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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I am rubbish at making decisions and if it weren't for people pushing me and forcing me to make decisions, I would bob along into old age without actually achieving an awful lot.

Just so you know, I am 20 years old now. I did good at school and got 12 GCSE's, I then went to college and got grade Distinction in a Diploma in Animal Care, and then I got my job which is where I am now. For the past 2 years I have been working and training and a riding school and competition yard. So far, I have my First Aid, Safeguarding Children Certificate, BHS Stage 1, BHS Riding and Road Safety, BHS Stage 2, and I am now working towards my BHS PTT and my BHS Stage 3. For those of you who don't have a clue what I am talking about, I am qualifying to become a riding instructor.

I am very happy doing this and I love my job. I love learning, I love teaching others and I love horses (obviously). Recently, it has occured to me that all of my friends have gone to university. When I left college I wasn't really interested in it myself, but as time has gone on I am starting to have second thoughts about it. You see, I love learning, the more I can learn the happier I am! Seriously, my brain is like a sponge and I love soaking it all up! Without sounding vain, I am intelligent and more than capable of doing well at university.

So, my problem begins. Do I go? The course I am looking at is "Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation". I have looked at the syllabus and it looks really interesting, and definately something that I would be happy doing. Jobs afterwards would include things like hollistic therapy, physiotherapy, herbal treatments, basically rehabilitating horses after injury. It's very similar to veterinary medicine, but instead of medicine it's more "natural" methods used. The main thing that worries me, is not having a job at the end of it. But, my mum has fairly said that I don't have to pay any debts off untill I am in a full time, well paid job. I think I have to earn £22,000 before I pay any debts off? So that's the debt issue sorted I guess n.n I am just the kinda person that will sit here and forever think about it, and not actually do anything about it.

I have looked into it and the university close to me actually do this course, so I could stay at my riding school too, and qualify as an instructor at the same time! My university degree only requires me to attend college three days a week, so I can use the other 2/3 to carry on with my exams. I love teaching and don't feel ready to give it up!

The idea of being able to learn something new, and get a degree out of it really excites me! And the fact that I can carry on becoming a riding instructor also makes me happy.

All my family and friends keep saying to me: If you don't do it now, you never will. This is very true! Help! What do I do?
 

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You do it!! Seriously, go for it. You can ALWAYS teach on the side! If you don't what to you have to fall back on? Can a riding instructor really make a living where you are?
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My advice is clouded by my own experience. I'll share, maybe it will help you a little?

I did well at school and people always told me to do what I liked. I went to university and did a bachelors in something that I had always been really interested in. I did well, I traveled, went on exchange, I enjoyed the whole thing a lot, then I graduated $25,000 in debt. Which was okay. Then I couldn't get a good job. My field wasn't irrelevant but it was like many degrees where it doesn't get you a specific job. Not a career. So the last year or so I've applied for hundreds of jobs, worked random roles, like running a child care or baking. If anything I've found that my degree reduces my chances of getting a job - either I come across as "over qualified" or I have a three year gap in my resume, this is what I've been told.

In a few months I'm going back to university and probably spending another $25,000 for a qualification that will hopefully help my career. It's not something I love, it's not my passion but it has okay career prospects, it's predicted it's a somewhat growing field, I see lots of jobs around, it matches my personality alright and long term I hope to open my own business.

Still I'm looking at losing the next year and a half, and all in all being $50,000 in debt and it freaks me out. I'm just hoping it puts me in a better position than I'm in now. In Australia, like the UK, we have a system where we only pay it back once we reach a certain income so it's not too bad, but it's still there.

I can't tell you if you should do it. I've always been the kind of person that if I want to do something I'll go and do it. That's okay to be that way.

I think at a certain point you need to look at your "career" not just a job. What will you get out of this course and what will it offer you for future? For all these potential jobs what kind of work do they have, what kind of wages and conditions. What locations would you need to work at? (Around universities it can be hard to get jobs in the taught fields because of all the graduates sticking around) You can even contact people working in these fields and ask them about their experience - I've done that and it's really helped me work things out.

Education is brilliant, but it's not a magic pass, especially these days with such accessible courses, ranges of proposed careers, you really have to look into what you're doing yourself and work out if it's best long term.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Education is brilliant, but it's not a magic pass, especially these days with such accessible courses, ranges of proposed careers, you really have to look into what you're doing yourself and work out if it's best long term.
^^ This is what worries me :shock:

I really want to go ahead and do it, but I am really worried that I won't have a job at the end of it.
 

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^^ This is what worries me :shock:

I really want to go ahead and do it, but I am really worried that I won't have a job at the end of it.
You can go into business for yourself as far as I know. Work try to work with a local vet or farrier for a while and try to establish a reputation. Take adds out in any local horse papers. Market yourself go show barns.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There are a couple of big equine vet centres local to me so I could try and get alongside them once I graduate... I love the idea of becoming self employed but I know it's hard, and I would need a good rep first.

Ahhhhh decisions decisions :-|
 

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Well what is going to lead you to a most secure future?

If its anything like the US horseback riding instructors in the US make enough money to live, not enough to save for retirements and not enough to splurge on non-necessities. They maked ends meet.

Going to school might mean going out on a limb and only you can weigh the risks and benefits. If you don't take risks you won't get anywhere in life. You can help stack the odds in your favor though, like CONSTANT networking with BOs, BMs, vets, farriers, local riding clubs, make sure you are useful in more then one way, like maybe also getting a degree (?) Or certificate (?) In equine massage, saddle fitting or chiropractic work. Those fields ALL play a huge roll in what you want to do. Not to mention clients will be thinking they are getting the biggest bang for their buck!

What about calling you local vets and speaking with them about the major you want to go in for. They can give you honest advice on the demand for such a person. You can also try to call any equine therapists in your area, or even email them across the country.
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In my opinion more education is never harmful. You are still are very young (like me) and have plenty of time to try different things and pay off student debt (I will have about 100,000 USD in debt when I graduate from law school).

You never know what doors might open when you try new things! And the advice that I all ways get (which I think is useful) is that we will regret the things we didn't do more than the things we tried.

I am very pro-education and academics and like you I love to learn new things. I say go for it!
 
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this is what scares ME:

"All my family and friends keep saying to me: If you don't do it now, you never will. This is very true!"


NO. not true.
many "older" people find the path they want to travel and go back to Uni in their 30's 40's 50's. To say , at all of 20, that it's now or never , is RIDICULOUS.
If you are unsure , don't go committing yourself to another $25,000. hang out doing riding instruction, while you look around a bit more, listen to good advice, like Saskia's, and grow a bit older. Otherwise, you may find yourself regretting having doubled your debt, and for ?
 

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I have to agree with Tiny here. You're twenty, not seventy, and if it's not something you're steadfast in pursuing before you've even spent the money, you need to consider if this education has other doors available to you and if it's what you're absolutely interested in. You might try looking for internships with people that already have businesses up and running in the field you're interested; this gets your feet wet, opens the doors for new knowledge for yourself and saves the debt for later.

Honestly everyone in my family has made it pretty clear to me: don't start digging until you know what you're digging toward.

In some cases, I have family members and friends with accumulated college debts of up to 200kUSD, all spent on an education that they couldn't/haven't been able to use. They regret pursuing those educations. Many wish they hadn't been so quick to go or hadn't been rushed. College and university will still be there a year from now if you decide against it, it'll be there two years from now, and most likely it'll be there for the next five years. Don't ever let yourself be rushed into spending gobs of cash.

But! One of my favorite quotes ever,
"When you have to make a hard decision, flip a coin. Because when that coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you're hoping for." ~(I forget who I'm quoting.)
 
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"When you have to make a hard decision, flip a coin. Because when that coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you're hoping for." ~(I forget who I'm quoting.)

OH< that's perfect!

On a related, but slightly different vein, I remember the line in "The Horse Whisperer" when the man is talking to the woman , and she doesnt' know whether she wants to leave her marriage or not, he says,

"It's not the knowing that is so hard, it's the saying it". Meaning,
you might already know what you really want or should do, but you just can't or wont' say it.
 

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While I agree with the others that you have time to decide I don't think you have decades. Can you go back to school in your 40s or 30s or 50s? Sure. But are you really going to have the time between kids, a husband, working, caring for animals. Will you even be able to afford it later in life? You made need to make sacrifices that your not will to or can't make if you go later in life.
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If you go back to school, you would be better off studying something that will make you a living. Something in the medical field would be good. Or you could be a school teacher. The problem with getting a degree in working with horses is that there will always be people without the degree doing the same thing for less money. Be a doctor or a lawyer or a nurse. Then you will be able to afford horses.
 
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