Better the second time around


My elder nieceling came over for a brief visit before we popped over to the parentals for lunch together. These mini-visits are usually rambling talks about life and the future. Sometimes work, other times relationships and still others about school. Here we found ourselves and what led me to tell her that it is sometimes better the second time around.

The elder nieceling graduated from college several years ago. She owns a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. It is a mighty feat.

Originally, she aimed for the degree because of her experience working with local police. They have a program that involves high school students in both learning and some actual police ride-alongs.

Based on her exposure, she decided to be a police officer. Her police liaison from her high school days was ready to give her a recommendation.

Then, she changed her mind. For whatever reasons (those have never truly been nailed down), she decided to go back to school. This time, she is adding biology to her resume.

Her current goal appears to be either CSI (a wise combination of her previous degree) or something in biology. As with all students, a lot of stuff is appealing when you are not actually working in it.

But, all those concerns aside, the biggest cause of her consternation is whether she is in school too long.

Putting aside the whole doctor/lawyer thing, I am uniquely positioned to answer her questions. In fact, I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to support her.

Simply put, I had a degree once. Long ago, when we waited on the corner for the mastodons to bring us to school (remarkably docile, they just don’t like being painted orange).

That degree, in Advertising, was useless for anything other than getting me a job at a retail chain. After half a decade of that (and an unceremonious end), I went back to school and got another degree.

Fortunately, that one proved more fruitful, allowing me to now sit at home and do nothing more than occasionally blog, if I so choose.

My road to early retirement started with that second degree and total career change. At the age of 31. In my case, the working world was better the second time around.

The elder nieceling expects to receive her biology degree sometime around when she is about 30. In the meantime, she has always been working. Full time.

To say I’m impressed is an understatement. Proud Uncle, actually. And now she has moved into her own apartment with her boyfriend, managing the real challenges of life (bills!) and still progressing to her ultimate goal.

Is she unsure of herself? Yup. Does she have fears about finding a job or whether she should just go back to being a cop? Yup.

But, she is continuing onward. And she is getting really good grades. All while dealing with the brand new stresses of self-reliance and managing a relationship. More than I ever did, that’s for sure.

All I want to do…all I can do…is be there for support. Some success stories and some perspective. The rest is trying to make her realize she is already doing it all on her own. It’s wonderful to see.

I just have to occasionally remind her, since she doesn’t always see it herself. But, that’s what I do. I like to think it’s about all I am good for.

And that’s just fine with me. It’s a worthy role. And if my past can offer her any small amount of confidence, it is that, it can sometimes be better the second time around.

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