Last week I attended a lecture that discussed some of the major factors that determine whether young women in Utah attend and complete college. The study focuses on young women in Utah due to a recent trend which places graduation rates for Utah women below the national average. Many of the most significant factors came down to the people who are in a young woman's life, and what they say about her potential for education.
And it got me thinking about the various people who influenced my decision to continue with higher education. When I was growing up, my mother always told me that it wasn't enough to get a Bachelor's degree (which is what she had at the time), but that as part of a younger generation I'd need to get a Master's degree too. So I always intended to go to college and grad school - and I don't think any of my teachers ever questioned whether I intended to go to college and at least get a BA. And even when I dated a very conservative boy who was distraught by my determination to go to grad school, I had no problem standing my ground, even when my educational goals factored into our break up. But it wasn't until a college professor rather forcefully encouraged me to pursue a PhD that I really considered that path.
So, I suppose other people have factored into my educational goals quite a bit.
How about you? Who influenced your educational goals, either for good or for bad?
I'd also find it interesting if commenters wouldn't mind sharing their gender, as gender may very well factor into your answers.