As for me, I attended both college and grad school. I have a master’s degree. But do you know where the bulk of my income comes from these days? My blog.
I didn’t go to college to learn how to be a blogger, because blogging didn’t exist in those days. I have a degree in musical theater that I only use in the car or in the shower when I’m busting out some showtunes. I have a degree in psych and only a tiny foot still in the door of that world.
Is a college degree still worth it? It’s a question we asked ourselves before opening Scholarshare 529 college savings accounts for our kids. Tuition is through the roof. Wages are falling. Student debt is at an all-time high, and most college grads leave school with thousands of dollars in student loans. And this book says 36% of college students don’t demonstrate any significant improvement in their learning while attending a university.
Would my kids be better off entering a non-degree training program for a specialized skill, like computer coding? I’d hate to spend all that money only to end up with a kid who isn’t using a degree that cost more than my car.
I think that’s still a question every family has to answer, but for us, the answer is still yes.
- A recent report shows a 14% to 15% rate of return for a bachelor’s degree since 2000. That’s still a good return on investment, any way you look at it.
- People with a college degree earn 84% more over their lifetime than those who only have a high school diploma.
- In 2013, those who had a four-year degree averaged 98 percent more an hour than people without a degree.
- Overall, unemployment is lower for college grads than it is for high school grads. Some majors and careers—like engineering, business, healthcare, and computer science—have even better potential.
So you can save for college and pay all those skyrocketing costs but have better earning potential over your lifetime. Or you can avoid those costs, skip college, and earn less over your lifetime.
It’s not right for every personality or every kid, but I know which path I’d choose for my own children. The one with a greater potential reward. To end up with a well-paying career, college seems the path with the least risk and greatest upside.
I’m an educator. I believe in the power of education to teach people to think critically, to open their minds to new ideas, and to prepare for the workforce. Education stimulates you to ask questions and evaluate concepts. It helps you make connections. It exposes you to fantastic resources and greater opportunities. Our economy today isn’t based on manufacturing like it used to be—it’s now based on knowledge and information. College is a foot in that knowledge economy door. So I think college is valuable…but I don’t think it’s worth going into extreme debt in order to pay for it. Especially for some majors. (I’m not sure a $100,000 degree in French Literature is going to pay off.)
But I do think it’s worth it to save for some kind of post-high school education for my kids, whether it’s a certificate from a community college to a master’s degree like mine. Scholarshare 529 accounts can be applied to all of those scenarios.
That’s why we did it for our four kids.
What’s your view? Is a college degree still worth the money? Will you encourage your children to pursue a four-year education?
We learned that every 10 minutes, a woman in the U.S. nearly dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths are preventable. That’s why Merck created Merck for Mothers, a 10-year initiative designed to reduce maternal mortality around the world, including the U.S.
One of the goals of Merck for Mothers is to raise awareness about the importance of pregnant women and their loved ones talking to a healthcare professional about potential pregnancy complications. In the U.S., three of the leading causes of these deaths are:
- Preeclampsia (severe high blood pressure)
- Embolism (pulmonary blood clots)
- Post-partum hemorrhage (severe bleeding during or after giving birth)
A doctor spoke with us about these complications, but the most compelling part of the day was hearing from the random sampling of women in attendance… other bloggers like myself… who had personal experiences with these complications. In a room of about 50 people, several women had experienced pre-eclampsia or post-partum hemorrhaging. Nearly everyone in the room knew someone affected by these complications. (My own sister had hemorrhaging after one of her deliveries.)
Any woman can be at risk for pregnancy complications, regardless of education, fitness level, diet, or general health. Tragically, women still die from complications experienced during pregnancy and childbirth. Merck for Mothers has created an acronym of the three of the leading causes of these deaths: P-reeclampsia, E-mbolism, and P-ost-partum hemorrhage… or “PEP.” They are encouraging women to pledge to have a “PEP Talk” with loved ones who are expecting, and to encourage them to chat with their healthcare professional about potential pregnancy complications and their signs and symptoms. Hopefully, as more conversations happen around these conversations, women can be educated and prepared to respond if symptoms arise, and more women can seek the treatment they need to reduce maternal mortality.
Merck, through its Merck for Mothers program, and BlogHer have sponsored this post. It is for informational purposes only and not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Kids are picky about food. I’ve gone one really adventurous eater (see my #FoodieJafta tag on instagram), but for the others, pickiness seems to be an inherent trait that they were born with. We can work our way around this pickiness at home—usually—but it gets tricky at school.
I remember trading lunches with other kids back when I was in school. But with teachers and cafeteria monitors walking around and a much greater sensitivity to allergies and dietary needs, those days are gone. Which I am totally cool with, by the way. Because, seriously, I don’t know who made that kid’s lunch, and I don’t know where their hands have been. But still, there really is no way for me to know if my child is eating the food I have so lovingly packed. They could easily be throwing it away just because it’s not what they wanted that day.
I’m trying to find my way around this, and have come up with probably the most brilliant/lazy parenting move we’ve ever made: We make our kids pack their own lunches. Whenever possible, kids like to have a say in things that affect them. And we’ve learned that our kids are much more likely to eat food that they have chosen and prepared themselves. Even if it’s the same food I would have made them. Over the summer, when kids are at home, we champion autonomy and want them to make their own lunches. Now, with school coming soon and all four of my kids being there five days a week, you can believe they will still be packing their lunches. Even my youngest can do her part to make her lunch for the day.
During the school year, we pack our lunches at night. It’s the easiest way to avoid any stress. I’m not a fan of morning routines that involve running around like crazy people trying to find socks and load up backpacks before heading out the door. I’m not really a fan of mornings, period. So when everyone is ready for bed each evening, they head to the kitchen and pack their lunches. It gives them responsibility for their decisions. They have learned that, if they don’t like their lunch, there is no one to blame but themselves.
We supervise the process, of course. If I left it up to my kids, they’d be eating chocolate and cereal all day long. So we’ve set clear guidelines about what is acceptable in their lunches. This is the best way to avoid whining and help them know what is healthy. We’ve made a chart for them, and it’s hanging in the pantry. Five different options go into their lunches: a starch/protein combo, fruit, veggies, snack, and water. We have a designated shelf in the pantry and a bin in the fridge so everyone knows where to grab what they want out of each category.
Yes, this requires a little more planning and prep on my part, but I know the day will soon come when they can do this without ANY supervision from me (or from the chart). We use the term “snack” because there are so many other options than candy bars or chips. Protein bars, string cheese, fruit leather, or almonds are a much better option. All of my kids love almonds which is great for me since almonds are so much healthier. (Check out Blue Diamond’s “Facts” page for more information about the health benefits of almonds.(
We also have designated a lunch-making area. We’ve put within reach most of the things they will need to make their lunches (like reusable bags or containers, napkins, cutting boards, lunch boxes). They assemble everything and clean up the area when they’re done. After the school day ends, they’re also responsible for cleaning out their lunch boxes. I know I don’t want to clean out their soggy sandwich crusts or other trash. Making them do it themselves seems to be the best way to teach them how disgusting it is to leave unwrapped food in a small, enclosed box all day long. THIS IS WHY WE EAT ALL OUR FOOD, KIDS.
Does this whole process work? Most of the time. For one thing, my kids will find anything that prolongs bedtime each night…even the cleaning-up part. So far, there has been very little complaining about this process. I love that they are learning life skills. And I especially love that I don’t have to pack four lunches every day. It seems to be a win/win at our house.
What about you? How do you handle school lunches?