Serious Life-Long Help!!!

Decorating By lbain Updated 10 Jul 2008 , 11:44pm by saj_stuff

lbain Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:41pm
post #1 of 31

Sorry this is kinda long.... but its a serious matter.

I am only 19 and going to be a sophmore in the Engineering program at Texas A&M. I have always loved baking and in the paast year have made cakes for my friends and joined this site and I'm in love!!!

My mom and i have been arguing about how I would love to go to culinary school and open a business one day but she would like me to get a degree in engineering so i have a back-up plan!

I was in this understanding with this and my mom JUST told me this morning that if I really want to go to culinary school I should!!! I feel like I should be excited but I'm not..... icon_sad.gif

I'm more confused because I don't know if I really want to give up the school I love( and the BF I have loved for 4 years)? I don't know if I really want to do this? Do i want to turn my hobby into my career??

Any Advice??

30 replies
leepat Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:46pm
post #2 of 31

Do what you love. You love both so get your engineering degree since you are so close and keep decorating as a hobby for awhile. In your spare time study and go to decorating classes. If it becomes a passion trade in that engineering degree for culinary school. You have plenty of time. I did not become a full time baker until I was 55.

foxymomma521 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:54pm
post #3 of 31

I'm confused... why do you have to give up your BF?
Also... WARNING... I'm going to sound harsh here, but, aren't you the one who was offended at the canned frosting comment the other day? You said you still use canned frosting because you aren't comfortable making your own? If you are serious about culinary school maybe you should start by making things from scratch at home. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just saying to start at home before you switch college majors... thumbs_up.gif
You may love the creativity of decorating, but not the work of baking the cakes and making the icing, which I think culinary school is more geared to?

Lenette Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:54pm
post #4 of 31

Finish the degree first, you can go to culinary school after. There are even culinary schools that offer accelerated programs for people who already hold degrees.

If you really love cakes and baking it won't fade in a couple of years.

Please please trust me on this.

I don't know you personally but cakes can be a feast or famine business, it may not provide you with the lifestyle that you want. It takes a lot of cakes for a business owner to make $25,000-$30,000 a year for instance. Think later when you have children (if you want them) and your expenses go up and your time has to be balanced between family and cakes. The economy effects the purchase of "luxury" items as many of us are seeing now. Thanks to the Wal-mart mentality the general public thinks everything is cheap or should be. It is not an easy business to make a living at.

I am not wanting to discourage you. If you want it, go for it! But having something else that you are qualified to do goes a long way and can save heartache later. Just think, you can work that engineering job to get the money to start your cake business debt -free one day!

I wish you all the best! thumbs_up.gif

Mike1394 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:55pm
post #5 of 31

OK you might not want to hear the first part. My.02 the BF doesn't come into play. Your just way to young to let someone else figure into your life plans. When I say age, I'm not talking about the ability to think things through, and make the call. Your future should be your priority, and not hinge on someone else. I hope that came through clear. LOL.

As far as being an engineer, or a baker? Be an engineer. The food Network has romanticized the position. It's very popular to be in Culinary. The reason I say stay. You have a great oppurtunity right now sitting at your feet. Get your degree, heck you only have three more years. Get a job, make tons of cash. Save your pennies ALL OF THEM. by the time your 30 you'll have enough $$$$ to open your own bakery, debt free. If the dream is still there at that time it will force you to be a better Engineer.

OK that's enough old guy advice for the day. icon_biggrin.gif
Good Luck,
Mike

mushbug9 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:56pm
post #6 of 31

I agree, if you are enjoying what you are doing now, continue till the end, then see how you feel. You have plenty of time to go to culinary school if you want too. Don't do it becasue you feel you should ect. If you have reasons to stay where you are, stay. That being said, if you weren't happy in school now ect, I would be saying the exact opposite, but you sound like you know you are where you should be right now. Let it ride. Get in your practice in the meantime and make the real BIG decisions later when you are done school ect. Either degree would offer you a WORLD of possibilities so you have endless opportinity coming your way either way. Good Luck icon_smile.gif

Momof4luvscakes Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:57pm
post #7 of 31

You need to love what you do, I say finish your degree, and do cakes on the side to see if you really want to do this. It takes a lot of time and money to get a shop going. You could save while working in your field. I was a Dental Hygienist for years, and then with the birth of our last child, I started my home based bakery and it works well for me. I wish you the best in whatever you decide!

awolf24 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:58pm
post #8 of 31

I'm not really sure what to tell you other than I think you are very smart for considering this and taking this life choice seriously.

First of all, it sounds like you and your BF love each other and are committed but at such a young age, I know it may be hard to not go to the same school if you were planning to do so, but it will work out in the end and you will BOTH be happier in the end (not matter what your final decision is) if you pursue what will make you HAPPY as a career.

I'm only 31 but totally did not go to school for the "right" thing. I have a 2 bachelor's degrees - one in International Relations and one in Japanese. I now work as an Executive Assistant for the president of an architecture and engineering company - totally unrelated. If I could do college over, I would do so but hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

But as you said, you are not really sure which you prefer at this point. Could you maybe start the engineering program at A&M and maybe have a part time job in the culinary/pastry industry to really see if maybe it is your preference? Is there any type of culinary program at A&M? How long is the culinary program you are looking into? If your mom seems to be supportive of both, is there any way to kind of piggy back and do one program after the other?

I know these are kind of far-out-there suggestions but I think it might help you make your decision if you get more exposure to both fields.

Good luck! I know this isn't easy...

tbittner Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:59pm
post #9 of 31

I would start with the Engineering degree, you will be able to use it when it comes to cake design! Also, I know quite a few people who love baking and decide to go full into it only to become burned out in two years. Doing it every day is very different than ocassionally. Enjoy the baking for the joy of it now but get the degree first and then if it is still something you want to do after you graduate from Texas A&M go for it. It will still be there and you can practice on your classmates! (they will be very willing testers I'm sure!)
Best of Luck,
Tracy

CarolAnn Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 12:59pm
post #10 of 31

I agree with leepat. Stick with what you love and keep doing the decorating thing when you have time. It can be a great stress reliever. Sounds to me like you have a good situation now, and you're so young you have plenty time to change track if you want to. I'd stay with the degree in engineering since you've come this far.

KASCARLETT Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:03pm
post #11 of 31

I agree with everyone else - I would go to engineering school first to get that degree. After you are established in that job career, you can always attend culinary school later. Not attending culinary school now doesn't mean that you don't love baking! You can still bake, just think of it as pre-requisite for culinary school if you decide later to go that route. The experience will be wonderful!

Good luck in whatever you decide!

twooten173 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:03pm
post #12 of 31

Just my two cents. I work in an engineering type (telecommunications) field and it is very difficult because even in 2008 woman are still not viewed as equals in this field. You have to bust your butt to get the same respect that me walk in the door with. I am one of four woman in my company, the only black person, and the only female manager. Let's just say I had to show those guys that I have a big set of b@!!$ to get them to stop trying me.

Now I'm not telling you this to deter you from finishing college. You are only going into your second year of school so you haven't probably even come across the "you get no sleep" courses yet. I just want you to know what lies ahead of you in school and in life.

So I have to agree with leepat. Do what you love. Oh and you need to do what's best for you right now regardless of your BF. You don't want to make decisions that work for him and then 20 years from now look back and see you've given up your life for someone else and it wasn't worth it.

For the record, DH and I meet in college in '91 and have been together since - married for 10 years. Just don't want you thinking I'm against relationships or anything.

HTH

texa Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:13pm
post #13 of 31

Stay the course at A&M, and continue to enjoy hobbyist baking.

Cake decorating is fun and ever-so-soul-fulfulling when we stand back and look at a creation with which we're pleased, but turning a pleasurable hobby into a full-time, earn-money-to-eat job often does not turn out as one expects. Right now, you can pick and choose what you want to do with your "creative flair" and cakes. If you take this on as a profession, unless you make the ranks of the "cake superstars," you'll have a lot less control over what you end up having to do. The customers often dictate what they want, and you're just a means to an end.

And decorating is fun when you do it a few hours a week. Pardon the analogy, but it's a lot like sex -- great now and then, but 8 hours a day, 5 days a week? Or MORE? It takes a certain type of individual to be able to decorate cakes full-time and still get enjoyment out of it.

And last but not least, consider finances. While nothing in this ol' world is guaranteed, your ability to support yourself (or a family) is greatly increased with a college degree, no matter what field it may be in.

By the way, have you looked at architecture as a major? It's closely related to some fields of engineering, and has some similarities to cake decorating. icon_smile.gif Design, construction, decorative elements... Just sayin'! icon_smile.gif

And there's always time for culinary school later!!!

Good luck. icon_smile.gif

amysue99 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:21pm
post #14 of 31

Mike is right on - enjoy your time at TAMU (my family all bleed maroon!), get a great engineering job, save lots of money and open a bakery when you're ready to do it full time. You'll have several years of hobby experience, and maybe a small client base, and a very stable financial foundation.

Good luck!

michellesArt Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:21pm
post #15 of 31

i agree with everyone about finishing you degree-what i don't is that to start up your own caking business you don't have to go to school. you could work in the engineering field for a few years (3-5 say) save your pennies and open that store if you still have that passion! don't let that official piece of paper stand in your way. it would be smart however to practice, practice practice on you willing fellow classmates (cake is great for those all nighters) and maybe take some courses on the side after if that's what you still want. you don't always have to do things the traditional way jmo

-K8memphis Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:27pm
post #16 of 31

Your Mom is cool.
She's getting out of your way.
"Ok," she says, "Go, fly".

So go, and fly high.

-K8memphis Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:29pm
post #17 of 31

And your pathways are not mutually exclusive you can do both. Banks would be more likely to give a bakery loan to a degreed engineer. And being an engineer could finance your bakery. They would hand in hand, or calculator and spatula.

summernoelle Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:35pm
post #18 of 31

As another fellow Aggie, let me tell you, do what you heart is leading you to do.
I spent four (almost 5) years there persuing a BIMS major, hoping to get into Vet school. I was miserable! It never felt right. And I am still paying off the stupid student loans on it! I wish I had known I wanted to go to culinary school at your age. Let me also warn you that the classes in your particular major will only get more daunting.
I really think you need to follow your dreams. If it doesn't work out, you can go back to A&M to finish up.

282513 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:43pm
post #19 of 31

That is such a difficult decision!! Can you take a couple of Culinary electives for your undergrad while pursuing your degree? I would continue at least one more year in engineering and get a feel for what it takes to really put yourself out there baking. Try to have a "
I too am bit by the bug and want to do so much more. I am 33, I have an education degree but also have 4 small children. Oh how I'd love to be in your predicament!!!! Now I have to wait at least 5 more years!
If I could do it over I would go to culinary school so that I least I would be able to be a decent cook for my family! I can bake but for some reason my husband frowns upon cake for breakfast!! Keep us posted!!

CakeInfatuation Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:44pm
post #20 of 31

Before you make a decision to leave college and go to culinary school, why not take some courses at your local craft store in cake decorating. They are VERY affordable and you'll get a much better feel for where your heart is.

The nice thing about the classes is that they give you recipes that are easy to follow, you get a feel for making icing, cakes, and trying different styles. I've taken 3 Wilton courses and hung out on Cake Central. I have no culinary degree but I do love to cook and bake. My 5 year plan is to have a cake business out of my home but right now.. I'm just doing it for fun and learning all I can.

And as many on this site will tell you, you don't have to have a culinary degree to be a successful cake decorator. You have to be good at baking and decorating! I would think Engineering could really come in handy (depending on the focus) for building cakes and figuring out how to make them stable.

Oh... and if you have to have a job to help with college (summers and all) try a bakery! Don't make the switch till you are SURE! In the meantime, do what you can to learn more about the industry and get your feet wet.

Good Luck!

Doug Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:46pm
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by twooten173

Just my two cents. I work in an engineering type (telecommunications) field and it is very difficult because even in 2008 woman are still not viewed as equals in this field. You have to bust your butt to get the same respect that me walk in the door with. I am one of four woman in my company, the only black person, and the only female manager. Let's just say I had to show those guys that I have a big set of b@!!$ to get them to stop trying me.HTH




sorry to burst a bubble -- but even men, when a newbie male shows up will do the same to him. A guy has to prove himself to the other men too -- maybe not as overtly, or in ways that can be done very publicly (unfortunately all too many not appropriate for "polite" company), but there is that continuous pressure to measure up and prove one's self -- just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't happening. Granted -- men will make it hard for the woman -- after all she is one of "them" -- that breed that long ago was summarized in "women, can't live with them or with out them!" the old mars/venus thing and they do see as treading on their turf, just women get very hostile when men tread on their turf.

and don't anyone dare tell me women can't be every bit as cliquish, exclusionary, standoffish, critical, uppity, "prove it" as men.

also -- welcome to the modern world where respect for authority -- any authority -- is a fast disappearing trait. doesn't matter who you are it seems anymore, but if you are in a position of authority, the very growing prevailing attitude seems to be "i don't have to listen to you, get out of my face."

I've flat out had students tell me "My momma said, I don't have to listen to you because you're a white man!" -- now how's that for a sorry state of affairs?

as one how preaches the point that as long as we continue to focus on what makes us different, on every perceived or real slight/injustice, all we are doing is making the problem worse. We're just whining and not getting on with solving the problem.

One of the best principals I ever worked for was a woman who came into the HS as the first ever woman principal that school had ever had. Smart woman that she was, she did not throw her weight around, force the issue, come done w/ authority. Rather, she came in as the new principal with an attitude of "I'll do my job, you'll do yours and we'll both help the other do it better." An attitude of "I'm here to help make things better and easier to do" not "I'm here to tell you what to do."



----

now as to the the dilemma at hand.

Stay with the engineering -- after all depending upon type, it might even help w/ caking later on (armatures to hold up cakes)

Engineering = larger $ and just as long hours -- but those $ can be saved to pay for the very large startup costs of a baking business.

all the studies done by various groups show that the generations (x, y, and what ever the next ones are being called) will more than likely have multiple careers (most point to 2) in their life times.

You have a wonderful opportunity at T-A&M! a very well respected engineering program that by it's very nature, reputation and extensive alumni network is going open doors for you that other engineer programs can't.

use the cakes as the pressure release valve for now, and get that engineering degree.

(and a big ditto to the media has glamorized the world of the pastry chef -- corollary: how Branjalena, Cruise, -- the big stars -- glamorize the world of acting, when truth be told over 90% of all actors do NOT make their living at acting and the stars represent less than 1/10 of 1% of all actors -- maxim in world of entertainment -- techies eat while actors starve. get the degree (techie).)

thechicbaker Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:52pm
post #22 of 31

Definitely definitely DEFINITELY finish school! While an engineering degree is quite demanding (my husband is an engineer), it is a great one to have. My husband started his own real estate development business, and just having a BSME alone has propelled him through all of the funding/investor issues a lot more easily than others we know who have gone into business for themselves with a less prestigious/impressive background.
Plus, the Aggie network is a strong one, and being a part of a tight knit alumni organization really does help later on in whatever career you choose. My husband and I both went to Texas, and because of those ties we have both been blessed with many different opportunities that probably wouldn't otherwise have presented themselves.
Good luck!

fbaaheth Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:54pm
post #23 of 31

Take it from me. I wasted my early years playing around in college, so I stopped, did the family thing and decided (when I was 30) I wanted my college degree. I graduated on the deans list in Mechanical Engineering 2004. It wasn't easy but what kept me happy and sane was baking and decorating for friends and family. Now I and an Engineer for a Fortune 500 company and still love to bake. In this industry EVERYONE has a second so called job or hobby. Finish your degree and bake as a hobby or second job. I do it and it's so much fun showing off my creations to co-workers. Plus engineering gives you an extra edge in creativity with your cakes.With the $$$$ I'm making I'll have my own shop(very small and intimate) in a year or two and maybe still work too.Who knows it may be an engineer who designs the ultimate moving or mechanical cake. I'm 37 now and I love my life (3 kids and a Husband of 15 years). You can do it all just give it time.

Good Luck!!!

lbain Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 1:57pm
post #24 of 31

I just want to say thanks soooo much for all of your advice!!!! I really take all of your comments to heart and I think i have made the decision to stay where i am because i can earn more money saving for a bakery thank if I had a culinary degree.

foxymamma521- I was the one that still uses canned frosting....the reason i don't is because my mom hates for me to use the kitchen for my cakes and if I was doing everything from scratch it would make even more of a mess but when i go back to my apartment at school I plan on trying it!

twooten173-I'm aware of the ratio of male:female in engineering but the particular department im going into is more women.

amysue99, summerncelle- GIG EM!!!!!

k8memphis- i love you calculator/spatula analogy haha

Thanks again to everyone!!!!

-Lauren

CocoaBlondie Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 2:25pm
post #25 of 31

If I were you, I would finish school. Having your degree is always something you will have if you need it to fall back on. I finished all my schooling for my degree, work full-time for a many of years. Now that I'm married w/ children I have time to be with my family, & fulfill my int-rest. That's when cake became my hobby. I like having the best of both worlds. Patience it all comes with time. thumbs_up.gif

twooten173 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 3:10pm
post #26 of 31

WOW Doug where did all that come from? icon_confused.gif

I think everyone has to prove themselves. Unfortunately, woman have to do it more - or at least more publicly. You pointed that out.

I never said woman aren't cliquish, exclusionary, etc. They very well may be but I've always worked in and been educated in a predominately male setting. The one time I worked with more woman than men (as a teacher BTW) I was the new hire and everyone bent over backwards to help me. I'm not niave enough to believe it's like that everywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

...as one how preaches the point that as long as we continue to focus on what makes us different, on every perceived or real slight/injustice, all we are doing is making the problem worse. We're just whining and not getting on with solving the problem...




I agree. I'm sorry if I came off as whining and seeming like I was focusing on my perceived injustices. I wanted to let her know what she might encounter so that she could prepare for it.

I actually came in with the attitude of your principal. Unfortunately, I work with a bunch of men - most of them have kids around my age - who couldn't get their heads around working for a woman, much less a young one. It pissed them off that I was on their turf and they let me know very publicly. So after repeatedly trying to work with them, I did have to remind them they work for me. Funny how my male co-worker who started at the same time I did didn't have that same struggle! icon_confused.gif BTW - he's a year older than I am.

If I offended you, I am sorry. I still believe my statement is accurate.

Edited to add: I'm all for more woman in math and science fields. thumbs_up.gif We will do it right the first time icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_wink.gif

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 3:35pm
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lbain

I just want to say thanks soooo much for all of your advice!!!! I really take all of your comments to heart and I think i have made the decision to stay where i am because i can earn more money saving for a bakery thank if I had a culinary degree.

foxymamma521- I was the one that still uses canned frosting....the reason i don't is because my mom hates for me to use the kitchen for my cakes and if I was doing everything from scratch it would make even more of a mess but when i go back to my apartment at school I plan on trying it!

twooten173-I'm aware of the ratio of male:female in engineering but the particular department im going into is more women.

amysue99, summerncelle- GIG EM!!!!!

k8memphis- i love you calculator/spatula analogy haha

Thanks again to everyone!!!!

-Lauren




Lauren, personally I'm glad to hear that you've made this decision and I know this probably isn't necessary, but thought you might find it somewhat insightful. I've posted it before and I believe it's a good reminder of what's going on in the food-related industry. Something that everyone who's planning on going to culinary school should consider.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2003534148_chefs21.html

HTH somebody. Wishing you luck on obtaining your engineering degree! Go get 'em, Girl!

twooten173 Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 3:49pm
post #28 of 31

Thanks for the ariticle. I can't even imagine owing $847/month for shcool AND not having a job in that field.

lbain, I take classes occassionally (sp) at the local culinary school. They are only $65 per class and are in the evenings. I doesn't interfer with work so I really like it and they are very informative.

lbain Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 4:36pm
post #29 of 31

sugar_plum_fairy...thanks so much for that article!!

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 10 Jul 2008 , 4:51pm
post #30 of 31

Twooten and lbain, you're both welcome. I thought it was very enlightening and I bookmarked it. As much as I would love to go to culinary school, I know I really can't afford it, especially when I have three children that I will have to help put through college. icon_rolleyes.gif

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