This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.
15 years ago, I graduated from a very prestigious, very expensive private college.
I had a dual major (broadcast journalism and policy studies), a great boyfriend (now husband and father of my BugChildren), a job lined up and a bright future ahead.
While I could have been Sam Seaborn, I ended up as Dana Whitaker instead, and happily went down the career path I’d dreamed about since I was a kid.
10 years ago, over on KatyWidrick.com, I talked about some of the lessons I’d learned in and since my college experience. In that post, I shared a few things that probably surprised those that know me and know how much I valued my time at Syracuse:
- Had I not been studying broadcast journalism, I don’t know that the massive investment I made and spent years paying off would have been worth it.
- The experiences and work performance I’ve had since diploma day have been much more important in shaping my success than the degree itself.
- I would not recommend the same private 4-year university experience that I had to everyone…or maybe most people.
With 5 more years of wisdom, here’s what I would add.
Life will put lots of challenges and obstacles in your path. Make it as easy as possible to overcome them. Chase joy. Enjoy every day of your life. And don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do.
If you’ve been following along this blog, you’ve seen me share some of our hopes, dreams and plans for our girls, and why we’ve committed to a pretty aggressive savings plan for them. If not, catch up with:
- The College Talk: Financial Planning
- Every Penny Counts
- Celebrate College Savings Day
- Class of…We Will See!
- Choosing to Let Them Choose
Those plans are always evolving, and as I get to know my girls and their distinct personalities, interests and skills, the more exited I am to be able to give them every opportunity to do what they love — no matter what (and where!) that is.
In fact, we’ve already started talking about it, in vague, preschooler appropriate ways. I ask Audrey if she thinks she’ll always want to live close to us, or perhaps travel the world…I ask her what she’d do all day if she didn’t have to go to school or do chores…and I tell her about fun and funny things that I learned when I was in “grown-up school,” even showing her old pictures of me in the dorms or on campus.
Every day, I wonder: am I doing a good job in giving her what she needs but not always what she wants? Does she understand and appreciate that she’s a lucky little girl, and will she use that knowledge to better the lives of others around her? How much of motherhood is about taking away pain and struggle and how much is letting them learn and build emotional scar tissue?
We’re a work in progress. And I’m sure you are as well.
That’s one of the reasons that I love working with Florida Prepaid, to get the word out about all of the financial planning opportunities and special programs that pop up during the year.
So, here’s a big announcement: May 29 is National 529 day and Florida Prepaid is celebrating by giving 10 Florida families $529 in a Florida 529 Savings Plan!
Here are the details:
- To enter, you can visit florida529savingsplanscholarship.com every day between now and June 11 and enter to win this scholarship giveaway (all of the details are available there).
- You do need to be a Florida resident, 18 or over.
- 10 winners will be selected and have $529 deposited into their Florida 529 Savings Plan account.
Just to keep some stats in mind: the average student debt of borrowers in Florida is almost $24,000, and over half of 2015 college graduates had student loan debt, according to the Institute for COllege Access & Success.
If you start a 529, there’s no application fee, no minimum contribution needed, you can open a plan at any time AND families may contribute as much and as often as they can or want to.
I hope you’ll take a moment and enter — because $529 goes a long way!