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Old 21-02-2019, 12:33   #76
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Re: What to do for college...

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If I were to do it again (I was similar to you, all I wanted to do was sail) I would pick up a trade first. Takes less time than 4 years of Uni and alot less money. Lots of Uni grades end up going back to college to pick up a trade when they discover that there is no $100k a year job available in "dance theory"

I would seriously consider refridgeration or welding or Diesel mechanics (all in demand and useable on the water too!)

After a few years of that I would then consider Uni. but only after taking my trade and going cruising for a bit.
I have a buddy that has a PhD in physics, heís an electrician now (and a dammed good one!) Supper smart guy but job options in that field combined with where he wants to live are limited.
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Old 21-02-2019, 12:37   #77
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Re: What to do for college...

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Has ANYBODY here been able to go to college then immediately followed that with a long term sailing adventure? I can't imagine it happening. Most always there is pressure to enter the job market immediately after school. An employer would likely look more favorably on a year off before rather than after college.

As a person who has hired and fired thousands of people over the years, I can say, that an interesting gap year, these days, looks very good on a resume. In the UK, gap year is now starting to be considered a standard part of education, and what you actually do on your gap year has become an important element of your resume.


"I lay around on a sailboat anchored off Key West and drank beer", however, is not what you want to answer, when the interviewer asks you "Tell me about your gap year". But something like "I soloed through the Northwest Passage and measured sea ice thickness for NOAA, and made an award-winning movie about polar bears", is very good, and without exaggeration, that sort of thing crops up more and more on resumes. Grades are important, but for really good jobs (or getting into really good graduate schools), this kind of valuable life experience, showing in particular how well you are able to figure out and organize something extraordinary to do with a free year, can be a crucial distinguishing qualification.


Except for very menial or cube-slave type jobs (where they are looking for robotic type workers without ambition, who will stick around without getting restless), it doesn't matter whether you take it before, after, or in between. Between school and uni is the most common time for a gap year, in the UK.
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Old 21-02-2019, 14:05   #78
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Re: What to do for college...

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Has ANYBODY here been able to go to college then immediately followed that with a long term sailing adventure? I can't imagine it happening. Most always there is pressure to enter the job market immediately after school. An employer would likely look more favorably on a year off before rather than after college.
Actually there are a few out there and the Sailing Uma couple (Dan and Kika) are two. They bought a $3,000 beater boat straight out of college, spent a year rebuilding it while living on it in a yard, did odd jobs to support themselves, finally headed out and they are still out there. There are others fresh out of school on boats, in old RVs, and backpacking. This was the Uma couple's first video out of school:
Website: https://www.sailinguma.com/who-we-are


As for me, I started out in college with high intentions, partied a lot, dropped out, and found it nearly impossible to put up with college life when I tried to go back the next Fall. Not too many people go back to college after being out for a year or more and part of it's because you just have a hard time relating to the younger people who are then in class and whom you need to be with for assignments and such. My brother did pretty much the same and will retire from the Army in a few years. He needed the structure and the Army was a great fit for him as he rose through the ranks.

I've flown since I was a kid and after deciding I didn't need a degree or want to put up with college life, I worked through trade school classes to get my Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic ratings. It didn't take too many years of desert sun and freezing cold to realize that without a degree you have far fewer options. I had a good life, got to travel, and could leave to find other find mechanic jobs, so I am absolutely NOT knocking anybody going that route and staying with it. But getting a college degree meant that I would be in better control of where and when I went to work, let ME choose if I wanted to do shift work, meant that I was the one to tell others what would be done, and btw paid more money to do more of the things I wanted to without the overtime that wrenching required. That why I got my first degree 14 years after starting and it's allowed me to see the world and usually stay in decent places that employers pay for. But I wouldn't recommend my path.

So my advise is to go to college, especially if your folks can make it happen like you wrote. Pick a school where you can sail and with your experience you are going to make friends fast, because you have a skill and means of entertainment that others will want to be around. Pick a major - ANY major - that sounds interesting, but keep your eyes open on other majors because virtually nobody ends up where they first thought. If you drop out like me, it's not the end of the world.

A Bach degree from almost ANY college is a minimum requirement to just being able to apply for more than a hands-on skill will qualify you for. HOWEVER, get a hands-on skill to work with every summer rather than selling ice cream in Rehobeth. It could be cabinetry and construction like Dan in the Uma video, fixing diesels, or crewing deliveries to get days on the water toward a license. Because once you have a BS to apply for interviews, being a self-starter (you already show that!) and having real world experience is what employers will see that sets you apart.
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Old 21-02-2019, 14:51   #79
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Re: What to do for college...

I think that Uma might be considered an outlier there. Someone said they were architects. Last I heard, you can get a degree in architecture, but you are not a licensed architect until you've spent five? years in apprenticeship working for a licensed firm or practitioner. So, they've taken a three year break instead of five more years of nose-to-the-grindstone. One might say that's a career changer, they are making a living as lifetstyle videograpers now, aren't they?
"We spent five years seeing global architecture" might play well when and if they seek employment in the field. Or might not, either way they will also be delayed that many years behind the others on that career track.

As checks said, it is the summer internships and connections you make IN college that really matter when you get out. Forget the classifieds, they aren't published any more, are they? But in so many fields, if you take a year or two off, you fall a year or two behind--and employers can be picky about that.

Taking the break before, can't really hurt. Taking it after the fact, and perhaps saying "Gee, I should have been a ---- major" after the fact, not so useful. Who knows, maybe the "hospitality industry" is the OP's best bet. Take a year off meeting new faces & places, then go to a U with a solid "hospitality" program. There are a lot of global hotel chains that would love to move someone around every couple of years, with hotels in sailing resort destinations. The same skills transfer into lots of "retail" front desk operations.
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Old 21-02-2019, 17:32   #80
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Re: What to do for college...

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Originally Posted by sanibel sailor View Post
Has ANYBODY here been able to go to college then immediately followed that with a long term sailing adventure? I can't imagine it happening. Most always there is pressure to enter the job market immediately after school. An employer would likely look more favorably on a year off before rather than after college.

I know people who have done this. Honestly, employers don't care. Some may even find in interesting.

The difference between a "this year" grad and a "last year grad with a year of sailing experience" is zero, as long as the grades are good. The one difference is being able to use a school's graduate support/interviewing facilities, but I'd think most schools would allow someone to do that.

I think the parents' advice/support is good, and well-reasoned.
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Old 21-02-2019, 18:04   #81
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Re: What to do for college...

It must be remembered though that there is more to life than hanging out isolated on a sailboat.

This guy chose music:



while Neil Armstrong chose college via the military with engineering and flying. Here he takes the X-15 into space just outside the atmosphere after being launched off a B-29

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Old 21-02-2019, 18:28   #82
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Re: What to do for college...

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Actually, for many waiting until you are older and less burnt out on school can the best way. It also gives you the time to figure out what you might want to do with your life and can motivate you for more schooling where you will actually get something out of it.

I graduated university at age 33 and actually learned some stuff!

It was so amazing to me the difference even in the way folks dressed in the Engineering/Math Building as compared to say the Psychology or History Building

I graduated at 34. I was glad I went later. I focused on my education not partying and I really understood what they were trying to teach in that humanities course.



Going to university changed my life for the better. But I also got a trade and that ensured that I could work anywhere in the world.


You have dozens of ideas here. Given that you had the gumption to post in the first place tells me you will go far.
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Old 21-02-2019, 18:53   #83
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Re: What to do for college...

We live in a unique time where its never been easier to work remotely. Even some pretty wild remote places have reliable internet these days. And jobs like website and software development will continue to be in demand. Especially if you don't mind computer screens, there are lots of options.

More generally, there are an awful lot of paths thru life. On the one hand, life is short and there are no guarantees. Your passions may change and do you want to be a 50yo chasing your 16yo self's dreams?

On the other hand, maybe going to school, getting a good job,starting a family and taking the long road towards the dream is the path that makes sense for you.

There's nothing wrong with either approach, and id argue they're less and less mutually exclusive in this day n age.

Any rate, its likely as you make choices in life you'll come to find the balance that makes sense for you. Good luck!
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Old 21-02-2019, 19:19   #84
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Re: What to do for college...

Physics. With a degree in physics you can do anything. And it’s righteous stuff!
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Old 22-02-2019, 05:32   #85
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Re: What to do for college...

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Hi all,

I'm currently 16 years old and living in Lewes, Delaware on the Delaware Bay. I've been sailing since age 10 and got a 1992 Catalina 14.2 for my birthday last year. I know I want to sail as soon as possible and live aboard. I want to set myself up to sail the world one day and came to the forum for advice on how to do it. Just looking for ideas on what to get a degree in a where to tour this spring or even what any liveaboards did for college. Really excited to get out of high school and experience the world!

Thanks,
Jake Mundok
Jake,

“Don't spend money on a degree you don't really need or want.”

This is great advice. I’m part of the generation that, if you did reasonably well in school, almost instinctively went to college and majored in something - anything - just to get the degree. I graduated a couple of decades ago and a year of school at my alma mater costs over FIVE TIMES what it cost me for my degree back then. To put it in perspective, the piece of paper that cost me 48k then would cost a young person about 225k today.

College has gotten ridiculously expensive, and frankly, with the internet and the commoditization of information, much less relevant than it once was.

I really think that the default for people your age should be to not go to college unless you decide that you want to pursue a career in something that requires the degree or specific training (engineering, law, medicine, etc). Paying 30, 40, or 50 thousand dollars a year to find yourself isn’t how life works.

You’re young enough now that you have plenty of time to explore different things before committing to a course in life.

...and a bonus is that if you finally do decide to go to college, completing your degree in your 20s as a guy with a car, some money in the bank, and a marketable skill will give you a much better social life in school than if you go there is a 18 year old right out of high school.
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Old 22-02-2019, 07:17   #86
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Re: What to do for college...

One need not go into debt for 30-40K per year for a college degree, as they can be had for much less than that.

A little money in the bank, or not working as hard and having a car can seem very tempting at that age, but people with college degrees make more money than people without. Do some research on that.

I would only advise someone NOT to go to college if they have an actual preference for a trade. For anyone else, I'd recommend a college degree.

No matter what you do, if you're going to make something of yourself you're going to work your ass off. Let's not sugar coat it. And the time to work your ass off is when you're young, because it only gets harder if you don't advance your career when you're young.

You can maybe take one year off (and I'd recommend it being between college and a job) without it screwing up your life trajectory. You take five years off when you're in your twenties, and you've made a life choice that you will likely never recover from financially.

If you're going to retire early, make it in your forties or fifties and do it with some means, not your twenties where you'll spend the rest of your life playing catch up.
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Old 23-02-2019, 02:49   #87
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Re: What to do for college...

I think the coast guard is an amazing goal. If you pursue it you can go to college in a ROTC equivalent program and join as an officer after you finish. If you donít like it you can get out after school, however you will be left with the school bills if you donít complete your contract. Either way you get education and a unique experience.

If you decide to stay in, guess what? You now have the option to retire at 12 years with pension. If you like it, then you can retire at 20-24 years with 50%more pension and full medical/dental benefits. Basically youíre retiring at the oldest of 44 with pension, so if youíve saved those 20+ years, you wonítneed to work for the rest of your life.
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Old 23-02-2019, 06:38   #88
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Re: What to do for college...

Jake,

Some additional Coast Guard Academy info:

You might check out the personal blogs by actual cadets. Both men and women.

> Cadet Blgs U.S.C.G. Academy < Plus other info that might be of help.
They do not pull any punches, they speak the truth. Outstanding.

Personally, I am proud and happy to have served my country. That was with the
Naval Air which morphed into an aviation career. And later sailing professionally.

But, in reading the blogs about the Coast Guard Academy, if I had it to do all over again, well, I quite possibly would have chosen the coast guard. Outstanding in all categories.

College education, maritime training, sports, at sea during the summer serving on Coast Guard vessels, serving on the Eagle training ship; sort of a boot camp ;, and food and lodging, and military bearing, and more.

If this all sounds good to you, and you do have to be dedicated and study, and work at it, you could have one heck of a phenominal experience , gain your degree, and maybe a career as an officer in the U.S.C.G.

Please take bit of time, and read that list of blogs. Gals are listed first, guys will follow. All are interesting and worth while.
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Old 23-02-2019, 06:55   #89
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Re: What to do for college...

I don't know what the job market is going to look like in 10 years. What I DO know is that it won't bear much resemblance to the job market of 20 years ago. Be skeptical of advice from people 40+.

If you have the aptitude, get a STEM degree. Best chance for flexibility IMO.
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Old 23-02-2019, 07:14   #90
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Re: What to do for college...

Not just in the future, but today, you need

multiple in-demand skillsets, constantly updated and added to

courage to cut and run on gigs where you can see the skillset has become an easily available commodity with downward price pressures from competition

willingness to work multiple gigs in parallel

entrepreneurial attitude and ability to market yourself

ideally side gigs that may develop into your own business, making profits off others' labor

constant savings diverted into investment capital, ideally at least some into generating purely passive income requiring minimal time & attention

increasing the latter %age each decade

These will become more and more requirements of just survival and basic dignity in America, no guarantee success will bring a lifestyle better than what a union factory job used to provide forty to sixty years ago.

Sensible alternative: become a citizen of a more civilized developed country.
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