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Tell me about your kids who aren’t (or didn’t) going to college-


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Dd, 17 struggles with everything academic due to learning disabilities and ability. She is currently a ps senior also attending vo tech for Early Childhood education. She’s working on her CDA through vo tech.
She would like to teach preschool or possibly do something else in the Human Services field (she’s very interested in psychology or counseling but won’t pursue a BA/MS anytime soon- that may be out of her reach, academically). She’s amazing with kids and her dream job is year round camp counselor, lol.

She will probably take some classes in education & human services at the CC after graduation to see how that goes but she’ll need to be a very part time student. She does want to do that. But may not get through the math requirement.

It’s highly likely she will find a job at a daycare or preschool (I have local connections after years of working in many as a preschool special Ed teacher). She knows the pay is minimum wage Without health insurance and we fully expect to support her for years to come. 
 

In this season of “all the seniors are applying to college”, I could just use some stories about the kids who are not or did not take that route.

thanks!

@Lori D. I think there was a thread like this a few years ago but I can’t find it. Any chance you could work your search magic for me? I’d really appreciate it 🙂

Edited by Hilltopmom
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Saluting! 😄 

Your DD might try adding some tangential things to her skill set that could be additional part time work to help add to the unfortunately low salary (undeservedly low) that goes with child care and child education.

A few ideas:
- children's sports or activities coach
- child party entertainer
- child portrait photographer
- Parks & Rec children's classes worker or after school "kid co" child care with recreational activities
- cosmetologist, specializing in children's hair cutting/styling
- private nanny
 

Just to encourage you:
Our DS#2 was similar (including mild LDs). He did attend the community college (CC) after high school, working towards a 3-year AAS in Interpretation for the Deaf, but realized after getting 2 years into the 3-year program that he didn't want to do that as a career. He left the CC, worked full time at food service, and when it wasn't panning out (they weren't moving him up into the management training as they had said they would, despite his hoop-jumping and hard work), he left, and did a 9-month commitment with AmeriCorps. It was in a trail conservation partner-program. In that program, he got chainsaw certified, and the following year, he applied for/got accepted into the Forest Service's wildland fire-fighting branch, and is just now finishing up his 4th season. His best friend also left college after a year, worked full time for 2 years, and has just finished up the first year of his electrician apprenticeship, and he's thrilled. 

My moral: college is not for everyone, and there are many great career paths out there that don't require a 4-year degree.

And below are links to past threads on this topic -- all of these are linked on PAGE 6 of the big pinned thread "College Motherlode" at the top of the WTM college board, under the heading of "Alternatives to College" (along with threads on the topics of: "Military", "Gap Year", and "Career Exploration/Testing"). Hope something there is of help and encouragement! Warmest regards, Lori D.

ALTERNATIVES TO COLLEGE

Overview discussions
Alternative college options
What do you do if dear child’s standardized test scores are *tragic* (sympathy + suggestions for alternatives to 4-year college)
Help me brainstorm potential non-four-year college marketable skills
Helping children choose college/career major (discussion about changed nature of college and the working world)
An epiphany about college attendance (students not able/interested pushed into attending college)

Non-college bound
Cross-post: High school for the non-college-bound (what's essential? what to skip?)
If your children finished high school but didn't go to college: what did they do instead? 
Non-college bound students 
Mom diploma good enough for non-college-bound student? 
Links to Websites for non-college-bound high schoolers?
Trade-bound vs. college-bound 
Resources for high schoolers going straight into jobs? (no college first)
Careers that don't require college 
NOT planning for college (options? how would that change high school?) 

Skilled trades / technical school or Associate Degree
Pros and cons of getting an Associate's Degree 
College dreams vs. technical school reality: trying to reconcile my edu-snobbery
Stories and statistics about Blue Collar homeschoolers
Scholarships for skilled trades
Mike Rowe and trades
Companies offering training for entry-level jobs 


Also, people with younger high school students who are not college-bound and/or have LDs and academic struggles and so are looking towards future jobs that don't require a 4-year degree might like Cindy LaJoy's (a WTM poster!) website of Blue Collar Homeschool.

And, a few final threads, although a number of the students did end up going to college, are on PAGE 1 of the big pinned thread "High School Motherlode #1" at the top of the WTM high school board, under the heading of "Expectations/Attitudes":


"Just Average"
Does anyone on this board have a NON-superstar high school student?

High school AS high school 
Anyone just doing average work in high school? 
s/o “average” work in high school: when did you know that’s how it would be?
I want to share some very average PSAT scores
Launching an average kid 
I get so depressed reading some posts on this board (anyone else NOT have over-achievers?) 
I need former slacker teen success stories today

Edited by Lori D.
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Also... kind of an odd suggestion, BUT, it would be one where you do informal counseling and provide emotional support is a licensed funereal director or service manager. Looks like at most that position needs an Associate degree, and can earn upwards of $50,000 a year, BUT, it is a declining occupation.

Also, some faster-than-average growing fields with good pay requiring only an Associate degree, where good people skills would be helpful:
- dental hygienist
- occupational therapy tech or assistant

Edited by Lori D.
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2 hours ago, Hilltopmom said:

In this season of “all the seniors are applying to college”, I could just use some stories about the kids who are not or did not take that route.

 

DS24 did not attend college. He may have gone to the local community college if we had pushed (read: done the applying and other work for him), but honestly, getting him through the public high school was hard enough. Plus, we didn't want to push him into something that would continue to be work for us (reminding him to do HW, get to class on time, etc). He works now, mostly part-time, and still lives here.

I am sorry that I don't have any wise words to share, but I did want to tell you that his senior year was very hard *on me*. Lots of my friends were posting their kids' college acceptance letters and other, typical end-of-year honors and awards and...it still hurts when I think about all the things that I could not brag about or join in with. I know that it sounds small and petty, but I couldn't help it. Just an FYI.

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(((Noreen Claire))) Big hugs. No that's not petty! As moms we have hopes, dreams, and expectations for our kids. It DOES hurt when circumstances are such that those hopes for the futures of our children are put on hold, or are not turning out as brightly as we had wished for. And we all have *limits* as to how much we can pour out on our loved ones. When it's been a tough 18 years all the way through with certain children, it is very normal and natural to just be *done* -- there is no more gas in the tank to push and drag and encourage. Sending good thoughts your way, and hoping that your DS is just a "late bloomer" and will find his path.

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Dd signed her Navy contract and is going to ship out as an IT in June. She decided that she wanted to get some real work experience in a field she's interested in and she really, really wants to go to sea (preferably on an air craft carrier). Covid also played a big role in this decision since most of the things she was most hoping to do at college might not be possible for a while. She will have to do a couple of college apps because the Navy's physical requirements are pretty stringent and you can be disqualified if you mess up your knee or develop a severe allergy. You definitely need a Plan B until you finish boot camp.

 

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15 hours ago, Hilltopmom said:

 It’s highly likely she will find a job at a daycare or preschool (I have local connections after years of working in many as a preschool special Ed teacher). She knows the pay is minimum wage Without health insurance and we fully expect to support her for years to come. 
 

Some random encouragement regarding this aspect: I know our state has a few jobs that only require an AA (and sometimes experience) in early childhood education. They pay is way better than daycare, there's insurance and a pension. This might be younger than her preferred age group, but one of them is working with at-risk families from pregnancy to three years old, with lots of counseling type activities. You teach the parents alternatives to corporal punishment and why those alternatives are better, you model how to talk to and play with the child (there are parents who don't realize they should be talking to a baby), guide them in practical things. I don't think many really young people are ready for it, but it's something to look into now and might be a great possibility a couple of years down the yard. 

 

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6 hours ago, BusyMom5 said:

Hugs- I'm not sure if my second DD is college bound or not.  If she does, it will be on a slower track.  

I think you should look into CPR certification if shes planning on childcare.   

Thanks.

she is already CPR/First aid trained for the early childhood program she works in at vo tec. They run a part time preschool for the community  🙂

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My DS just graduated from high school in May. School was always a struggle for him. 
He is attending college for 1 semester to get EMT certification and living at home . He is planning to stop school after this semester and work. He may not even use the EMT for a paid job as he is going to volunteer for our very small town’s volunteer ambulance service.

It is a bit hard for me to see all the kids other kids leave home to go to college and have all these grand plans, when the last thing he wants to do is spend 4-6 years in school. It does not bother him at all though. 

We do have a family friend role model though. A young lady who we have know since she was born is now 27. She was a bright kid, but did not like school and had some family issues as a teen. She started out volunteering at her local fire department. She took the EMT class and worked as a medical assistant in a doctor office foe a while. She eventually continued to become a paramedic, and got a paid position on an ambulance. She has worked her way up and is now a captain. She is just now going back to school to get an associates degree in Emergency medicine. She also had her second child this past April.

 

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BalletBoy is not going to college. He's a junior. We have shifted his schedule so that I do not think he would be very competitive a candidate. And he would struggle to have anyone to write a letter of rec who doesn't teach ballet. I guess if he injures himself or gets booted and can't dance anymore, he can head to community college. But he has been admitted to a pre-pro program - basically as the lowest level trainee. So we're excited by that instead. And I'm trying to repeatedly remind myself that it's okay. He'll be okay without college in the plans.

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My 19 year old is not college bound as of now; it is partly by choice and partly by circumstance (we live overseas). Most people do NOT understand that there are kids for whom college is not the best path and just assume that every kid should go. I’ve gotten several people trying to explain to me how it can work - oh the local university has classes in English, he could go to the UK, he could move back to the states and attend, he can do online college. This kid doesn’t even know what he would want to study, he has LDs that make learning difficult, and frankly he needs more maturity and life experience before navigating the college world. We’re still working on “life skills” and will be for a while. 
 

He may end up doing online CC classes if we can find something he wants to study. Right now he’s self-educating with Great Courses and a math review program. Plus we’re going back to Megawords and continuing to do literature studies together. We’re looking for a good series of project-based MS Office tutorials and a volunteer gig. He has health issues, so coronavirus has put volunteering on hold. I can’t see him doing an apprenticeship program as he is not a kinesthetic learner.
 

I see lots of people who were “late bloomers” and I’m pretty sure this is the case for him. Pushing him ahead before he’s ready will just degrade his confidence even more, so we are being patient. In the meantime, he is super helpful around the house and very kind to everyone. I guess that is the upside to having not gone through a “typical” phase of a push for independence. 

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Following. Neither of my girls is academically driven, and while one wants to pursue some sort of art degree, we don't know what that'll look like (or if she has what it "takes.") We're definitely considering community college as a starting point. 

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My nephew didn't go to college.  He wasn't an academic or driven kid, and never really had much of an idea what he might want to do.  Around the end of his junior year and through that summer, my sister and her DH leaned hard on the "you are going to have to develop some kind of plan"  They weren't pushing college specifically, but they weren't going to let him stay home doing nothing.  He needed some sort of plan for after high school, whether that was college or trade school or military or a specific full time job that could support him, etc etc.  

He ended up deciding to join the Navy.  Once he made the decision, he went full steam ahead, made the arrangements to graduate high school in the middle of his senior year and then he shipped out, I want to say it was that spring.  I don't think he even walked at his high school graduation ceremony, I think he was already at basic at that point.  I don't know what his job is in the Navy, but he seems to be enjoying it.  

In fact, that sister didn't actually go to college either.  She did part of her first semester and dropped out, never went back.  She got a full time job in retail and made enough to pay for her own apartment and moved out.  She quickly moved up in retail to a management position, then changed jobs to a management position in a finance company.  After working that job for several years, she opened her own cake shop for 10 yrs.  She closed it and sold it and now, she has a job with the state government in their training department.  She makes about as much per year as my DD24.....who also happens to work for the state in a different department....who does have a college degree.  

I will also say that sometimes......just making enough money to support yourself is good enough.  A job doesn't have to be something you love, it doesn't have to follow a particular interest or anything.  If it makes enough money to support yourself (and/or your family, with or without partner/spouse) and you don't despise it, I think that's good enough.  

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We've had several relatives who didn't pursue college, and they've all done fine.  One was good at tech and eventually got a nice job.  Another is working on his real estate license.  Another builds furniture.  My brother (in the health field) has told me about several one-year medical field certificates that can almost guarantee you a good job in certain areas and that have decent pay.  (Learning how to operate medical equipment/machines.)

One of our kids chose not to do the college route.  She had chronic migraines (all day, every day) which made it really difficult for her to concentrate.  She's a musician and currently manages a country club.  

I will add that all of the people I mentioned except one have either a spouse or a roommate who helps pay the bills.  I think they all could have managed alone too, but their lifestyles would have been more frugal.

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On 9/7/2020 at 3:29 PM, Hilltopmom said:

Dd, 17 struggles with everything academic due to learning disabilities and ability. She is currently a ps senior also attending vo tech for Early Childhood education. She’s working on her CDA through vo tech.
She would like to teach preschool or possibly do something else in the Human Services field (she’s very interested in psychology or counseling but won’t pursue a BA/MS anytime soon- that may be out of her reach, academically). She’s amazing with kids and her dream job is year round camp counselor, lol.

She will probably take some classes in education & human services at the CC after graduation to see how that goes but she’ll need to be a very part time student. She does want to do that. But may not get through the math requirement.

It’s highly likely she will find a job at a daycare or preschool (I have local connections after years of working in many as a preschool special Ed teacher). She knows the pay is minimum wage Without health insurance and we fully expect to support her for years to come. 
 

In this season of “all the seniors are applying to college”, I could just use some stories about the kids who are not or did not take that route.

thanks!

@Lori D. I think there was a thread like this a few years ago but I can’t find it. Any chance you could work your search magic for me? I’d really appreciate it 🙂

I can empathize with the migraines issue. My dd who finds school the most difficult also has multiple migraines a week. She took a Parks & Rec lifeguard certification class at age 16 and went to work at the local senior center (NOT the big city pool, too overwhelming) and really fell in love with working with seniors. She continued to lifeguard and began looking for other work with seniors/disabled. Through a friend's referral she got started working with in-home health care, both individual clients and group homes. It doesn't pay terribly well either, but she can up her earning potential if she takes a Certified Nurse Assistant class (about a month f/t), so that's what we're looking into now. Luckily the local community college offers this so we think we can use her college fund to pay for it. She may also look at being a case manager but that's less patient contact, which means less of what she likes about the work.

I think lifeguarding and learning to teach swim lessons would be a great sideline for your daughter. It can fit right into working with kids and provide a 2nd income stream (most lifeguarding and teaching is a 4-hour day, mornings or evenings but sometimes there are agencies that match teachers up with private clients, which pays better but you have to buy some toys & equipment). Anyway, just a thought. CPR certification, which comes with lifeguard training, is also a plus for childcare.

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On 9/8/2020 at 8:08 PM, Farrar said:

BalletBoy is not going to college. He's a junior. We have shifted his schedule so that I do not think he would be very competitive a candidate. And he would struggle to have anyone to write a letter of rec who doesn't teach ballet. I guess if he injures himself or gets booted and can't dance anymore, he can head to community college.  

Or a four-year if preferred; they are plenty of decent universities that will accept an anemic academic transcript (particularly with good reason). There are tons of good schools that don't require anything like a recommendation letter. 

I agree that college doesn't have to be in the plans, but also wanted to throw it out there that selective schools are not the only good schools. 

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4 hours ago, katilac said:

Or a four-year if preferred; they are plenty of decent universities that will accept an anemic academic transcript (particularly with good reason). There are tons of good schools that don't require anything like a recommendation letter. 

I agree that college doesn't have to be in the plans, but also wanted to throw it out there that selective schools are not the only good schools. 

Oh! Obviously I know this. But if his career is capped early, then we have no in state schools, we aren't super wealthy, he won't have prepared himself well enough to get much merit aid at a private, I don't know if blowing his not-a-state TAG money on a school and adding debt will make any sense... and he'll have pretty limited direction. I mean, he maybe wants to go to business school down the line, but he won't be academically ready to get in anywhere great. Really, if his career ends early, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but he's affirmatively decided that college in two years is not in the cards.

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4 hours ago, Farrar said:

Oh! Obviously I know this. But if his career is capped early, then we have no in state schools, we aren't super wealthy, he won't have prepared himself well enough to get much merit aid at a private, I don't know if blowing his not-a-state TAG money on a school and adding debt will make any sense... and he'll have pretty limited direction. I mean, he maybe wants to go to business school down the line, but he won't be academically ready to get in anywhere great. Really, if his career ends early, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but he's affirmatively decided that college in two years is not in the cards.


What is a typical career path for a male ballet dancer in terms of duration, retirement and post?I am just curious. 

Makes sense he doesn’t want to spend the best dancing years pouring over books in college. Good luck to him. 

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31 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:


What is a typical career path for a male ballet dancer in terms of duration, retirement and post?I am just curious. 

Makes sense he doesn’t want to spend the best dancing years pouring over books in college. Good luck to him. 

I don't know that there is typical in dance, honestly. Getting to know this world, I see people who have taken so many paths with it. People who hit a stopping point by their early 20's. People who are still actively on stage into their early 40's. People who do it for a few years, get a degree on the side, and walk away to do something else before age 30. People who are still teaching and involved in their 50's. If I had to predict my kid's trajectory, then honestly I'd guess he will not make it past ten years from now. But I could be wrong. He's so stubborn. If he decides he's going to keep dancing, he'll find a way.

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My oldest graduated in May, had an excellent scholarship opportunity, and didn't go.  I'm still really upset-probably because it's so recent.

He is working a lot, saving money, and building a house.  I'm not sure how things will turn out for him.  I'm sad because I think he's choosing a much harder road than was available to him, but he keeps telling me he hated school (guess I did a *great* job homeschooling!) and couldn't imagine doing more of it.  He has ideas and things he wants to do.  He is a very hard worker and has great carpentry skills, so he has more work than he can possibly complete right now.  For now, he is doing fine.  But construction is kind of a young man's game, so we will see where the future leads.

My DS doesn't have any learning disabilities or anything like what you said is going on with your DD.  We will not financially support him just because he wants to work in a low-paying field, so my story may not be relevant, but we are allowing him to live here without paying for anything except his vehicle and phone expenses until he has built his house (6-8 more months?) and he can move in.  Rents in our area are ~$1700/month for a gross one-bedroom apartment, and it would be such a waste for him to rent something while he's building.  He's excited to have his own home and to move out.  His house payment will be significantly less than the rent for a tiny apartment, so I'm proud of him for thinking smartly about his housing situation.

Anyway, best wishes!

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53 minutes ago, Random said:

My oldest graduated in May, had an excellent scholarship opportunity, and didn't go.  I'm still really upset-probably because it's so recent.

He is working a lot, saving money, and building a house.  I'm not sure how things will turn out for him.  I'm sad because I think he's choosing a much harder road than was available to him, but he keeps telling me he hated school (guess I did a *great* job homeschooling!) and couldn't imagine doing more of it.  He has ideas and things he wants to do.  He is a very hard worker and has great carpentry skills, so he has more work than he can possibly complete right now.  For now, he is doing fine.  But construction is kind of a young man's game, so we will see where the future leads.

My DS doesn't have any learning disabilities or anything like what you said is going on with your DD.  We will not financially support him just because he wants to work in a low-paying field, so my story may not be relevant, but we are allowing him to live here without paying for anything except his vehicle and phone expenses until he has built his house (6-8 more months?) and he can move in.  Rents in our area are ~$1700/month for a gross one-bedroom apartment, and it would be such a waste for him to rent something while he's building.  He's excited to have his own home and to move out.  His house payment will be significantly less than the rent for a tiny apartment, so I'm proud of him for thinking smartly about his housing situation.

Anyway, best wishes!

Wow! That is fantastic! What a motivated young man he is!

I know it is a different path than what you envisioned for him, but to be that young and to have such a responsible game plan is outstanding.

I could easily see your DS renting out a room or two in his house to room mates, which would virtually make his house payment *for* him -- meaning that whatever he earns from his construction job could all go towards life expenses + retirement IRA/investments. Compound interest on money invested now will turn that into a very handsome retirement sum for him in 40 years! And, in 5 or 10 years, he may have worked his way up to construction site foreman/manager he may find a related career path that really pays well -- construction site inspector; rental property investment/management; skilled trade/specialized trade on high end housing... Or maybe he'll decide he wants to pursue something else entirely; and having saved $$, he'll have the funds for the educational/training to move into that.

What an awesome young man! BEST of luck to him as he moves into the next stage of his life adventure! 😄 

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My kid with Asperger's managed five weeks at a tiny liberal arts college before dropping out. In part it was our fault, we assured him that college wasn't like high school. That there would be interesting lectures (we all learn very well from lectures), weekly readings, and maybe 3 papers or tests per semester. Well, things have changed in the decades since we graduated! This college was just like high school, with multiple daily assignments in each class and lots of group work. He hated it, and with his poor executive function skills soon fell behind. At the very end, I attempted to make a list of all the assignments he was missing and it took me 3 hours to look on every little online folder and portal for each class to find each separate assignment. It is definitely an evaluation system designed to primarily reward highly organized people. Anyway, the experience was so distasteful (and he is so rigid) that he has declared that he will never go to school again. We attempted to show him that a more technical college might be a better fit, but he's not having it. So my husband and I are so disappointed. He is creative and liked and understood much of the course content, including participating in class discussions which few other students did. Currently, he is just dabbling in creating a video game on his own time because though he wants to get a little job at the grocery store, we have too many people in our extended family with risk factors for the virus for him to do that and protect our loved ones. If there wasn't a pandemic, we'd try some other things, but with it, he's stalled and everyone is kind of sad.

Hilltopmom: There is a nanny school that I have heard is only a three month commitment. Wealthy families spare no expense in hiring a nanny and many nannies make considerably more than school teachers do. http://www.nanny-governess.com/

 

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BK21 had been planning to become an EMT or paramedic when she had her first stroke as a high school senior. She has been on a "gap year" the last two years, first year basically just all rehab, and then started working again as a swim instructor and lifeguard and, for part of the time, a gymnastics coach. She was just considering taking some CC classes, maybe in graphic design, when she had her 2nd stroke last month. So, now she is in a holding pattern again. She is thinking about maybe being a technician (ultrasound, EKG, or something similar)-her most recent hospitalization actually was really positive in that the medical personnel, especially the nurses and technicians, encouraged her to think about options, and she actually ended up emotionally in a better place than she has been for the last few years.

 

BK14 thinks she wants to be a vet tech or vet assistant, and is an unpaid interns at a small animal clinic. She is working on a vet assistant program for 4H students, and hopefully will be able to sit her licensing exam once she is old enough. She's a bright kid, but emotionally can't handle much school now,and can't imagine signing up for 4 more years after high school. 

 

 

 

 

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