after the MAT I had almost doubled my debt, with little to no prospect of higher wages, even though I was trying to be "practical." When my first child came along, I had given up on teaching and secured an office job with salary and benefits, that I could have easily done without the MAT. I was then fired from that job the same day I returned from maternity leave. I could have sued, but at that point I just felt so defeated I gave up. I got a decent severance and qualified for unemployment, so that's what I did.

    My husband, thankfully, went through undergrad and grad with no debt - scholarships and worked through both. But yes, he is responsible for my loans now, which is a position I'm not proud to have put him in. Even though I'm (supposedly, ha!) an intelligent person, I wasn't smart about how I planned my career and didn't foresee how much politics was going to affect my chance of being hired - I was one of the final two or three candidates for a teaching job five times and each time, the winning candidate "knew somebody." Talk about frustrating! If I had just done the office job thing right away, which I could have, my debt would be paid off and I wouldn't argue with my husband every month about whether or not we should cut our cable! I have learned how to live incredibly frugally though, and that is a plus. If nothing else, I've learned that I need to teach my children about the perils of debt and how to choose their education and career path wisely.

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  119. Thanks a lot, mcbabyadventures, for your exhaustive answer! It sounds very depressing though - and doesn't make it any easier on young women who are keen both on a great university education and marriage/children whenever Mr. Right comes along!

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  120. Sebastian- No, the debt is not forgiven. It is a business agreement. You borrow the money to obtain a thing of value and you are expected to pay it back. Your loans can be forgiven on death, or total disability.

    You loans can be forgiven through certain public service work such as being a teacher or doctor in a low-service area. But this usually requires 7 to 10 years of work, steady payment of your loan during that time and does not always forgive 100% of the remaining loan. (There are some programs with better terms but they are pretty rare.)

    If your loan is forgiven through a program or because you are disabled (to the point of being unable to complete any gainful employment) usually you have a tax penalty because part of the forgiven loan is considered income for tax purposes.

    You cannot normally discharge student loans through bankruptcy.

    You are expected to pay it back. Now, I believe the education we give 18, 19 and 20 year old kids about signing over their future earnings is largely inadequate. But these terms are clearly spelled out in every loan document those kids sign. The fact they don't read it or think it through.......welcome to the school of hard knocks. You don't get to be a teenager in this country without learning DON'T SIGN SOMETHING YOU HAVEN'T READ OR UNDERSTAND.

    If you want to be a stay at home mom- don't take on a ton of debt. You cannot ask banks and businesses to eat the cost of your decisions. Your word is suppose to mean something.

    I probably owe more in student loans than most of the commenters here. It stinks but I pay my bill every month. It takes a large chunk of my paycheck but without my degree I never would be making what I make. That's the pay off.

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  121. Here is Leila's quote above about how heinous feminists are:

    "Partly because the only "value" that today's feminists put on anything is economic. Very sad indeed. If women earn money and have power in the corporate or academic world, then we are lauded. If we earn no money and have no corporate power, we are selling out women everywhere. And that is why abortion is so important and even valued by the feminists: Being able to kill our unborn offspring makes us "equal" to men in our ability to be players economically."

    I am very much a feminist and I do not believe one word of the ridiculous comment above, and most feminists do not either. Demonizing feminists will not increase respect for women who choose a vocation to family life. I absolutely love my career and am very fulfilled in my work. My husband works for a very family-friendly non-profit so that he can focus on raising our children, given the travel and other demands of my career. I could argue that many devout Catholic men look down on him because his wife is supporting the family, and believe me, they do. But who cares? Isn't that the whole point of your original post? We should not be concerned what other people think. I am not concerned about those who criticize our familiy decisions. I respect all other family decisions of others. This is not a "feminist" issue, in my book. What is being said and discussed on college campuses is not going to determine the path of these people. And, I would hope that we all raise our children to be able to stand up to those who do not understand or denigrate our faith or our choices. That is my goal with our children.

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  122. I'm still very happy with the undergraduate education I received. Even if I never employ that degree in the marketplace again, it was worth what I paid for it. But I will never give my graduate institution another dime. As far as I'm concerned, they prey on people. My cohort was 20 students, the largest they had ever had at that point. The next cohort was 45. They knew we weren't all getting jobs - they knew it wasn't possible. But they knew we'd fork over the cash or sign over our futures for it. Cohorts for other subjects were much, much smaller and most of those students did end up with jobs within a year of finishing.

    Both of my sisters want to be stay-at-home moms and they will graduate from college with some debt (one of them about what I did or a little more, and the other with less.) I've told both of them that as soon as they graduate they should do whatever work they can find and just kill the debt as fast as humanly possible. Before I got a salaried job, I was subbing, but I was also working on evenings and weekends. Even making barely over minimum wage, I was still working 60 or so hours a week and I could pay rent, my utilities, and other expenses - even before having a salary I could double my student loan payment some months. Of course, having a husband to split living costs with was a help (at that time his income did not pay for my loans, though it would have been smarter to do that, my pride got in the way.)

    Even now as a SAHM, my husband and I will be able to pay off my loan debt several years early (even if he never gets a raise). But I don't want my children to experience this. Not ever, ever. It stinks, and it could have been avoidable.

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  123. Francis Catholic, I used to identify very much as a feminist and what Leila said rings true for my experience. I was abandoned by almost every female friend I had when I withdrew from the workforce - and my initial withdrawal wasn't even voluntary! It's amazing how I am treated by these women now, as if the fact that I have two small boys that I stay home with means that my brain has completely turned to mush. I am regarded as old-fashioned and brainwashed *at best.* In my experience, the "sisterhood" of feminism only applies if you walk, talk, and act exactly like the other feminists.

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  124. Mcbabyadventures- I am confused. You said you are happy with your degree and you think it was worth what you paid for it. So why are you upset? T

    he college cannot control the job market. What has happened in the last 5 years in this country is no one's fault and everyone's fault. A bubble burst. But I think you are being a bit unfair to the college administrators. They don't pick your major, your field or what people companies are looking for.

    Why in the world would they turn you away? Their job is to provide education.

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    1. I'm happy with my undergraduate degree. But my graduate degree was absolutely a waste of time and money. I take responsibility for my part in it. I should have known ahead of time that it was a waste of time and money.

      Schools regularly limit cohort sizes. For other subjects it was 10. But English kept getting cranked up higher and higher even though the job placement rates were horrible - and the degree/certification was for a specific job. I think it was because they saw dollar signs and didn't care what happened afterwards. I had a conversation with an administrator later, who left the school, and she admitted that their admission practices had a lot to do with why she left.

      I am responsible for being ignorant, but that doesn't give other people the right to prey on that.

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    2. Okay, that makes sense.

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  125. Sorry, Francis Catholic, but that is very standard in feminist circles. What feminist theory do you follow that you can say that "most feminists" would not agree? I am very confused… I've been writing about, reporting on feminism (check what goes on in Women's Studies) since the mid-'90s and I stand by my comment. Why do you suppose this is the second year (or third?) that Obama has commemorated Roe v. Wade (i.e., abortion, which he never names) by saying that it gives our daughters the ability to "fulfill their dreams"? What could he mean by that, exactly?

    Anyway, your comment baffles me. I am glad you are a different kind of feminist. Maybe you are a classical feminist, as I consider myself. That is great. But the word has been co-opted.

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  126. "If you want to be a stay at home mom- don't take on a ton of debt."

    Exactly. That is why, since both my daughters hoped for that, they did not take on big loans, and in fact my first daughter chose a state school where she got a great scholarship, in order to be debt-free. For that very reason. That's why my second daughter enrolled in community college with plans to go on to the university after saving a ton of money. It was all done for practical reasons, and now I am so glad. It is hard to bring that debt to a marriage, to a husband.

    mcbabyadventures, I am grateful for your honesty, as it can help others.

    Nubby, I don't think it's an attack. At least for me, I want to know the numbers, as it truly does interest me. My older daughter's husband is about to enter law school, and I admit to being very nervous. I want it to all work out well for them.


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  127. And remember as we approach 200 comments, you'll have to make sure you are notified of comments as they will seemingly "disappear" after 200.

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  128. Nubby,

    In fairness to you, I should probably have stressed that the scenario you presented is not likely to work all that readily in Australia, since I don’t know the terms of student loans in the US, cost of living there, etc…

    Here, a $70k income would amount to $55,703 after income tax is deducted (at source). Government loans for students are interest free, but the loan amount is indexed each year to the Consumer Price Index (currently 3%), to maintain its real value. Loans from banks to cover college fees above what is available from the government attract interest rates currently from 14% upwards.

    Even assuming a 3% interest rate, and a loan of only $50k (versus the maximum of $120k available from the government here), to be repaid in 7 years, monthly repayments would be $661, which equates to $7,932 per year, leaving $47,771 (or $918 per week) for the borrower to live on.

    To rent even an ordinary old one bedroom unit in Sydney (forget a house) now costs a minimum of $300 per week. That leaves $618 per week for all other expenses. Yes, living on such an amount would be eminently doable, but it would leave little room for any other significant liabilities (home mortgage, car loan, hire purchases, credit cards, etc…) which would almost certainly come into play if one sought to buy a house or a car or furniture and the like - or decided to have children. Even with salary increases, the balancing of the books would be a touch and go exercise at best, and likely to remain so for several years – unless one deferred all major expenses &/or raising a family until one was pushing, say, 30, by which time the bulk of the student loan would, assumedly, have been repaid.

    As for the state of play in your own country, have a look at this page: http://www.newyorkfed.org/studentloandebt/

    Look at the fourth graph, showing 90 day + delinquency rates for student loans. In banking and finance globally, a loan is considered to be in major trouble if a payment has not been made within 90 days of a (regular repayment) due date. This is what “90 day+ delinquency” means, and that is what that graph is charting. Banks (around the world) provide for 90 day delinquencies to a maximum portion of 2.5%-3% of their loan books. Anything significantly above this figure starts to put the health of a bank’s balance sheet in grave trouble, and results in rapid downgrades of its credit rating. As you can see, the delinquency rate of student loans in the US is shown on the aforementioned graph to be 16.1%!!! That would be a totally unthinkable scenario in the general finance industry! A bank would fold long before reaching a 90 day delinquency ratio half that bad! The question also begs itself: if 16% of student borrowers aren’t able to make a loan repayment even 3 months after its due date, how many others are just managing to make their repayments by the skin of their teeth? My banker's nose tells me there's something brewing in those numbers, and it's likely not going to prove too palatable one day - unless the US economy and job availability both improve rapidly and greatly. (I picked the 2008 credit crunch engendered by reckless mortgage lending some 3 years or so before it happened, and recall attracting blank/bemused stares for my troubles, even from my senior colleagues at work!)

    As I’ve said, I don’t know enough about America, but no private lender anywhere could survive with this many of its borrowers experiencing stress in repaying their loans! Note too, that the average loan balance is only $24,803 versus the $50,000 we've been discussing.

    Let me conclude by saying that I actually agree with the merit of all you’re saying, but contend that for many it’s not going to prove as readily doable as it might first appear (on paper) to be.

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  129. Thanks to Kat also for that explanation! And I agree with you, if you take on debt, by all means you should do everything in your power to honor that and not leave it to the government to pick up. Self-reliance, responsibility, subsidiarity, the whole shebang.

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  130. Francis- you are absolutely right!

    Here is the heart of the problem---- Student loan repayment is not a priority for most Americans.

    Just like people blame the "evil" bankers for the housing bust and walked out on their mortgages because "why should they keep paying for a house when the value is dropping" People think the "evil" colleges (Or the lenders) don't "deserve" to get paid back.

    Wanna know what is even scarier about that 90 day del. number? Most student loan providers in the US will put your loan into forbearance if you are unemployed or have "significant economic hardship" (i.e. you can't afford your payments.) So either the people with 90 day del loans are too lazy to apply for those programs or they don't qualify.

    I hardly know a college graduate who doesn't own a smart phone. I hardly know a college graduate who doesn't own a car. Most people have TV. It isn't they don't have the money......they don't want to repay.

    Why is our housing market taking so long to bounce back? Because the graduates with jobs can't afford the prices most people think their houses "should" sell for. Counting the student loan into the debt to income ratio they can't qualify for the loan.

    Everyone wants to talk about how Congress has put us into debt and can't manage a checkbook. AMERICANS can't manage a checkbook. Our international credit rating should be terrible, our domestic credit rating should be terrible. Until we admit the problem we can't fix it.

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    1. Please don't get me wrong. I love my country. I don't want any ill to befall us. But we are better than this.

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  131. GFNY, I think your comment is spot-on. I will add though that I think it is sometimes possible for students to pursue a degree that is not widely recognized as "marketable" and still be able to find a decent job if they can expand their skills and experiences (i.e., a friend with a B.A. in archaeology who works for an arch. contracting company).

    Also, I've never come across student deception at my university (not saying it doesn't happen elsewhere). The course schedule is very clear when one of the full professors is teaching and when it's a graduate student (yay! I'm no longer in that category : ) I do think too that sometimes the full professors who have taught into classes for 30 years are "tired" of the course and can come across as uninspired to students and sometimes the instructor grad students can breathe fresh air into that situation. Plus, great experience for them.

    Leila, you are always so quick to criticize the liberal college experience. I went to a small liberal arts college and lived in an all-female dorm. I made friends with devout Jewish, Muslim and Christian women from all over the world. Students on my dorm floor fasted during Ramadan, went to synagogue on high holidays and some of my closest friends woke early Sunday morning to run off to Mass even though we'd stayed up till 3am watching movies and eating pizza. I don't think I would have had the opportunity to form such relationships at my home state university. I likely would've continued hanging out with the secular bunch of friends with whom I'd gone to high school.

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  132. Some of us didn't realize we wanted to be SAHMs until we'd already racked up the student loan debt. :( I have an English degree with a technical communication minor, and I've been working full-time in my field for ten years. But if I could I'd quit and be a SAHM. With my debt and my husband's student loan debt, I don't know if it will ever be possible. I wish I'd made better choices when I was younger.

    My husband had a free ride to school and squandered it. He bitterly regrets that now. He has finally finished his degree, but we had to take out loans to pay for it and the school he went to (only one that would accommodate a full-time work schedule) was not cheap. Hopefully someday it'll pay off, but he's doing entry-level work now for entry-level pay. By the time he gets enough raises and etc for me to be able to stay at home, our kids will be in college.

    All you can do is play the hand you're dealt, but it does suck sometimes.

    Kat - bear in mind that only federal loans will offer generous forbearance and deferral options. Most private loans will only grant a forbearance once or twice - period.

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  133. JoAnna- even private lenders will work with you if you can show you are in a dire situation. They will make you work for it and you will have to prove your case to them, but collecting non-paying loans is a huge cost to most lenders. They want to have preforming loans.

    The problem is what the bank considers dire and what the student considers dire may not always match up. You also have to have something to offer the bank. If you have no income at all, and no assets.....what's the bank to do?

    And it isn't generous---- the interest gets added to the principle you are to repay. Delaying your student loan payments (federal or private lender) costs a lot more in the long run.

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  134. Francis- I appreciate the effort of your reply, but to me that sounds rationalized in such a way as to say: "we just can't afford to make more money".

    If the degree is a good one (and I know this will table a brand new discussion in terms of "good" or "worthy" degrees), it will pay off; in reality, as well as on paper.

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  135. We are not talking about abortion here, we are talking about college, and women's choices for marriage/family. Many of you on this site complain that these terrible feminist women in the workforce judge you and treat you terribly because you left the workforce to care for children. I don't see that at all. I respect everyone's choices, and a true feminist does. But I also hope that women who choose raising children as their vocation will also respect my choices, and more importantly, the choices of my husband, who accepts and supports a wife who is the primary financial support for the family. (Thank you, Leila, for doing so to those people in your life). For every "working feminist" who denigrates a full-time mother, there is a full-time mother who denigrates a working mother and her husband. I am surrounded by - and am dear friends with -- eight full-time mothers with boys the same age as my oldest son and we are all very supportive of each other. All of these women are Catholic and their children are in Catholic school, while my children are in public school. I simply do not see this awful judgmental treatment that feminist women are giving women who leave the workforce for full-time parenting. Just don't see it at all. It is the most important work in the world . . . raising children . . . but I am not called to do it full-time. My friends who do it full time love and support me, and I them. I think there are far fewer women who are hateful feminists than you claim there are. I could easily identify women who are acquaintances, members of my parish, etc., who judge me, but I choose not to. I am supportive of all choices of women in terms of work and family, and I am also supportive of all choices of men. THAT is what feminism is about.

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  136. Francis Catholic, that is what feminism SHOULD be about.

    And perhaps we are talking past each other. The feminists who degrade motherhood are everywhere in academia. Again, it may not be your neighborhood friends, but it's the advocates, the true believers. Check the literature, sit in on a Woman's Studies class. This view permeates, and spills over into the arts, Hollywood, other institutions. Chelsea who commented earlier said as much. She is a long time reader (started reading this blog as a high schooler), now in college. She grew up as a liberal, around liberals. Did you read her comments, where she agreed with my premise? That is what she hears as a young, secular (atheist, if she still is) liberal surrounded by other liberals at her college (and growing up). Why do you think we are lying about the philosophy of modern feminism that is out there? Again, you may not see it among your friends (who have children and husbands, and clearly they are not spouting the lines of the "true believers"), but it's very much there on college campuses where female minds are formed.

    And if you think modern feminism is not primarily concerned with abortion (as the means to economic parity), you haven't been reading, listening, watching. Abortion rights are the linchpin of modern feminism, and it's where so many younger women got fed up and jumped off the "feminist" label, thank goodness. I happily identify as a classical feminist. Clearly you are one, too. But you have missed the fact that classical feminism has long ago been co-opted, and I don't know how you missed it.

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  137. Leila, I accused no one of lying. And I don't appreciate the condescension. I missed nothing about feminism over the years. I attended both public and Catholic universities for my undergraduate and law degrees, and feel quite qualified on the subject (despite the fact that I did not major in women's studies). The feminists of academia, and the women's studies graduates are simply not mainstream feminists who are out in the workforce. I was raised by two very strong parents who taught me and my eight siblings to think for ourselves and stand up for what we believe. I had no problem evaluating feminism while a liberal arts undergraduate and challenging those who were "co-opting" feminism, as you put it. Working women are out there working to support their families and for their fulfillment and to make sure that the world receives the contributions of women through work. That's what JP II said:

    "Yes, it is time to examine the past with courage, to assign responsibility where it is due in a review of the long history of humanity. Women have contributed to that history as much as men and, more often than not, they did so in much more difficult conditions. I think particularly of those women who loved culture and art, and devoted their lives to them in spite of the fact that they were frequently at a disadvantage from the start, excluded from equal educational opportunities, underestimated, ignored and not given credit for their intellectual contributions. Sadly, very little of women's achievements in history can be registered by the science of history. But even though time may have buried the documentary evidence of those achievements, their beneficent influence can be felt as a force which has shaped the lives of successive generations, right up to our own. To this great, immense feminine "tradition" humanity owes a debt which can never be repaid. Yet how many women have been and continue to be valued more for their physical appearance than for their skill, their professionalism, their intellectual abilities, their deep sensitivity; in a word, the very dignity of their being!"

    Mainstream feminists are the vast majority of the feminists I see in the work I do. I travel the country (and occasionally other parts of the world) and work with women and men professionals all the time. The type of feminist I am is what I see in the women I work with and around. The far left radicals you are speaking about are simply not a part of my very large world. I'm not limiting this to my neighborhood, but to my whole life and world experience at age 53.

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  138. Francis Catholic, where did I ever disagree with a word that JPII said? Who are you directing that at?

    Whether or not you acknowledge it, the movers and shakers, the policy makers, and yes, those that are shaping the minds of girls in college are the radical feminists who make up for in power and influence what you say they lack in numbers.

    So, just while very few people were actually in favor of abortion in '73, for example, abortion on demand is now the law of the land. And just as no one (not even Dems) were in favor of gay "marriage", the elites have pushed it (from the top down, not from grassroots) to the point where we are seeing gay "marriage" even in our sleep. It's about who has the power and influence, not what the numbers are.

    I am unsure how anyone can deny that the radicals are in charge of shaping the culture on this issue of motherhood and economic parity. Again, what of young Chelsea's experience as a liberal? She is confirming that "wife and motherhood" is not something that can be comfortably talked about as a goal in her circles.

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  139. Francis Catholic - for an example of the "feminists" to which Leila refers, see: Sarah Silverman, Wendy Davis, Sandra Fluke, Lena Dunham, Ilyse Hogue, and/or Jezebel.com.

    Kat - I had two private student loans at one time (now paid off, thanks be to God), and my experience with them was not pleasant. They did not want to work with me - instead, they wanted to get a court order to garnish my wages. I was working full-time for $10/hr, but I also had two kids and daycare costs ate up my paycheck. My husband was working part-time and going to school full-time. Despite our combined incomes, we still qualified for Medicaid and food stamps and could barely make rent, let alone student loan payments.

    So, not everyone who has trouble paying their loans back are spending money lavishly left and right. Some people have legitimate difficultly, and have to choose between paying the student loan that month or paying the heating bill.

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  140. As to Chelsea, that is what college campuses are about. People challenge each other. If you are in the mix of folks who are not of your conservative ilk, you learn to speak up for yourself. Just like when I was at a Catholic university and was with a group of women who were planning their futures as full-time wives and mothers, and I was "odd woman out," I spoke up to tell them I knew in my heart that such a life was not my calling, and I could not wait to be a lawyer. I work with several female canonical lawyers (there are a lot of them) on an Archdiocesan board I serve on. They were educated at Jesuit Catholic universities. They are faithful Catholics and also feminists like me. Not that uncommon. As to JP II, I just printed that to remind readers generally that our Holy Father has recognized that contributions of women IN THE WORKFORCE are important. There are devout Catholics out there that say otherwise, so it was not meant to chastise you or anyone. Just supporting the important role that women in the workforce play. If there were not as many women lawyers as there are now, our system of justice would suffer, as it did before women were lawyers in large numbers. Our Holy Father acknowledges such inequalities and thus feminism plays an important role in our culture.

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  141. Francis Catholic, can you at least acknowledge that those with influence, those who set policy, etc. are not classical feminists like you? And, when you went to college (which was over three decades ago), it was still common to find women who could speak freely about wanting to be stay-at-home moms. I was very outspoken in my day, but that is because I have a big mouth and am not easily intimidated or influenced. For someone like Chelsea, her "challenges" came not only from college, but before (in her liberal community). College today is not about "challenging" ideas, they are (with a few exceptions) about pushing the leftist ideology, and about speech codes and "diversity training" and silencing conservatives. I have much first hand knowledge of this, as I live, work, and deal with friends and family "out there" in liberal academia. It's scary stuff, and not just about "challenges" to both sides, as an academic exercise (which would be fine and acceptable).

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    1. I should have had a paragraph break when I started talking about Chelsea, as I do not in any way mean to imply that she is easily influenced or intimidated! I have been very proud of her courage in challenging ever her own liberal beliefs, much less others'.

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  142. Miss G, I wouldn't say universities are deceptive, exactly. It's a feather in any university's cap to have individuals considered leaders in their fields among their faculty to give strength to their programs. Those who are interested in the particular fields represented by these faculty need to investigate just how much access there is to the individual's classes and should investigate schedules, the particular department's events, etc. If they investigate, they'll figure it out - "the truth is out there." They just need to be smart enough to find it and weigh if the reputation/access is really worth the price.

    Congratulations on your master's! :-)

    We have some lecturers who really care about the students and give 100%, and we have some tenured faculty who care about getting as much release time (non-teaching time) and the lightest loads that they can get, even though they're not burnt out.

    Re: Community colleges. For the record, a relative and I both attended our local community college before taking on debt (sigh) and finishing our degrees at private universities. Both of us came out with debt that that made our lives difficult in the face of terrible job markets and taking whatever jobs we could get upon graduation, but I hate to think of how much worse off if we went the full four years to a private or state-supported university.

    Another relative, however, who looked down upon going to community college, has racked up $75K+ by going to a state university, including changing majors three times before obtaining a bachelor's. He keeps deferring payment on his student loans because he can't afford to pay them and support his family. Can you imagine how much his principal is increasing on a debt that cannot be wiped out by bankruptcy? Can you imagine how that will impact his marriage?

    I look at the student loan/debt debacles and the mortgage debacles as being related; people going for what they've wanted, rather than what they've needed. Hmm, sounds like emotion vs. reason, no? Where does that usually get you? ;-)

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  143. "College today is not about "challenging" ideas, they are (with a few exceptions) about pushing the leftist ideology, and about speech codes and "diversity training" and silencing conservatives."

    Where the heck does this come from??? College is all about challenging ideas and engaging conservative and liberal perspectives in conversation-at least, that's what it's been about for me at both a small liberal arts college and a large state university.
    Several of my undergrad friends stated their desires for marriage and children (this would be early 2000s) and no one considered that a crazy idea. Several of them are currently full time moms.

    and Lena Dunham?? What, pray tell, is so horrible about a young, talented woman writing movie and TV scripts and acting in them?

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  144. GFNY, Ah, that makes more sense-I agree.

    Thanks for the congratulations-I finished the PhD program. Still getting used to seeing "Dr." in my name : )

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  145. "Where the heck does this come from???"

    The idea that conservatives are not comfortable to speak openly on college campuses but "progressives" are... where does that come from? Um, the experiences of conservatives on most college campuses?

    For example, Planned Parenthood co-eds in pink were happily, freely able to throw cookies in the shape of vaginas at folks (along with condoms) as they walked the grass mall, screaming "You can lick these pu*****!!), but pro-life or pro-marriage displays and talks (with no vulgarities) are vandalized and railed against, often even by the administrations. That's just I know of personally, not to even touch on all the stuff I've read about over the years (even daily you can find this).

    I am so glad that your college does not have a "progressive" bias, Miss Gwen.

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    1. Sorry, typos and hurried words! I didn't mean that administration condones vandalism that occurs. Only that they do not appreciate or stand with the pro-life and pro-marriage talks and displays.

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  146. Francis - I would consider myself a Feminist (although probably a classical one) and yet I stay away from feminist topics on campus. It is not because I do not like to be challenged. I am an atheist on a religious blog. I stay away because they attack women who want to stay at home, not challenge, attack. I love my college but it is a real concern that I have.

    By the way, I go to a very liberal all women college, so I might be on the extreme in my views.

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  147. I thought this was kind of funny (to lighten the mood folks!!):

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/what-its-like-being-conservative-on-a-liberal-campus

    If there is a similar one, with what it's like to be a liberal on a college campus, I'm happy to post it, too!

    And, the one about the guns is so funny. The day after my daughter's fiance proposed, he took her to the shooting range and taught her how to shoot. Now, those were some amazing photos and I thought even more, "What's not to love about this young man???"

    By the way, I am not a gun owner, but pretty much all my friends are. Dean has never shot (wants to!), but several of my children have (and me, in my youth, at camp).

    Oh, gosh, did I just open up the gun debate??? Sorry!!

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