Ask Amy: Grad wonders about returning to school

FresnoApril 20, 2014 

Dear Amy: I'm looking for insight. I am in my mid-20s and hold a liberal arts degree. Since graduating from college, I've held five jobs for a variety of reasons (including being laid off twice). I'm currently unemployed and questioning whether I should stay in this "creative" field, because it has been difficult to find stable employment and doesn't seem to be for me.

I am considering going back to school in a health-related field. I live with my boyfriend (a successful engineer) who believes I shouldn't borrow money to go back to school. He thinks I should just find a job that will pay the bills and won't require debt. I disagree and believe sometimes student debt can be for the best if you have better job prospects at the end.

We discuss marriage and a future, and he believes student debt will mean delaying other life goals, like having a home and a family. We don't have any undergraduate debt.

-- Potential grad student

Dear Student: Having some student debt shouldn't delay your other life goals, as long as you limit it to a reasonable amount that you can take full responsibility for repaying. (I graduated college with debt, but it was manageable.)

I agree with your guy that you (currently unemployed) should not run headlong into full-time graduate school if you must take out loans to finance it.

You should start by pursuing an entry-level job or paid internship in a health-related business. You can use this work experience to see if a graduate degree is necessary, or if you can perhaps take some classes or training and receive certification in a health-care field.

Ideally you would work while you are going to school, and though it would take you longer to receive your education, you could take it in stages and reduce the financial load -- and risk.

Dear Amy: I have two daughters. Each daughter has one child.

One daughter has always said she wanted only one child, but the other daughter always wanted three or four children. She and her husband have tried for two years to get pregnant and have been seeing an infertility specialist, but with disappointing results.

This is causing so much heartache and sadness. This daughter is not even able to look at pregnant women without anger.

The other daughter just told us we are going to be blessed with another grandchild. Even though she originally didn't want more children, they are happy about it.

How should my pregnant daughter break this news to her sister?

-- Happy but worried

Dear Happy:

She should approach this with tremendous sensitivity, knowing that her sister will feel conflicted. She should not insist, "I want you to be happy for me." Instead she should say, "I realize this might be very hard for you, and I want you to know that I continue to hold onto every ounce of hope for you."

The pregnant sister should understand if her sister needs to maintain some distance during this time, but the not-pregnant sister should not express anger or hostility toward (or about) her.

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@tribune.com, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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