Friday, January 29, 2010

So Far, So Good


I've survived my first two weeks of school!  And I'm still excited about attending!  I'm doing my best to keep the negative thoughts out of my head - the ones that say, "you can't do it" and "get a job".  Sadly, it's not always just in my head.  I may need to cut some naysayers out of my life.

Every time I tried to go to school in the past, something happened and I couldn't.  When I was a teenager I asked my parents if they were going to help me pay for college.  They said, "You're never going to graduate high school."  I nearly didn't.  I was working 38 hours a week.  I was not able to keep up.  I went back for a 5th year and signed up for a coop program that allowed me to leave at noon.  When I finally did graduate, my parents weren't there.  My father's fishing trip was far too important to miss.

My parents not only didn't help pay, they refused to allow me access to their tax returns so I could apply for financial aid.  By the time the requisite two years of not being claimed as anyone's dependent had passed I was married.  My husband really wanted me to go, he said, but there was always some reason why I couldn't.  One day I went to the school and signed up for an EMT class without his permission.  He was not happy.  He complained about the money I was spending on gas.  He accused me of having affairs with fellow students.  He reported my car missing hoping I'd get pulled over on the way to class.  The very next semester he decided he needed to go full time.  I, of course, had to quit school altogether since we (I) could barely pay the rent.  Words cannot describe the anger I felt.

I got a much-needed divorce, a better job, and a decent car.  I decided to try again and signed up for a couple of classes in the evenings.  That lasted for 2 semesters - until my boss started changing my hours and demanding that I work more overtime.  My daughter was in elementary school and it became too difficult to keep up.  

I may not get another chance. If I'm going to get my degree I need to find a way to go the whole four years now and make education my priority, not work. If I work, it will be part time and it will never come before studying.  I'll talk to the financial advisors at the school about my options. I may not qualify for grants now, but I will probably qualify next year. I need to find out about student loans, too. Do they still have GSL's?  There has to be some way to do this, and I'm going to find it.

16 comments:

Anita said...

The more I read your blog, the more I learn of the "baggage" that you've had to carry through life. We all have it, but some loads are light and some are heavy.
The lack of attention while you were growing up gives me a sad feeling; the people who should have been supporting you and not doing it - not trusting you. I hope they will all realize their errors and asks for forgiveness some day.
But you've got spunk, determination, and smarts - so you'll achieve your goals, in spite of negative people. It CAN happen.

Vince said...

Yes, the School is your answer, Jen, for no one does this on their own. They -the school- will have seen others go through more or less the same as you.
Oh, and something you may want to keep in mind is that Credit for a Degree is transferable out of State. Not to Ohio necessarily as I hear that Ohio is not the most generious. But Texas may well be willing to fork over cash as it could well be less to them for you to attend out of State.
But as I said before get the Style Sheet for your school. It shows you what they expect to see and how they expect to see it. For instance, do they want footnote or end note. What font, what size and what line space.
This may seem idiotic to you but they will have any number of Scripts, and while it will not matter in a Pass or Fail. It will matter up to 20% of a graded mark.

Vince said...

Oh, and f... the begrudgers. There are times when such language just works, and this is one of them.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I'm so thrilled for you going back to college - I just know you'll make it work out this time :)

buffalodick said...

I only have an Associate's Degree, as my parents wouldn't pay either. I worked three part time jobs one summer to pay for my car, college and car expenses..The last semester I did not have enough money to finish, so they gave me $150..I swore my kids would have college paid for, and we did it! Good Luck in your quest!

otin said...

Sometimes it would be nice if people would just get behind you and support you! I was working 35 to 40 hours a week when I was in high school. I look back now and ask "What were my parents thinking??"

Kate said...

Wow congratulations - you must be really strong to have got through all that and I am sure it will work out for you this time.

Good luck

Kate xx

Christiejolu said...

You are doing great! You can apply for grants besides loans! I am getting a lot of grants being a single Mom. I am graduating in a few months!

Jen said...

@Anita: I'm not holding my breath for the apologies. The ex would still make my life difficult if I let him, and the parents still think I'm a loser...I don't need any of them.

@Vince: My Comp professor is turning out to be a very good source for all of that information. Plus, the school provides tutors that can help me with that.

@Rachel Cotterill: Thank you. I'm not letting anyone stop me this time.

@buffalodick: They wouldn't or couldn't? I'm so proud of you for helping your kids with school. It makes a huge difference.

@otin: They were thinking it would teach us responsibility...as if keeping up with homework and studying isn't responsible enough.

@Kate: I think most of us are stronger than we realize...we don't really need someone else to help us through...but life is so much better when we have people that are there for us.

@Christiejolu: As soon as I have 2009 taxes in order, I'm applying for anything and everything. Thank you for saying that. It helps to reaffirm that this is possible. Congratulations!

gayle said...

I am so in awe of you!!! You can do this ....you want it so bad! Do it!!
I can't understand parents that don't want to help there kids. My oldest daughter is going to grad school, working as a highschool teacher and paying all her own while letting her....boyfriend do nothing but live with her. It makes me so sad...anyway my point was...we are helping her as much as we can. My youngest daughter and husband both work and we help them too because of our grandson. I am sick by parents that don't want to help...if they can. There is money out there...talk to your school. Stay away from people that tell you you can't. We (blogging friends) are here for you!!

Kasie said...

wow, I hoped over from Anita's blog. Good for you for not giving up. You've been through quite a bit. Awesome that you are rising above all of that. I hope school goes well for you!!! I just started nursing school last semester. What degree are you going for... there may be specialized grants depending on your major. Talk to your financial aid office. (sometimes they may not be very helpful though... at least that's how it is at my school.) Hope all goes well. Good for you for not giving up!!!!

Jen said...

@gayle: I'm glad you're doing what you can. That's what families are supposed to do.

@Kasie: Good luck with nursing school! There is a huge demand for that right now. I'm thinking about pursuing a degree in humanities. I'll make a final decision on that closer to the end of the semester.

Rebecca S. said...

Jen, I'm pulling for you. I'm sure you can do it, because your athletic goal-setting has taught you determination and discipline, and given you a taste of victory over that pesky 'baggage' that, to be honest, is all in the past. In fact, if anyone can get a degree, you can. Onward and upward!

Jen said...

@Rebecca S.: I limped the last five miles of a race because I was too stubborn to quit. I can do this!

Heather said...

Kudos to you for not giving up on your dream. I know how life can find ways to interrupt our plans. You've come this far and with the foward attitude that you have, I have no doubt you will graduate.

Jen said...

@Heather: I've given up the movie star and rock star dreams. I'm hanging onto this one.

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