Sunday, May 29, 2011

Roughing it out

I know I promised not to bring our finances into this blog, but to be honest I need to rant! So have a little story.

When I was very young - middle school or so - I was selected to be part of a local program that follows kids through high school. If they volunteered so many hours a year, kept good grades, and participated in enough extracurriculars, once they graduated they were given a four year scholarship. The first two years were to the local community college to work on general classes, and the last two were to the local university - a Franciscan endeavor - to finish off a degree. While I accepted the scholarship, it paid only my first two years, because after that I realized that my passion at the time (music) was poorly represented at the university, and that I had lost my desire to follow through with the associates degree I was after. The classes I had taken were no longer pertinent, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with myself or my life. After three years at the community college, a place people normally only spend two, I dropped out only a couple of classes shy of graduation with an associates in arts.

Fast forward a few years to this year - two months ago, in fact. I had been out of the community college four years and our finances are a mess, we can't pay the majority of our bills, and we're generally a disaster. It's stressful on us and on the kids, and I'm beginning to lose faith in.. Well, everything. It's straining our marriage, making the kids act out (kids can sense energy changes and feed off of them like you'd never believe), and it's driving us crazy, so I chose to make a VERY big change. I had always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but that option seemed less and less viable, so I began making arrangements to get the kids in day care and to go back to school.

This is where things get tricky.

I've been SO blessed to be able to stay home with the kids this long. Both are older, no longer babies, and are walking and talking true individuals. They've grown into themselves beautifully, and I've been able to watch the whole process from the front lines. I've taken an opportunity that maybe I shouldn't have in doing that, because we've sincerely needed the money, but I've been on the hunt for a job since last October and have yet to find something long-term and full time that would provide the benefits we need. After all, we live off the state right now via WIC and food stamps and the medical card, and have for a little while now, and to be perfectly honest I hate it. I know it's help that's there for when families need it, but I detest that we've been on it so long, that we've had no other choice. I WANT to bitch about insurance prices and co-pays. I want to  budget for groceries. I want to do all the grown up things that normal people do, instead of shrugging it off and saying that the state pays for us to exist so who cares. I want to change. I want things to be different.

So I chose an RN program at the local college of nursing and found out that to enter it, I needed two more classes - but if I could take at least one of those before the fall school year started, I could possibly enter as a sophomore instead of a freshman and be saved a full year of gen ed classes at the university. I signed up at the community college for the first of those two classes. I had all my ducks in a row, so they say, with information sent through the proper channels and everything set up and ready to go for fall and summer. So I thought.

The best part of all is that with the track I'm taking, I can put cost of living into my loans and we would be able to put back Hubby's work money as extra to keep us going on the side. It's brilliant. I have it all thought through.

And then the community college informs me that because I'm over the Department of Education's credit hour limit for their institution, I have to basically plead my case with them on paper to have them let me back in and offer financial assistance. For one class. I have to explain my degree direction and why they should let me back in. Not only that, but apparently I also just so happened to be randomly selected for "verification" - meaning I have to fill out a bunch of paperwork confirming the tax information I entered on the FAFSA. Mind you, I didn't lie on the FAFSA, but on some of the portions where it asks for my husband's income specifically versus mine, I just made it all add up, I think. I honestly don't remember. It shouldn't be a big deal, but having both of these things approved could set me back a good three weeks - and classes start June 6.

And I can't apply for loans until after both of these things have been approved.

So I'm in a rut right now, grouchy and discontent and wishing that somehow things were different and that it didn't always seem like something was getting in the way of letting me accomplish my goals. I guess in all honesty I'm just frustrated, because every time I make a life-changing decision, something happens to make everything tougher. And I can only take so much of it. I'm only one person!

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