Friday, September 21, 2012

College Women: Career vs Family

Today, I am delving into a somewhat longtime controversial topic for women: career vs. family.  In our society today, many of us are brought up with the notion that women can do anything (which they can!) including balancing a career and raising a family.  Over the last few weeks, I have counseled several college women who were either deciding on a major or deciding what to do after graduation this year.  One common theme that occurred was that they all wanted to have families one day in the future and they all wanted to be able to stay home and raise their children.  Many of these women sat in my office crying, feeling embarrassed and guilty for wanting this in their future.  They were conflicted over their college major and how it relates to their future, and the expense of college while knowing this is what they wanted for their future.  In their minds, they were anticipating that they may not “use” their college degree long term. 

I promptly went online and started researching this age-old topic and saw that last spring it was in the news once again.  Interestingly enough, it was part of the presidential campaign debate last spring and was also the topic of a survey by the Working Mother Research Institute.  A good article about this topic and survey can be found on

Having counseled alumnae over the years who made the decision to stay at home raising their children, I will say this – stay in college:
·       A college degree makes you a better and knowledgeable citizen
·       It will allow you to better contribute to society
·       It will show your children the importance of education
·       It is an accomplishment and provides you with an array of skills that never go away
·       It is a degree that lasts
·       You may love your major, and your choice of career and your job after college and decide to keep working

Now here is the down and dirty ladies:
·       You may not have children in the future by choice or biologically
·       You may choose to marry, you may choose not too—either way you may not be able to afford to stay home and raise kids. Kids are expensive!
·       If you go the traditional route and get married and have kids, what would happen if your partner passed away or you got divorced?

This is certainly a heavy and debatable topic.  I challenge you to leave a comment and start a discussion.  Here is a great blog article that I found that really puts this all in perspective:

Suzanne Dagger, Director of Career Services 

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