(Closed) SO going back to school for the long haul- others' similar experience?

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
9916 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Why is he waiting so long to start the program?  If that’s what he wants to do, he should go for it — if you think you’ll be okay financially while he does.  Will he be able to work?  How long is the program? 

Post # 5
35 posts
  • Wedding: October 2013



I can totally sympathize with your situation SO is in school right now! We met in university, I finsihed and started working and he completed his Masters. He worked for the university in research for 2 years and we finally had to have a talk about where we were heading professionally, because job/finances are so important to happiness.  He decided to go “back” to school to complete his PhD in physics – I say “back” because his job is pretty much the same except he takes classes and makes less money : )

The best advice I can offer is to be supportive no matter what. A few extra years of “student po’ness” is worth it if you two are both satisified in your job. Once he finishes school and starts his post-doc we’ve actually planned that I will be going back and upgrading my degree (either MBA, Public Admin Masters), if I am still not happy where I am jobpwise.

Planning a wedding with SO in school is a litttttle tricky, I took a 2nd job working 2 4-6 hour shifts a week on top of my regular job to bring in wedding money. It’s a sacrifice that my SO is thankful for, and in return he completes any assignments/reading when I’m at work so we can spend time together, and does all the cleaning so I don’t have to take care of it (laundry and all!). We’re VERY fortunate that my parents are helping us with the really expensive things because there isn’t a lot of money in our budget for frivolity!


I think it’ll be worth it, it has been for us so far. I think the big thing is talking it over before you go back and go in with a game-plan to make sure your relationship and finances are on solid footing! 

Post # 6
1540 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I don’t have the exact same situation, but I’m back in school and a bit younger. I have 25 and just entered a 4 year degree. I have 3.5 years left. SO has a job and makes okay money for our age, but it isn’t enough for both of us. We actually live in my Mom’s basement, which has it’s ups and downs. It has caused some issues of getting married- waiting till I graduate or during school? I’m for during! I work part-time, but it’s just enough to pay for school and a few expenses. Sometimes I feel like a big ol’ mooch!

Post # 7
4311 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@chillinchillin:  It’s not traditional college, but my husband just went back to school for clay modeling.  It’s a six month program two nights a week after he gets out of work (and he works 6 days a week).  I just tell myself it’s temporary, it’s what he wants to do, and it can only be profitable in the future.  School is never a bad thing IMO.  He’s 30.

I am also 30 and just started grad school last year.  I’m almost halfway done.  Though we’re already married, I totally feel like I am on the same path as you… not sure if I want kids still so I could see myself not trying until like 33..34.  (Uh don’t tell hubs that. haha)

Post # 9
4311 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@chillinchillin:  I am getting a master’s in human resources & labor relations.  I figured an MBA is a dime a dozen these days, so I went a little more specialized.  Besides, there’s a lot of gossip in HR 😉

Post # 10
5001 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I can sympathize, we’re in a similar boat! I’m finishing my PhD in a few months and my Fiance wants to get his MBA starting in Fall of 2014 as well. I will be in a post-doc position, probably making about $40K and he will hopefully have a decent job paying at least $60K, but we will by no means be financially secure with that. We don’t have any debt, but we also don’t have much in savings. We are getting married this year and hope to start TTC fairly soon after, so it’s quite likely we will have our first child while he’s in school and we won’t own a house yet. It kind of worries me too, but it will work out!! I’m such a planner, but my Fiance reminds me that we really can’t plan everything Smile

Post # 11
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@chillinchillin:  Hi there!  I don’t know anything about what it’s like to go to PT school, but I went back for a Master’s in Engineering and I started from scratch.  As in Calculus I.  I basically did half a bachelor’s worth of undergrad classes before I could even start my graduate work. 

I had a salaried job before I went back to school.  Sounds like your SO does too.  The key was to keep that job and stay working so that you don’t wrack up debt.  I was able to drop my hours between 25-35 when I was in school.  This way I could keep my health insurance and retirement stuff.  I also had a mortgage, so I refused to borrow money (student loans) to pay other borrowed money (mortgage).  So another reason why I kept working.

Financially speaking, I was doing just fine working 75% salary (this was like $25k income).  I used just a couple hundred $ a semester from my student loans to pay tuition.  My living expenses were from my income.  So if I did OK living on one reduced income, you guys on your income and probably some of his (I’m guessing he’ll keep working) are going to be fine.  Avoid debt as much as possible!

I was 30 when I signed up for that first Calc I class.  I just graduated this past May just before my 36th birthday!  FIVE freaking years! 

When I started this degree, my former marriage was on the outs.  I ended up going through a divorce after I started school.  Then 4 years ago, I met my H!  We lived separately however while dating for the next 2 years 10 months.  We each had our own homes (1 mile apart).  So I did it all – managed my house, kept up on yardwork, I had a dog, I worked, I went to school.  It was freaking hard, and looking back I cannot even fathom how I did that.  So nice to have my life back!

My mottos were:

1.  I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got (usually that meant I was short in time always)

2. 2012 is coming whether you like it or not, so do you want a degree?



I still have the same job from before I started school.  My roles have changed slightly to match my degree, but I’m at the same desk.  Waiting for my raise!

Post # 12
370 posts
Helper bee

Does he have a degree already? In what? I have started looking at programs, and I was told by a PT while I was doing observation hours that it would take me 3 years to do PT school, since I already have a degree. And some people worked while in the PT program, but others could not because they travelled in her school for clinicals.

So he may be able to work part time?

Post # 14
553 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My SO started his master’s at 29, finishing it up at 31. He went for his teaching degree. It’s been tough for sure. During his studies he was stressed out, and it took it’s toll on us. He doesn’t handle stress well though, probably one of the worst cases of it I’ve ever experienced, so I do think it’s a bit unusual. He’s also one of those types who can’t really be comforted or consolled during stressful situations, and I’m one of those types who likes to consol and comfort, so that was challenging for us. The worst part about it is he hates teaching now. He used to love it and did it for a while abroad, did some here in the states, but now that he’s in the public school system he’s just miserable. He also happens to teach 9th graders. The debt is a huge burden, also.

I think that in your case, since your SO is going into PT where the payoff is better than teaching, it will feel a bit better once he’s through the program. He’s going to be busy studying for sure, though. Also, that program is longer, right? The advice everyone else has given in terms of just being understanding and supportive is about all you can do. It’s totally worth it for you guys since you will make a comfortable living afterword. That light at the end of the tunnel will make it easier to get through. As far as being frugal in the mean time, just keep your heads down and remember that it’s a means to an end, not your forever situation. Spend wisely, don’t buy extra clothes you don’t need, don’t go out to eat all the time, and be sure to set aside a date night each week where he doesn’t study all evening and you two go out and enjoy a good meal and a movie.

Post # 16
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@chillinchillin:  My Fiance is finishing his electrical apprenticeship in 2 years, so he will be a journeyman electrician making a very good salary. After that, he would like to go into school for engineering….which is 4-5 years in university where he will be working hard. Who knows if he will have time and energy to do side jobs to help contribute? He can get great paying jobs during the summer, but we will have kids by then. His salary after he graduates will be stellar, but it will be a tough 4-5 years.

I make a great salary now, but it may not last forever. Once I have kids my salary will be cut in half because I’ll be working from home and can’t do the international travel that my job often requires. That means that we will be making 1/3rd of our household income for at least a few years while he is in school.

It’s going to be hard. I know it’s going to be hard for you too!

Here’s what we’re doing: 
1. selling our house
2. moving into a smaller house with lower expenses
3. building as much of a cash cushion as we can so that we have a ‘backup plan’ when he’s in school
4. finding ways to supplement our income (i.e. freelancing for me and maybe an etsy shop – side jobs for him)
5. budget like CRAZY! 

The topic ‘SO going back to school for the long haul- others' similar experience?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors