Wednesday, January 13, 2010

chop chop

Here’s a timely piece on culinary school (I start tomorrow night). What’s difficult to gauge, using my own hopes, is how hard it must be to pay for an education of any sort knowing that your job opportunities are limited, financially. As pointed out, there are loads of careers where you can just as easily work your way up through skill and practice but oftentimes that might entail starting even lower on the pay scale and spending years trying to get in the door. Of course, the paper doesn’t necessarily get you in any door, either, and that was made pretty clear at my orientation last week.

The massive difference for me is that I’m taking this on as a combination of my interests and a good dose of hope for down the road. I’m not paying anything for the time I’ll be spending learning the basic skills (which I don’t actually have right now) and my living expenses are covered as I continue to work in my career field. If I decide to give the food world a go in three years' time I won’t owe anyone anything, I’ll have my retirement pay and health insurance, and I can probably take a few steps without being overwhelmed. Those that are attending the full-time day program (I’ll be full-time nights) are going to be those who aren’t working and taking loans in order to pay for school and living expenses over the next three years. Coming out of a degree program with $60K in debt and falling into a world that pays you $25K per year is demented. When you break it down, what should be the norm – something like 12-15 months and <$10K in cost – would make much more sense. My friend, Todd, went to accelerated nursing school for 15 months and it ran about $25K – to be a nurse and to save lives. And here we’re talking about food and cooking? Hmm.

Regardless, my voyage begins and I’ve got a much more relaxed road ahead of me than most students – aside from not being home to cook three nights a week. If it goes pear shaped? The world will keep turning and I’ll still have money sitting around for other education, if I choose.

That's that. L. arrive tomorrow evening.

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