Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Do I... or don't I??

So, for years one of my biggest regrets was not going to school more. When I graduated high school, I really wanted to do a lot of different things. First I wanted to be a Geologist, but then I thought, you don't see that job advertised... probably not a wise move. Then I wanted to be an elementary school teacher but then realized I don't really like other people's kids and their parents are just as bad, if not worse. Then I wanted to be a writer, but everyone told me that was stupid and unreliable. Then I thought maybe I could work for people who write. But I've never seen that advertised either, so I didn't know what to do.

Until someone told me to go to school for the ultimate chick fall back career- administrative assistant.

So that's what I did. I spent two years getting me Associate Degree and did well. I got a job right away and worked there for eight years until I realized that personalities don't always mix and I couldn't do it anymore. Plus there was family health issues and me working full time wasn't an option. But then I got a job working part time where I work now and I love it. I really, really love it.

For the past few years I've really regretted not going further to get my BA in something, anything. At the time, I really thought I would go back to school after working for a few years and end up an executive assistant somewhere. It's something I'd be really good at and could probably do it right now but everyone wants you to have a BA.

The last few months I've really felt like I should be doing more. I should just do it. What if I did it and really liked it? Alternately, what if I went back and not only was I the oldest person there but I actually really sucked? One of the biggest reasons I never went further with my education was that I never thought I had the caliber to do well. Sure, I did well in high school but let's be honest- stoner kids who hardly showed up still got their diploma. I did terrible on the ACT's, I didn't even try with the SAT's. I never took an accelerated class or an advanced class. I did well in college but I just didn't think I could do it.

So I didn't. I really didn't want to be that girl who failed out of a four year college like so many others I knew.

But now I feel like I need to do more. I don't want to be 50 and regret not doing what I wanted. I want to get my 4 year degree. I want to walk across a stage so my kids know how bad ass their mom is. I want to work for a publishing house. I want to edit things, fun things.

So I have been researching my options. Which as it turns out, aren't many. The good news is that my town has a really great liberal arts college, UW-Superior. The other good thing is that I have UM-Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica which no fucking way could I ever afford, but it's there. I have plenty of college options within reasonable driving distance from me. But my largest problem is my availability and financial capabilities.

I cannot take a bunch of daytime classes. I'm restricted to evenings, online, and maybe some day classes, but that would be iffy. I also can't take another student loan, Matt would kill me. So if I can't get grants/scholarships to cover most of it? Not going to happen. But I'm trying not to depress myself.

But here's my dilemma. In order to be a copy editor, everything that I have read says an English degree is best. Which sounds lovely. Until I start reading what classes you take to get that and I'm like, WTF peeps? I understand the majority of my degree is reading but there is very little writing and there is ZERO classes on how to edit something. Like, ZERO.

Which is where I start my rant on colleges. A technical college gives you the tools you actually need to do the job... but most employers want a BA degree. Universities give you broad information and you basically hope people can wing it when they get an actual job. Which is ridiculous.

So I don't know what to do. I need to make an appointment with an admissions counselor first, obviously. And I won't lie, I've called 6 six times and hung up every time a person answered. Because I am petrified. I'm scared I won't be able to go for financial reasons, I'm scared I will suck so bad, and I'm scared I won't be smart enough to get in. It's ridiculous, I know, but I'm being honest. It's so hard. Why is it that as I age I become more fearful? I thought age was supposed to make you more fearless??


Unknown said...

you've totally got this. there are tech writing classes offered in most english departments that get into the efficient writing process. also, since you're returning as an adult, they won't judge you based on your act/sat much/or really at all. be brave and give them a call. you'd be surprised at the amount of grants out there for mom's and returning adults.

Unknown said...

Okay, listen to me. I have $85k+ in student loans, a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree. I slaved away for 4.5 years to get both, shunning a social life and missing so many moments I could have spent with my dying Grandmother. But I don't regret it one bit, at all, whatsoever. Yeah, that's alot of fucking student loan debt. But I don't care, to me it was worth it.

I know your situation is way different than mine, with a family and a new house and stuff, but I 100% no bullshit think you should just fucking go for it. Go to UW where it's somewhat affordable (I'm guessing) and be totally open and honest with the financial aid people - go in and be like "Bitches I ain't got no money, and I can't get a loan. Give me all the options I have for grants and shit, because I really want to go to your school." And they will help you, if they're decent humans.

If you don't even attempt this, I know you'll regret it. And you'll cry when you're an old lady and become depressed and end up on meds and shit. Yes, universities have historically been more of an overall learning curriculum. Trade schools will teach the nitty gritty but also don't give two craps about you after you graduate (I know, I have several friends that went that route). I've networked so much and have contacts in crap tons of companies. You need to go a university. You can supplement not having any writing by doing some on your own or even getting an internship. I know, internships are for 20-somethings. But as long as you're pursuing a bachelors they'll offer it to you, they can't age discriminate. Harness the power of the internet and reach out to publishing houses and authors and magazines/newspapers/other blogs and ask if you can write for them and/or edit for them. Go to local news outlets and see if they'll let you be a part-time editor for something.

You'll have to cut back on things you do for your kids and volunteering and such, which I know blows monkey chunks but think in 20 years... your kids won't remember about that one dance class you missed watching out on or the one soccer game because you had a deadline. They won't, honestly. My Mom worked 3 jobs at one time and my Dad traveled overseas for 6, 10, 12 weeks at a time. Yeah, it fucking sucked missing them at my events but now that I look back I get it and I appreciate every struggle they went through for us as a family.

Sorry, wall of text. In summary, go for it. As far as feeling old I always had adult students in my classes and it didn't bother me as a young student. And as for failing? I worry I fail every single day at work, and I'm pretty sure I failed a million and a half times with things at school but I just kept working at it. And I got through. It's a struggle, but so is life really. Love you boo <3

Julie H said...

I thought about it a lot when I was your age. Now my oldest is in college and there is no way I can afford for both of us to go. Do it now while you can!

Kattrina said...

I'm going back to school and I'm not the oldest in the class. I am just taking some science classes at the community college and hoping to apply to nursing school this winter. I always thought science was super hard and that I couldn't excel at it, but it turns out that in my old age, it's much easier. And I have NO idea how I'm going to afford a full-time nursing program when I have to quit my job and my husband makes no money. I figure I'll think about that AFTER I get accepted. I say go for it! It's never too late and you'll figure out how to pay for it later.

Why Girls Are Weird said...

Two words: online classes. They're best for your availability. It's the only way I was able to get my AA, and when I go back for my Bachelors I'm doing online classes.

Jay Brandt said...

Ummm dude--you will destroy any program you go into and just reading your posts here and goodreads it's pretty obvious you got skillz. Get the financial info and see if it works!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

My husband is looking into get his BS (though I tell him he is already full of it & see no reason to spend 50 grand for him to have more)
He has a tech degree & a good job but with a shaky company & everything he looks as says it wants a degree. But here is the thing about degrees... at a certain point, depending on your field, it stops mattering. Had he gotten one in 1989 (When I got mine) he would have a bunch of knowledge on well outdated technology that is useless today. His 20+ years of experience matter more now. I work in HR and those requirements help weed out time wasters and resume spammers. If you only have 2-5 years experience the degree matters. If you have 8-10 or more, we don't really care about it.
My advise is right now start looking for ways to get experience doing what you want to do, internships, I know there are freelance ebook editors out there and many offer their skills to new writers for free in exchange for the editing experience & it's win-win for the author as well. No degree needed & then you have a resume of experience which is more valuable.

Lin said...

Total bullshit girl, the older I get the more scared I am of...everything. So pathetic.

I had the same discussion w/my husband about school last year. He got so tired of hearing about it that he said, either do it or shut up about it haha...I shut up about it cause we cant afford it right now. I think you should definitely give it another go though (if monetarily feasible) cause worst case scenario, you suck and fail a class but at least you gave it a go and no one, including you, can say you didnt try :)

Steff said...

You should SO go for it! I don't know why, but I have the impression that you would kick ass at school! If you feel like you're regretting not going to school now, you will definitely feel it more later, so just do it!