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Old 09-30-2017, 12:38 AM
 
278 posts, read 93,194 times
Reputation: 736

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My GF of 3 years just kind of dropped a lot on me tonight. She mentioned wanting to go back to school for a degree in pediatric neuropsychology. Basically, a very specialized niche. She is currently a school psychologist and has been a school administrator also.

Seems like a lot right now. We just moved from Minnesota to Las Vegas. This is my first time leaving my home state. She is 43 and I'm 37. I just made a big career shift 2 years ago and left my hometown to move 2 hours to be with her. She supported my quitting my job/career field all together to do something with much less pay but more enjoyment. My concerns are: still trying to right-side up ourselves financially as I just got done with 2 years of school/part-time work to get into what I'm doing for work. She still has about 65K in student loans (which will jump to about 100K if she leaves the public school sector). I guess more so, I'm worried about 1) moving somewhere MN-like again. AKA, cold, midwestern, etc. Programs are few. Chicago, Philly, and Denver. I could swing Denver I think, but the others hold little to no appeal. 2) the radical adjustment in living standards for the foreseeable future along with more accumulation of debt. That being said, I feel like a selfish jerk as this is really her lifelong dream.

Help. Thoughts of wisdom. Encouragement.

I'm feeling overwhelmed at the moment.
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Old 09-30-2017, 03:44 AM
 
Location: Gettysburg, PA
1,564 posts, read 1,511,118 times
Reputation: 2750
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhuff80 View Post
My GF of 3 years just kind of dropped a lot on me tonight. She mentioned wanting to go back to school for a degree in pediatric neuropsychology. Basically, a very specialized niche. She is currently a school psychologist and has been a school administrator also.

Seems like a lot right now. We just moved from Minnesota to Las Vegas. This is my first time leaving my home state. She is 43 and I'm 37. I just made a big career shift 2 years ago and left my hometown to move 2 hours to be with her. She supported my quitting my job/career field all together to do something with much less pay but more enjoyment. My concerns are: still trying to right-side up ourselves financially as I just got done with 2 years of school/part-time work to get into what I'm doing for work. She still has about 65K in student loans (which will jump to about 100K if she leaves the public school sector). I guess more so, I'm worried about 1) moving somewhere MN-like again. AKA, cold, midwestern, etc. Programs are few. Chicago, Philly, and Denver. I could swing Denver I think, but the others hold little to no appeal. 2) the radical adjustment in living standards for the foreseeable future along with more accumulation of debt. That being said, I feel like a selfish jerk as this is really her lifelong dream.

Help. Thoughts of wisdom. Encouragement.

I'm feeling overwhelmed at the moment.


Life-long dream? Hmmm. And she agreed to make a major move at a significant time in your guy's life (middle-aged, approaching middle-age) to a location where there's no feasible way to pursue this dream? Did it fade for a while and come back strongly now? My thoughts are that where she's at in life with the decisions she made thus far, she probably needs to put her dream on the pipe-dream list if she wants to continue a life with you.

That being said, there are some considerations. Are you in a field where you can get a job in Denver (the only place you'd consider which I think is fair seeing that you just moved away from the winters)? Would you be able to afford it? If the answer to those two questions are yes, then maybe something can be done. The other questions then are would she be able to get a job easily upon graduation from her field and would the salary be worth the debt (sounds like it would be, but then I'm definitely not familiar with that area)? If the answer to that's yes, then the question for you is: are you willing to make these adjustments for her? Or is being in Las Vegas with the job you have what you really wanted?

Lots of questions. You've got to figure things out and see where you guys stand. Best wishes.


(You'll also probably want to move this out of "Colleges and Universities" to a more proper forum. You should get more responses there).
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Old 09-30-2017, 04:43 AM
 
120 posts, read 56,334 times
Reputation: 392
How well-funded is the doctoral program she is considering? Well-funded programs are typically able to offer a stipend and waive tuition. You won't get rich, but if you are frugal, you can make it work without having to take on more debt.

Another question I would ask your GF is to find out how long, on average, it takes to complete a doctorate at the university she is considering. Some schools think nothing of having a student around for 9+ years while others focus on getting students in and then back out into the working world.

Last, and I cannot emphasize this enough, she needs to meet, in person, the faculty member who will be serving as her adviser for her program of study. You don't have to absolutely love this person, but your writing style should be highly similar as should your research focus. Personalities should also be similar - in other words, the GF should ask herself, "is this someone I could get along with for XX years while I dedicate myself to this program?" If the answer is not "yes," then she needs to look for a different program.

Best of luck to you both!
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Old 09-30-2017, 06:43 AM
 
5,758 posts, read 3,041,090 times
Reputation: 15092
In addition to what he said, is she planning full time or just one course at a time? The intensity level is less, but it never ends.


Both of you have to be very sincere and honest about what grad school will do to your relationship and how you will get through it together. Don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but there are realities that if you don't both deal with, you'll have trouble. Grad school is a very hard, intense, and all consuming program. Hours in class, hours in lab, hours studying. Some faculty will think nothing of her working after midnight every day. She will be tired, tense, frustrated, scared, and angry, all at the same time. You will often have to bear the burden of her anger.


I was single when I went through grad school. Between 1/3 and 1/2 of the married students with me were divorced by the time they graduated. For older students going back, while I don't have statistics, anecdotally the rate was even higher. Don't mean for this to sound so negative, just letting you know that you both have to be very honest and supportive of one another to get through a doctorial program. Eyes wide open.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:08 AM
 
9,347 posts, read 15,792,238 times
Reputation: 17142
Some good advice. Mine is not to let her school debt become your debt.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:17 AM
 
2,700 posts, read 3,749,435 times
Reputation: 2867
Since you are asking us anonymous strangers on the 'net for advice, I would suggest that the two of you need to sit down for a heart-to-heart talk about your future together. No other decisions should be made uni-laterally until you get that large question answered: What do we as a couple want in the long term?

If I were 37 and living with a woman 6 years my senior, I would wonder why I didn't love her enough to have considered making the commitment more permanent by this point. When I was 37, I was married (still am), but there sure were a lot of 20-somethings that could have pulled my eye had I still been single. It is not unusual for cohabitors to split when large unilateral decisions are made.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:35 AM
 
Location: The end of the world
314 posts, read 123,105 times
Reputation: 254
Here is the deal. She is locked into a system gambling on her to finish pay off her loans. Which is what she should be doing. In fact there is another master plan. Where she can be a college professor and have loans wiped clean. She is 43. 40 is the retirement age.

So she is gambling on the idea that she can blast past whatever, and gain the much needed income? Or is this a calling?

Where is she going to be working?

Will she be getting paid more money?

Is the work she does now any harder or easier for her?

So many questions but the main fact is called a game plan and retirement. Retirement under city-jobs/government-jobs is usually around 40 years old. Meaning you come in at the age of 20 and retire with your pension and Social Security. During this time your suppose to have a house and be invested into something already.

Right now I am like ten years behind my retirement plan. Some people walk right into retirement. Again the golden age is 40 and unless you have a master plan of investing and saving.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Firenze
210 posts, read 132,327 times
Reputation: 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teak View Post
Since you are asking us anonymous strangers on the 'net for advice, I would suggest that the two of you need to sit down for a heart-to-heart talk about your future together. No other decisions should be made uni-laterally until you get that large question answered: What do we as a couple want in the long term?

If I were 37 and living with a woman 6 years my senior, I would wonder why I didn't love her enough to have considered making the commitment more permanent by this point. When I was 37, I was married (still am), but there sure were a lot of 20-somethings that could have pulled my eye had I still been single. It is not unusual for cohabitors to split when large unilateral decisions are made.
If poster wanted relationship advice he would've posted in Relationship advice forum.
What is wrong with you with this judgmental post!.
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:00 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,566 posts, read 42,724,437 times
Reputation: 57229
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellomoon View Post
If poster wanted relationship advice he would've posted in Relationship advice forum.
What is wrong with you with this judgmental post!.
It's all tied together, though. GF is a bit long in the tooth to be going off on a new tangent. It will be expensive, both in lost wages and educational expense. GF seems only interested in her own stuff, not his. Questioning the relationship is a piece of the puzzle.
Does OP want to continue following her whims like a good puppy, or not?
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Firenze
210 posts, read 132,327 times
Reputation: 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
It's all tied together, though. GF is a bit long in the tooth to be going off on a new tangent. It will be expensive, both in lost wages and educational expense. GF seems only interested in her own stuff, not his. Questioning the relationship is a piece of the puzzle.
Does OP want to continue following her whims like a good puppy, or not?
Yes, but its her life long dream as the OP said. Being in a relationship is about supporting one another.
I would encourage the OP to seek advice from close friends and family...people here on the internet just throw their judgmental comments around as if they know everything. If you think supporting and being part of someone following their dreams is being a "good puppy" then that's on you .
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