Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kids are Graduating: Now it is Your Turn to go to College

For many parents, the end of the school year is a time of concern, joy, and even grief. Concern for what our children will do while we are at work this summer. Joy that our senior students are graduating high school or college. Grief that our little boy or girl is all grown up and doesn't need us like they did years ago.

If we have done our jobs as parents right, they are ready to sail into the world without us holding their hands. It is our duty to let them know that we know they can make it on their own, but it won't hurt to let them know they can always count on you in emergencies.

Empty nest syndrome is a very real, painful life happening. There are ways to work through it, though. Volunteer at the hospital or nursing home. Be a Boy or Girl Scout leader. Take painting or sculpture lessons. Go back to school. Many of us put off college, or never expected to have the opportunity to go. If you have always wanted to go, now is the right time.

Spend some time thinking about it, first, though. It is a large time and effort commitment. If you still think you would like to go, just do it. You don't have to know what you will major in when you first start taking classes, though it would be easier to plan your education if you did. Before you begin, know what you want to do when you get out. Do you want to get a job? Start a business? These are important questions.

Contact the financial aid office at the school you are interested in attending if you will need help to pay for the classes. Remember, most financial aid must be paid back, so only take as much as you need. On the other hand, depending on your income, you may be able to borrow enough to help pay your living expenses while you are in school, as well as you tuition, fees, and supplies such as books and a computer.

Non-Traditional Student, a blog site devoted to helping nontraditional students in their college journey, provides important information. If you are considering returning to college or beginning college for the first time, visit Non-Traditional Student! An empty nest is no reason to stop living and learning.

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