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to think I am not taking the piss by studying?

(59 Posts)
Scarfo Tue 30-Oct-12 09:12:11

I went back to college in September at the grand old age of 32 and it seems to have rubbed some people up the wrong way.

A bit of background - I left school at 16 (with GCSEs) and worked for three years in an industry which no longer exists in the digital age. I then met my first dh, and had ds, now 8, and didn't work again (as it turns out ex h was a knob who didn't want me to work aside from doing all his accounts and admin). We eventually divorced and I am now remarried. Dh works, but we live in an expensive city (can't move because of access arrangement for ds), so his wage pays the rent only - actually, his entire monthly wage is £100 short of the rent and we live in the smallest, cheapest flat we could find - but we get small amount of housing benefit, CTC, WTC and some maintenance from ds father, so we are ok. We don't drink, rarely go out, no holidays, have a very tight food budget (£25 per week) so while we don't have luxuries, day to day life is manageable. Plus, now I am a full time student our council tax has been reduced so that has helped loads.

Prior to this course I looked for work for a year, and found nothing. I went for cleaning jobs, shop jobs, even part time things like lunchtime supervisor positions, everything going really. I was always turned down as I had no experience, no references (the job I had as a teenager was cash in hand and the place closed years ago) and because I'd had such a long time out of work. I also put my name down at countless places for volunteer work but there are so many people wanting to volunteer in my area.

I decided that instead of trying to find a min wage job I would be best off going to college to do a vocational course to better myself and eventually end up with a career. The course I am doing is for three years, but at the end I can get a managerial job in my chosen fields (there are many options with this course) and work my way up, or progress to a degree if I wish. I have to do work experience one/two days per week, which has been fantastic, and I am at college three days. Plus a lot of essay writing which easily take up an entire day if I have a day off.

Almost everyone in my family thinks I am taking the mick and that I should be working, instead of relying on dh and top up benefits (which we would probably still get anyway as I am only likely to find a min wage job at the moment).

I am under a lot of pressure to give up my course, but ex h really dented my confidence, called me stupid for years and this course is helping with that no end. I am doing so, so well, I can't tell you the boost it gives me when the tutors tell me that I am doing fantastically after years of feeling worthless.

I just wanted some opinions on what I am doing. I think it's the best thing for my families future but no one else seems to agree and it's getting me down.

myroomisatip Tue 30-Oct-12 09:15:50

No way should you consider giving up your studying.

Exactly who is it in your family to are pressurising you? Is your DH supportive?

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 30-Oct-12 09:16:22

Don't listen to them and especially don't listen to your ex H! Sounds as if he is an ex for a good reason.

It sounds really practical to do what you're doing. I don't see how it is taking the piss at all. Presumably your DH is fine with supporting you studying, so it is none of your family's business.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 30-Oct-12 09:16:46

I think you are doing EXACTLY the right thing and your family and friends are barking mad.

Taking the mick? out of whom? Should be working? Where exactly?

I would practise really hard ignoring these people. Well done for doing so well on your course.

jennycrofter Tue 30-Oct-12 09:17:56

All that matters is the support of your DH, and the fantastic role model you are being for your DS.

Good luck with your studies.

Scarfo Tue 30-Oct-12 09:18:50

My parents, dh parents, dh siblings - even my bloody ex has stuck his oar in. I've had friends comment as well. They say I'm bright and could walk into a job - yes, I am bright, but with no work experience or references it's almost impossible. None of them believed I was looking for work either, now they see this as a way for me to get out of working I think. Which it's not, my course is quite hard.

Dh is very supportive, he's very proud of me.

LFCisTarkaDahl Tue 30-Oct-12 09:19:25

Its quite simple - you spent plenty of time trying to GET a minimum wage job and failed so now you're doing what's right for you and your family.

Don't discuss it with them. And your placement IS work.

HolofernesesHead Tue 30-Oct-12 09:20:42

Definitely keep at it - think of the long game, this course could set you up for years of enjoyable, well paid work. You're only 32! You've got years ahead of you.

If your DH is supportive, hold onto that, and the encouragement of your tutirs - don't let the nay-sayers get too much air-time inside your head (easy to say, hard to do, I know). Are there any other people on your course who could become good supportive friends, do you think? If so, they might be a lifeline emotionally.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 30-Oct-12 09:20:44

Tell them all to fuck off.

I feel angry on your behalf.

Thistledew Tue 30-Oct-12 09:20:47

Of course you are doing the right thing! Good for you for taking it on. I imagine that it took a fair amount if guts to take on the challenge and you should be proud of yourself for putting yourself forwards. The nay-sayers are being very short sighted and are probably somewhat jealous of your drive and determination. Especially your ex. Good luck with your studies. x

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 30-Oct-12 09:21:03

Do you get any student loans? If so that must be helping financially and it is 'good' debt because you will end up with the degree.

Your DH sounds lovely. Can he say something to your family about it all? Or can you? They must be really getting you down and I would be quite angry if I were you.

Scarfo Tue 30-Oct-12 09:24:16


It's just all the comments I get. All FIL says is that I'm fannying about working for free - the placements I go on one or twice a week are so varied and are wonderful experience and really help with the coursework.

Dh parents are visiting for a couple of days this week and I know they will start up again, thats why it's on my mind so much this morning. This suits me so well at the moment, the student fund pays for ds after school care and I get the holidays off with him - not to mention the fact that I am finally working towards something better for our future.

MrsGeologist Tue 30-Oct-12 09:25:01

It's a good plan to get qualifications to improve your job prospects (I'm doing similar)

If anyone goes on about it, perhaps politely say, 'it'll improve our lives in the long term, and if you can't be supportive, please keep your opinions to yourself.'

Scarfo Tue 30-Oct-12 09:25:20

No student loans, it's a futher education course, not a higher education one so I don't qualify. But the college pay for childcare.

ipswichwitch Tue 30-Oct-12 09:26:39

They are being incredibly short sighted by not understanding that this course is a means to an end- the end point being to get you a decent job with real career prospects. You have the support of your DH (which I would remind them of) and frankly it's none of their business. It seems to me like they may be a bit jealous of your success on the course and the fact you are doing something you obviously enjoy. Good luck to you, and when you get that fab new job at the end of all this, just remind the busybodies that it was down to your hard work that you got there, with no support off them

LadyWidmerpool Tue 30-Oct-12 09:27:05

Good for you. 'We have made our decision and don't wish to discuss it further.'

Moominsarescary Tue 30-Oct-12 09:34:04

Just ignore, I had a few comments when I trained to be a nurse even though because of the bursery I was claiming less top up benifits than I had been in my minimum wage job.

Your happy, your dh is supportive and proud of you, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

FolkGhoul Tue 30-Oct-12 09:36:31

Some people feel threatened by members of their family 'bettering themselves'. And see them as having 'ideas above their station'.

I find this is most often the case when you have found a way around circumstances that they have used as an excuse for not doing it themselves.

We no longer have contact with my mother. There are many and varied reasons for this, however, part of it is to do with her attitude towards me and much of that attitude is because:

My father and her split up when I was 17. The mortgage was nearly paid off. She had an office job she was dissatisfied with. She always regretted not training to be a teacher for children with SN. Once the mortgage was paid off completely, I suggested that retrained as a TA and specialised in SN. She gave a million and one reasons why she couldn't and didn't. I'm now 38 and she is in the same office job.

OTOH. I became a single parent in my early 20s. Unlike her, whose children were nearly independent adults, my child wasn't even born. I had nothing and was homeless as a result to boot. She revelled in telling me that now I knew just what it had been like for her. Except that I ultimately went to university, got a first class degree and became a teacher.

And she hated me for it.

It's no one's business other than yours and your husbands. I think it's great. Just ignore them and good luck!

What course are you doing?

Scarfo Tue 30-Oct-12 09:43:26

Health and social care. I want to eventually work with young offenders. But there are so many options with this course, people have gone on to the police, prison service, to study nursing, psychology, social work all sorts.

I've met some lovely people on the course as well, my 'class' are all adults so it's fun as well.

Scarfo Tue 30-Oct-12 09:45:09

I initially thought people would be more supportive. My mother was mortified that I didn't stay on to do A levels and study medicine as she wanted me too. Dh family are all engineers and teachers, my family are in medicine or the police. I thought they would be pleased.

Ephiny Tue 30-Oct-12 09:45:36

It's none of their business, and you don't have to justify your choices to them. They sound very rude.

It sounds to me like you're doing a sensible thing FWIW.

MadBusLadyHauntsTheMetro Tue 30-Oct-12 09:48:39

So when did your PILs last have to find themselves a job from a standing start? People who haven't jobhunted at the bottom of any given field within the last three years just have no idea, quite honestly, I have noticed this myself. It's absolutely maddening, but there's no way you'll be able to convince them otherwise. You'll have to be the grown-up for them, and do "It is our decision, it is not up for discussion" like a broken record.

minibmw2010 Tue 30-Oct-12 09:51:41

It's easy to say but try your best to ignore them. If people really badger you and you need to respond, something along the lines of 'you're criticising me for trying to better mine and my family's future? Shame on you'.

Well done you, I'm very impressed with you (if that helps) grin

FolkGhoul Tue 30-Oct-12 09:52:11

Scarfo well that sounds fantastic. And it sounds like it could take you anywhere you want it too.

Sounds to me like they're just jealous or resentful for some reason. I can't think why your family are unsupportive if they're all educated professionals themselves. Seems a bit of a nonsense really.

I had a fantastic time at university. Studying is brilliant and not just for what you get out of it career wise in the end. It's fantastic in itself too. <gets all wistful and nostalgic>

MadBusLadyHauntsTheMetro Tue 30-Oct-12 09:52:51

x-post - that sort of explains it if your PiLs are in fairly high-up professional jobs themselves. It often seems to be these people who imagine that "just getting any job" is easy.

I think they must reason that because their own jobs are hard to get into, and they had to work hard and get qualifications to get into them, then lower jobs that don't require so many qualifications must be "easier" to get into.

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