simplicity homework- a journal

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George the original one
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by George the original one » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:10 pm

>Why can't he just get good enough grades and not have to re-take required courses

As someone who managed a 0.0 GPA one term and yet did manage to graduate from college, perhaps he is in the wrong major and not finding his strengths. Other than getting kicked out of one college for academic deficiency, I can't really say what guided me to complete a different degree other than I was determined to complete a degree that would provide an employment path. Had a couple friends who also went a similar route. We just had to find our place.

RealPerson
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by RealPerson » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:07 am

shade-tree wrote: -My son's college grades. Why can't he just get good enough grades and not have to re-take required courses that cost us many extra $$? And why doesn't giving a long lecture to a 20-year-old about how he should do more homework and less *____ (fill in blank with appropriate time-wasting thing) seem to have the desired effect of improving his grades?!
Funny you mention this. We have the same problem. We are taking a break from paying for college because with his grades the degree - if he ever gets one - will not be worth very much. Time for a time out. We are paying for college and I am tired of wasting our money. College is waaay to expensive to blow money on it.

shade-tree
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:56 pm

George the original one wrote:"As someone who managed a 0.0 GPA one term and yet did manage to graduate from college..."

This made me laugh, and your point about finding one's talent is quite true. My son started college as pre-engineering, which he learned fairly soon was not for him. He's still in a science degree, and has some choice about which courses to take within that degree, but is clinging to this "physics emphasis" option. And though he's certainly better than the average American at math and physics, these tougher classes are the ones he's having a time with. So it's not like he's failing EVERYTHING, or not trying at all. But I think it's also telling that his best grades so far were in courses in the humanities!
Last edited by shade-tree on Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

shade-tree
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:12 pm

Now this caught my attention!
RealPerson wrote: -We are taking a break from paying for college because with his grades the degree - if he ever gets one - will not be worth very much. Time for a time out. We are paying for college and I am tired of wasting our money. College is waaay to expensive to blow money on it.
I think it's a tough balance to know whether to make them power through that degree, or take a break. We as adults know first hand the price of not having a useful degree or set of skills, and the four year college degree is sold as the gold standard. But then, if the young person is just not receptive to college, or is getting a degree that is not marketable, and we or the student is accumulating debt to do that, then it makes much more sense to take a break, work for a while. Having worked at a community college, I've seen a lot of students churning their wheels and not getting anywhere because they don't know what to do but being in school is at least something. Though I've also seen great, less tangible measures of success, like confidence and a wider perspective in people whose lives previously had been rather limited.

Peanut
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by Peanut » Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:13 pm

shade-tree wrote:
George the original one wrote:"As someone who managed a 0.0 GPA one term and yet did manage to graduate from college..."

This made me laugh, and your point about finding one's talent is quite true. My son started college as pre-engineering, which he learned fairly soon was not for him. He's still in a science degree, and has some choice about which courses to take within that degree, but is clinging to this "physics emphasis" option. And though he's certainly better than the average American at math and physics, these tougher classes are the ones he's having a time with. So it's not like he's failing EVERYTHING, or not trying at all. But I think it's also telling that his best grades so far were in courses in the humanities!
Hi there, when you say you son has to retake courses, do you mean he is actually getting D's and F's? In a related vein, do you know if he is really busting his ass in these courses or not really giving it his all? Science courses are harder than humanities courses for most people, and it's ok to struggle some. To succeed in science one either has to have some real aptitude for it or a truly superior work ethic, and preferably both. For a parent, the latter is easier to fix than the former, since you probably have some financial and emotional levers you can pull.

Unfortunately it's pretty true that the average American is terrible at math and physics. In fact science professors lament the scarcity of good American candidates for graduate spots at our universities (why you find so many international students taking them). If your son can manage a B average and above he will presumably have many doors open to him. Good luck to both of you.

George the original one
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by George the original one » Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:29 pm

> To succeed in science one either has to have some real aptitude for it or a truly superior work ethic, and preferably both.

I think it's not just the aptitude and work ethic, but also whether the subject is being presented in a manner that's useful for the learner. Some people aren't satisfied with book-learning and need more hands-on. Others consider the hands-on to be too messy. Dry instructors that can't put some life into the material because they're having a mid-life crisis after 20-30 years of teaching the same courses don't help. Students that are merely taking the class because it is on the curriculum rather than having an interest in the subject can be a distraction in class. Some students need more attention than they're getting in a large university and other students need to play in the biggest pond they can find.

shade-tree
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:22 pm

@peanut
Thanks for your comments.

His university requires students to get a 2.0 or better in courses required for the major. Also, this is the minimum prerequisite for taking the next course in the series. (for example, taking Math 125 requires a 2.0 in math 124.) He has a few sub-2.0, so not totally flunking, but these still need to be re-taken to be of any use.

To answer your question about ass-busting vs. half-assing it, I think he's somewhere in between, and this is largely a function of his stage of development. We can see that there are precociously mature young 20-somethings here on the ERE forums who have figured out how hard you have to work and how to forgo comfort in the moment for some kind of payoff further in the future. But I don't think my kid is quite there yet, but feel pretty confident he will be someday.

I didn't intend to open a can of worms about US students. I think that by the numbers, that Americans aren't accomplishing overall in STEM subjects has more to do with our diverse population, commitment to educating everyone and attitude toward "enjoying life" as a priority than a failure of the American educational system, but that's a whole other topic! My son's university has 14% international students, and I think the largest portion are Chinese, so he's in classes with kids from some of the Math and Science superpowers without even leaving the state!

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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by jacob » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Peanut wrote:Science courses are harder than humanities courses for most people, and it's ok to struggle some. To succeed in science one either has to have some real aptitude for it or a truly superior work ethic, and preferably both.
In many ways, a hard science degree is like a 3-4 year long test battery of one's ability to solve short closed-end problems that get progressively harder. Much like an IQ test. It's quite different from the liberal arts which where questions are more open ended and solutions aren't singular in nature.

Based on conversations and anecdotes from the trenches (professors, grad students, IQ research) some rules of thumb are:
* Time can substitute for intelligence to some degree (intelligence is a lever on time).
* However, there's only 24 hours in the day, so at some point you'll run out of time to study.
* Therefore, given the level of difficulty and the 24hr/day limit, the minimum IQ required to achieve a worthwhile(*) BSc in physics is around 115-120 points when assuming a superior work ethic.

(*) Meaning finished in a decent/nominated time ... not a 9 year long slog.

shade-tree
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:54 pm

@ jacob This is great advice, and comes on the heels of my son deciding maybe to change his major just a little in light of the number of hours in a day...

And I wish I could have a set of steps (an algorithm?) like this to quantify and decide with some certainty every life decision! If someone could write an app for that I'd buy it, or at least download a free version.

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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by jacob » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:09 pm

For what it's worth, anecdotally, again, we also had a very unofficial and fairly opinionated ranking of which fields were the "hardest". This list was based almost exclusively on the intellectual complexity of the field. Not how much time one needed to study, or how much reading or memorization was required, or how hard the class was to pass but on how hard the concepts were to grasp in the first place.

Based on people switching majors and minors, it was generally observed that a transitive property existed e.g. if A is harder than B and B is harder than C, then A is also harder that C---at least as far as the sciences are concerned. Thus people having a hard time in A generally benefited from switching to an "easier" field like C. For example, I wish I had switched from mathematics to computer science. Conversely, people who were good at A would generally excel at C.

The mileage-will-vary list in more or less order of "intellectual complexity of the concepts": mathematics, physics, chemistry, statistics, engineering, astronomy, computer science, biochemistry, geology, biology.

(The list makes sense because almost all of these derive their complexity from the mathematical complexity required (e.g. a biologist need less complex math than a particle physicist)... or the complexity of the physical theories required (a civil engineer needs classical mechanics but not quantum mechanics) which again derives from the math.)

Keep in mind that as complexity goes down, other factors become more important. For example, medicine is not overly complex but it requires a mind-numbing amount of memorization.

shade-tree
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:57 pm

Oh boy...This ranking seems like it might cause disagreement or dismay for those who got degrees in something lower on the complexity scale! But then, as someone who was English major, maybe I am over-analyzing--it's a skill I honed when writing for ten pages about short stories that were only two pages long. :-)

shade-tree
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simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:16 pm

I've completed a week at the new job. The people in my group are fantastic, and I'm excited about what I will be doing and learning about BUT the organization is in a state of, what can I call it... disequilibrium? The organization merged with/was bought out by a larger organization a couple of years back, and though there are many functions that will grow and thrive under this structure, I'm learning that the process of gutting and eliminating the redundancies of support services is still ongoing. IT was eliminated and outsourced fairly quickly, after the merge. I learned on day one that the local HR dept is being eliminated and consolidated (laying off almost everyone) at the end of the year. Also, the person who would have been my supervisor left the company during the brief time period between my interview and my first day of work. As I write this I am getting more mad that I wasn't told any of this stuff during the interview process. I certainly knew about the buy-out, but didn't realize they're still eliminating positions. I have no idea what's in store for me but would be naive not to assume that everyone in this building-- me included-- is going to be laid off. However, as I said above, I'll be getting great experience, and better pay, so If I get laid off in a few months, I'll have better skills than I had before I leaped from the frying pan into the fire.

From a spending point of view, there is a sunny side of this tentative job situation. Worrying that I might be without income in a short time has curbed my desire to spend. I mean, in the time between leaving the old job and starting the new one (three days!) I felt so flush with the money that would be coming in that I bought a new mid-price toaster, and two pairs of brand new office-lady pants, and drank a bunch of wine. Impending financial doom means that THIS weekend, I'm likely to keep my credit card where it belongs-- in my wallet!

shade-tree
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simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:32 pm

Job update: time passes quickly when you’re working 40 hours a week. I’m enjoying my job so much, except for the getting up early and ironing my clothes part. I have great co-workers, a lot of autonomy and variety, and when I go home, I don’t have any papers to grade. I realize I’m feeling much happier than I was in that half-time job I was doing before.

Still spending too much on groceries and beer. I'll post about that at the end of the month.

Today I want to talk about something else: Real estate investing.

Back story: My parents (dad) worked reaaalllly hard, scraping for an initial down payment, fixing toilets and replacing roofs on evenings and weekends after working a full time job to amass a decent real estate portfolio with a couple dozen units. During my growing up, I had an opportunity to do a lot of work on these investments, so I know the hard work and how-to ability it requires, and as a result never invested in real estate. I have wavered at times, thinking I should, but DH has been firm in not wanting to take on this kind of work, thank goodness.

But now, Dad is getting older, wants to cut back on the work and wants to downsize and relax a little. He retired from full time work a while back, but puts in a full time schedule on collecting rent, and on repairing and turning over rentals when tenants move out. He has devised several different proposals to get my siblings and me involved in this business. A couple of years ago, he offered to let each of us manage a property for a 5% fee, and would mentor us as thorny issues arose. At the time, I was job searching, and stressed about life, and the reward (about $50/month) was not worth my time and gas, so I declined. Now, last week, he’s come up with another plan, a mange-to-own scenario, in which he’d ask each us to pay him a monthly mortgage amount on our own property. There are three on the same street of equivalent value. We’d keep any rent we collect. For the first five years, he’d kick in $5,000 toward principal, then at five years, we could decide whether to keep on paying on contract, cash him out or abandon the deal. note: I’d guess none of these properties rents for above $1,000 per month.

As mentioned in other postings, I am a nice person, who wants to do what’s helpful to others. So, if this helps my parents, great. But conversely, I just want no part of real estate ownership, regardless of how much he would like to pass along his knowledge. I also don’t like being coerced, and this feels a bit like that. He worries that if he doesn’t micro-manage the succession of these properties to us, my siblings and I will squabble over it when they are gone. This might be true, but he won’t be there to see it anyway!

Sorry for the long story, but do you have any advice? I know that real estate that isn’t my primary residence is a true asset-- earns money for me-- but doesn’t a well-rounded portfolio of stocks earn about the same while one is spending vacation relaxing rather than repairing a rental? Am I missing something that I should consider?

shade-tree
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simplicity homework- a journal: guilt and other lady problems

Post by shade-tree » Mon Sep 21, 2015 3:21 pm

It is a Monday afternoon, and I am at home.
Such a strange morning. I decided that I really need to exercise in the morning, so I can 1. be fully awake upon arriving at work, (rather than feeling sleepy and useless for an hour), and 2. so I can be awesomely fit and trim. So, I set my alarm for 5 am. I woke to the alarm after tossing and turning half the night, decided to wimp out, reset alarm to 6, then lay there feeling guilty, so I got up at 5:15 and ran for two miles in the dark. It was lovely, lots of stars, only a few creepy noises. Got ready for work, and around time I ate my granola started feeling that terrible lady-problem: cramps. I took three OTC Ibubprofen and hoped they’d kick in while I drove. No go. By the time I was at work, I was in PAIN, nauseous, looking green, sweating profusely. I walked slowly to my supervisor’s desk to tell her I was leaving because It seemed less complicated than trying to figure out how to find her number in my phone. Before hitting the road to return home, I took an Ibuprofen 800 I’d brought in case of emergency and drove home. I lay down for a few hours and eventually felt better. Other than feeling groggy from taking all the IB, I am sort of back to normal now, four hours later.

I now feel like maybe I should go back to work, but it’s 40 minutes away, I’ll need to shower first, and talk to other humans once I am there. By the time I get there, it will be most of the way through the work day. I could work here-- check email, but all I will be doing is writing excuses about not being able to help because I don’t have remote access to what I need. Oy, I feel such guilt! I took off early one day last week because of a lull in having enough to do, combined with a headache. So I feel as though my co-workers are going to think me unreliable to miss work seven weeks into my time here. I am generally very healthy and reliable, only having missed two days during my last job over ten years of part time teaching.

I think this exposes a problem with full time, 40 hour work. sometimes we can work a long week, no problem, other times,we don’t feel great, or have life events to deal with, (for example, I was going to ask to take the day off to drive my son to college on Friday, but now probably shouldn't miss more work). You don't have a time buffer like I did when working part time. I guess that’s what paid sick time is for. I like the full time pay it still seems like it’s impossible to be a perfect, full-time working person.

shade-tree
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:32 pm

Happy November! Haven’t written in a while. Just haven't felt like getting on the computer in my off time after spending all day at it the rest of the time, I suppose.

Yesterday, I took a Sunday nap on the couch and heard my DH opening and closing drawers in our room. He came upstairs with a stack of 25 t-shirts for the giveaway-to-charity box. He said, “One step closer to moving to that tiny house.” I felt so proud! I have also gotten rid of some bigger (both physically, and emotionally challenging to part with) items, like a nice Yamaha keyboard that was sold for a song to a poor musician who was so happy with it, I wished I had more instruments to give him.

I do find myself struggling to stay on the path of frugalism when busy. I go to the grocery store way too often. Usually I do so on the way home from work to buy something we are legitimately out of, but leave with other less essential items. I am sick of my clothes and find I am comparing myself to other well-dressed work ladies, and only my hatred of malls and of trying on clothes in a store has prevented me from buying more clothing. I am also thinking of buying a really expensive pair of leather boots, but I think this would be a good investment. Hopefully these would be ones that will last many, many years.

On the topic of motivation and , it seems that for me, early retirement feels like a dream, but totally unattainable or unrealistic, so it’s hard to stay focused on it. Other benefits like being environmentally friendly can be attained through frugality, and that’s a great help and motivation for me. I can look at some plasticky thing I might purchase (for example a fundraising catalog with some cute things came around the office), and though I can afford it, I think about where that thing will be in 5 years. If it’s likely to be the landfill, I can easily say no. (Hmmm.This might be why I have a hard time passing up purchasing consumables like groceries, they just go in my tummy!)

I joined the gym, which has been a super thing. It’s an expense, for sure, but a useful one. I’ve been going in the morning and end up feeling excellent all day, especially when I get home and don’t have to worry about going for an evening walk or run before dark while managing to get dinner started. (I am always starving, so have to eat dinner as soon as possible).

DH and I have nearly got the house paid off. Only about $26K to go. Also, each of us will be able to put the maximum $18K into our 401ks next year, but could certainly save more than that with the mortgage gone. I have a hard time figuring out where to save and invest outside the 401k. For example, there are brokerage accounts, like Capital One where I have a checking account has one easily opened. But it costs a certain amount per trade, like $7 or $10. How does a person avoid those fees eating up all the earnings? And no real estate investing. Yuck.

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sea
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by sea » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:46 pm

shade-tree wrote: In general, it looks like the insurance plans in my state have OOP maximums similar to our current insurance plan. Maybe a low-low income would make us eligible for it, but I'm leery of the Medicaid expansion (low income) option for our situation. I have this perception that some providers don't want to accept patients with Medicaid, or that there are long waits for providers who do. But maybe this is just insurance company propaganda? Clearly more research is required! I appreciate being held accountable to report back.
Just curious because open enrollment started what you had found out about insurance. Do you have insurance through your new job? I was going to say that if not, sometimes the off-exchange rates are better than the on-exchange ones because insurers are still worried about the new risk pool and a myriad of other unknowns and have upped the on-exchange premiums next year. If you qualify for a subsidy, the exchange is probably a better fit. Medicaid really varies wildly by state, but does have a more limited network and waiting lists for some services (e.g. dental and psychiatry) because the reimbursement is so low compared to commercial insurance.

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sea
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by sea » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:49 pm

And congrats on almost having a paid-off house. That's awesome.

shade-tree
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by shade-tree » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:30 am

@sea, thanks for the comment. Sorry to say I don't have much to tell about insurance rates. Since both DH and I are solidly covered through workplace plans, I haven't had to look into my state's plan.
I do notice that there are shifts in service delivery because of the ACA. For example, my friend's primary care provider is leaving the big corporate health clinic and starting a family doctor, subscription type thing. It might be he's sick of grinding out 4000 patients a year, or maybe sees an opportunity to try something else, since many people will be be on high deductible- type plans with a bucket of money to shop around for good prices.

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sea
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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by sea » Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:50 pm

@shade-tree. Ah, well, it's so much easier to be covered by work. We just found out that our coverage may be cut since it's a "Cadillac insurance plan" because of the 40% tax that may come into play.

The subscription plan model is interesting along with some of the healthcare coops (not the insurance plans) but the alternative community-based medical bill sharing ones. A lot of them are religious in nature like Medi-Share. I'm mostly curious what things are like in other states and what my options are once I FI. :)

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Re: simplicity homework- a journal

Post by wheatstate » Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:19 pm

@sea Excellent thought about Heath Coops. I have the same questions as @shade-tree about health insurance after corporate employment. I just created a separate thread to discuss this. I don't want to hijack your journal. I am also very interested in these coop's

Thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7068

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_ca ... g_ministry

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