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Thread: Life advice needed.

  1. #1

    Default Life advice needed.

    I've been meaning to post this for a while, but I might as well do it now or never. I hate looking for advice, but, w.e.

    Anyways, in TL;NT terms my family and I are going through a really tough time. More than anything else now. My dad says he'll be leaving once we can sustain ourselves, but I doubt it'll happen. Plus I don't think my mom will continue to have her job for another year if anything, and she's about to work 24/7 at her workplace. I'll only be able to see her two hours a day if anything.

    I know it isn't my place to do so, but I want to make my little bro the son my dad couldn't make him be. When he was younger, he used to look up to me a lot. Never anyone else, and I wasn't that brother I could have been at the time. Since my dad isn't even taking care of us much anymore, I want to take up for it. Should I?

    Also, money problems. I know my mom can't support us without federal aid, and we really do not want that. I want to help my mom out, but the last thing she wants is that. She's been working literally all her life, and I do NOT want to see her working ten years from now, or even five.

    Should I just delay college? I know it might be a bad idea, but I feel that if I can work instead I can better help them out. My sister and brother need someplace to live, even though they are a pain in the ass sometimes. Even though we have had numerous offers from family members that live close and beyond to stay with them, I'm not going to leave anybody behind.

    This and more things I'd prefer not to ask has been plaguing me for the past couple of months, and it's only a couple months until I turn 18 and make my own decisions. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2


    Be there for your family by staying in college! it's better in the long run and you will be a rolemodel for your brother. Be well and good luck.

  3. #3


    Sorry to hear this dude. I've been in a very similar situation to you. Single parent mother that worked her ass off to keep our families head above water. I got a job when I was 17. It was minimum wage, but that tiny bit of extra money helped. I paid a little rent, then once I was out of school I happened lucky and got a better job. I had to save up for my education for 3 years, but paid rent to her in that time. A couple hundred dollars a month made a massive difference. Once I went back to school I stayed at home to save expenses. It took a whole lot of effort after that as well, but things did work out. My advice? For me, I always had my eye on the prize to get a decent paying job. I was a pretty bad student though, so that 3 years off gave me a bit of maturing time. By the time I was back in school I had gotten my drive back.

    As far as advice, you will find your own way just fine. The fact you are putting this much thought into your families future and how best to help them and yourself shows me you have the right mindset. It's going to be a balance. I would consider picking up some hours working if you can. The best thing you can do for your little bro is by setting an example. Don't try and replace his dad, be his kick-ass older bro. Older brothers have the advantage of being looked up to while still maintaining some 'coolness'.

    Best of luck to you dude. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I only wish I could go back and let 17 year old me know how well life would turn out.

  4. #4


    The thing is I've seen people delay college to take care of family members and they never have the time to go back. I'm worried that if you do delay college the same might happen to you.

    If you go with college you could get a good job and from there you will be making more money than you would without a degree. Then you would be able to support your family even more, so my choice would be go for college.

  5. #5


    Wow... I'm really sorry to hear about the state you're in.

    I can't say I've had to deal with anything like what you're saying here, so take my advice with due consideration of that. That said, from my vantage point, I honestly think continuing on with your college studies is a better course of action than taking a break to work. Sadly, the kinds of work you can get with no college education are pretty limited, and don't have a lot of income potential. What I've seen happen to those who "take a break" is that once they're out, they get sucked into a paycheck-to-paycheck existence where even if they want to, they can never again afford to go back to college because they have rent and bills to pay and they can't afford to lose the meager income they have.

    If you *have* to work to help the family out, then ONLY work part-time. Do classes and then work on-campus or something for 10ish hours per week. Even if you don't have enough money to contribute a lot to the family, that extra bit of money will keep gas in your car's gas tank, help offset your car insurance, et cetera. Even getting a couple of bills off the family's budget could be a huge help.

    Past there, if things are truly that dire, I know you've said you're trying to avoid it, but it is worth considering federal aid. I know there is a lot of stigma attached to it, but the whole point of it is to help those who have fallen on hard times, to give them a hand to lift themselves back up, not a hand-out.

    Anyway, do keep us updated. I hope things look up soon!

  6. #6


    do you know what you want to study, and what kind of a job you'd be able to get when you graduate? if so, you should go to college. making a big difference in five years is better than making a minor difference right now.

    if you don't have a plan for college, maybe it would be worthwhile to take a break from school and earn some money to help your family out while you figure out what your next step should be. people have this idea that a college education is valuable in and of itself, but the truth is that's pretty overblown. you'll be more likely to get something useful out of your time at college if you go into it knowing exactly what you're looking for.

    in the long run, what's best for you and what's best for your family is likely to be the same thing, and it sounds like you understand that.

  7. #7


    All good advise from above, and I must agree with them that if you put off going to college, you'll never go. Avery makes a very good point that you can make a lot more money with a college education, and in 4 or 5 years, have a lot more to contribute to your family.

    As for your mom working, my mom was that first great generation who went to work. She worked hard, but she enjoyed what she was doing. My wife worked as a school teacher all of her life until she had to retire on full disability. In today's economy, most women work, so don't let that keep you from going to college.

    I also have to agree that you need to be a good role model for your brother, rather than his father. Again you can do that, at least in part, by going to college. Sadly, it's your parents' responsibility to be parents to their children, not you. You dad needs to grow up and take his responsibilities as a father seriously. It sounds like he's the problem here, not you.

    As a final note, since there is little money in your family, remember that you can get Pell Grants and other financial help. Once in college/university, work hard and get good grades as much as possible. Do it for those whom you love.

  8. #8


    I agree with avery: If you have a pretty firm idea what you want to study and what kind of job you want, take the fast lane to college. Get through it as quickly as you can then try to find that job you want asap. The extra money you'll make from that will help your family a lot more than any money you can make from being an unskilled worker, plus it'll leave some money for you as well.

    If, on the other hand, you have merely vague ideas of what kind of job you want, you're not quite ready for college. If you had the money and free time to spend on sampling a college course, it wouldn't matter. I know lots of people (even from this very website) who started a college course just to find out 6-8 months later that the subject wasn't for them. A high school friend of mine even switched from course A to course B and then back to course A another 2 years later: All that delays your career and the ability to make money, and from what you say, you need money asap.
    So if you're unsure what kind of subject or job you want, then do take that time off to get a job and help your family. It's not a shameful act to not know what you want at age 18, it's actually quite common. However, when you do that one year of working, do put some time towards finding a suitable college course for you, or you'll be stuck in the same spot one year from now. The good thing is: Taking a year off and working looks way better on your CV/resumé than switching courses in college, and you never have to tell anyone that you had to help your family.


  9. #9


    The best way to be a dad for him is to set an example, and of course help him anyway you can. Delaying college, is a bad choice, stick it out, find a way. You will end up showing him what he should do too.
    In today's economy, it makes the difference between a good life, and a poor one.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Peachy View Post
    ... I know lots of people (even from this very website) who started a college course just to find out 6-8 months later that the subject wasn't for them. ...
    Haha. I know someone that spent $20,000 on a 10 month course only to realize that it wasn't something they wanted to do. Lucky for them though, parents footed the bill...

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