TGIF Edition: Elizabeth & Nancy Wrap-Up

Evening, fellas (that’s a gender-neutral term on this blog). I’m going to keep it short and sweet today, since a) I’m home alone this weekend minus kids or wife and am going to try to spend it some other way than glued to this computer like I do every other day, and b) it’s Friday, and Friday night is time to relax, not drown yourself in scholarship-related stressors. So read this quickly, and begone with ye!

Let's make it quick. I'm sulkin' like McAuley Culkin, home alone.

Thought I’d wrap up the whole Elizabeth Goes to Harvard and Nancy Goes to Maryland situation here (read those posts if you haven’t already). We got literally hundreds of great comments from every possible point of view, and again I thank everyone for their comments. There’s a lot of things you can choose to do in a day, and I appreciate it a ton when one of those things you choose to do is to comment on this site.

There are some good summary takeaways from these discussions (although they’re not over, and will continue to rage on in the comments section, I’m sure). Here’s the situation boiled down to its essence:

  1. When it comes down to it, you’re on your own. Not to be too ominous there, but it’s true. Me and 100 other commenters from this little online peanut gallery can give you our thoughts on any question you ask, but it all comes down to what’s going to make you happiest, and you know that better than anyone else ever will.
  2. Ask yourself WHY your dreams are what they are. Following your dreams can take you great places and lead to unsurpassed happiness; following flawed or misguided ones can leave you in a world of hurt. Before jumping off a mountain to follow them, make sure you’ve really taken the time to evaluate WHY you want something, and if all your assumptions about your dreams are sound. In these examples, we’ve heard Elizabeth and Nancy both talk about expensive private schools being their “dream schools.” And of course, I hope that if they attend those schools, that their experiences are more “dream” than “reality check.” But do your homework extensively before you decide. Forewarned is forearmed.
  3. Understand the life-altering nature of debt (or lack thereof). The effects of student-loan debt are almost universally underestimated by the students who use them to finance college. Also, students almost universally overestimate the ability of a large salary to vanquish that debt. That’s natural; it’s hard to understand something you haven’t experienced. So ask others (preferably those who took out somewhere near the amount of loans you’ll need to take out) what they think, and how the loan payments affect their lives. Some will tell you it’s no big deal. That’s my case, personally. I took about $28,000 over undergrad and grad school (or thereabouts), and the payments were never that big of a deal. Others will tell you they’ve been devastated by loan payments that they can’t afford to make on the salaries their degrees have produced. Long story short: Just know what you’re getting into.
  4. Don’t half-ass it. This is my best advice for life in general, not just school, but everything. We’ll stick to school here, though. If you go the expensive private-school route, go all the way. Elizabeth, make all the high-level Harvard connections you can possibly make and bleed that prestigious degree for all it’s worth. On the other hand: Nancy, if you go to Maryland, bust your ASS in school and decide right now that you will learn as much or more as any other student over at Johns Hopkins who’s in the same program as you are.Don’t forget how many people believe in you! I’ve got a few hundred on this blog who believe in both of you and we don’t even KNOW you! 🙂

It’s all up to you, folks. Put your head down, trample the weak and hurdle the dead. A good thought for a Friday night.

Have a good weekend!


10 thoughts on “TGIF Edition: Elizabeth & Nancy Wrap-Up”

  1. Hi! I’m having trouble choosing a college. There’s a school I really love so much but my parents are against. As you said, one should go to a school that makes one happy. Should I choose the school without their permission?
    I hope to get a reply back from you.

  2. This was great, answered many of the questions I had and reinforced the path I was thinking of heading. Thanks!


  3. Reading all of these have been great! keep it up, I really thoroughly enjoy everything you’ve written. Thank you.

  4. hi!!
    go Nancy and Elizabeth we know that you two can surpass in the collage!!
    Elizabeth we have the same dream, and yes, i also want to study in Harvard..
    hehehe…LOL..,i know that it is very IMPOSSIBLE…>>>>>>

  5. Dear Josh,

    I would like to provide me by a master or PHD scholarship related to Interior Architect. (Landscaping, scenography, etc…). Thank You in advance.

  6. Ei Ei Kyaw,

    Why are your parents against your preferred school?

    My daughter wanted to go to a beautiful school in a horribly depressed area. We said no, and boy was she mad… until a student was shot at the back gate of the school. We had tried to tell her that if the school was anywhere else, we would be glad to have her go there. We were going to be over 8 hours away, and in order to be relatively safe, she would never be able to leave the campus. It was a situation that only experience could help you to understand. We allowed her to choose any of her other schools without comment, because we wanted her to be happy with where she was going.

    Ask your parents why they don’t like your college. Tell them why you do like it and try to find facts that can calm their fears. Together come up with a plan that can make everyone happy. If necessary, find other schools that have whatever it is that you like about this one and offer them as an option. If you accept a school that your parents don’t approve of without their knowledge, you risk them not paying for it. I certainly would not pay to have my daughter in an unsafe situation!

    If you talk together, do research and be prepared to compromise on both sides, you will all be happy.

    Good Luck

  7. Thanks everyone!
    I’ve followed these pillars, and decided Maryland is for me. I’m ready to kick some TerpButt 😀

  8. Josh,
    My gratitude to you for not preaching, rather presenting individuals with sound, relative information. Your work is important and very much appreciated. Your well composed emails/articles serve as a much needed compass within the labyrinth of choosing a program and the recipe for funding such dreams, as grad school!
    Have a wonderful weekend, hopefully you were truly able to step away from the computer!

  9. Hi! Im having trouble picking between schools too. In the end i want to go to NYU for grad school (cant right now, too expensive), but I’m in a terrible tug-o-war w/ Howard University and Marquette University. I want to become an entrepreneur of my own TV show and another program (possibly journalism or sumthing) to benefit societies. Howard is an HBCU (never seen so many smart black ppl in one area), and Marquette is a catholic school (never went to one o those either)- my mom wants me to go to MU, my dad wants me to go to HU. :/ I used to look through other profiles on facebk and smile, thinking, yeah, seeing HU ’14 on my status would be pretty cool, and I wouldnt have to live in WI anymore….but now im going insane. I DONT WANT TO STAY HERE! Howard is prestigous, yes! But what if i dont like it? Is Marquette better than Howard? Should i just move and stop sulking? How can I decide from an HBCU and a PWI’s programs, specifically business and communications (maybe even education)? How can i tell if i just feel butterflies or i just dont feel happy w/ the scenery?

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