Sunday, July 20, 2014

Debt without a Degree

Yesterday was a big day for me.

Ten years ago I was just post divorce.  I was angry.  I was confused.  My life was spiraling out of control.  My marriage was gone.  I had lost custody of my children.  I was living by myself in a rural dark area in the backwoods of Lafayette, GA. (Yes, the same Lafayette, GA where they found all of those decomposing bodies on the grounds of a crematory facility.)  I would drink at night after work, stand outside on the porch half drunk, shake my fist at the skies and scream in anger at being that I had not yet realized did not exist, and if he did, did not give a rat's ass about me and my life.

I felt like my life was spiraling out of control.  I began to understand something that I never really and truly understood till I got into a position I did not understand and could not control.  I came to realize that when things are out of control we react and reacting will get us in trouble.   Decisions that are reactions to negative circumstances will, almost always, be the wrong decision.

So I decided it was time for me to make a decision that was a proactive positive decision.  I had received a post card in the mail from University of Phoenix and decided to inquire about attending college.  I will never forget my admissions counselor was Steve Fowler and that man bent over backwards to clear every obstacle and make my return to school possible.

I began college with a major in Business Management.  I really did not know what I was going to do but it seemed like a good place to start.  Through the years I made some bad decisions and I took a lot of time.  Going to college while married, with kids AND working a full time job is not easy.  I also know that I put as many obstacles in my path as I possibly could.  I changed my majors twice, once to English and finally to Human Services.  I wanted to quit many times.  Is not easy going to school, having a family and working a full time job.  My motto, that kept me going was that I refused to end up with debt and no degree.  So every time I wanted to quit I would remind myself..."Debt without a degree."  

My goal was to become a therapist or a counselor but the older I get the more I realize I am getting crankier and less patient.  I am downright borderline curmudgeon. I don't have the patience for stupidity, self importance, self pity and willful ignorance that I used to have.  So that is not likely to be what I end up being.
How graduating from an online university feels!

Yesterday was a huge day for me.  All these years, all these detours and all of this journey have led me to the point where I am today.  Walking across that podium I found, that while I was happy and I was proud of this achievement, I was also nervous and introspective.

Who am I?  What is my purpose?  How can I best fulfill that destiny? I did not think that at almost 40 years old I would still be struggling with these questions.  It has seemed every time I have the answers to this question that something happens to shake all that up and I am back at square one.

Another big question am I going to pay for this.  I have a big family.  A wife and six kids is not cheap to support.  When I got my first bill in the mail last week and they want it paid in August...I am at a loss of what to do.  It is crazy that you have to get an education to get ahead in life but once you have the education you are so in debt that you have no idea how you are going to pay it.

I have many choices to make in the upcoming days and weeks.  Do I go back to school?  What do I want to do with this degree?  Like I said before..I used to think I wanted to be a counselor, or a therapist, but I will be honest, the older I get the more I find I have less and less patience for people and their stupidity...not a good trait for a counselor.  So what now?

Those are the questions...and I'll be damned if I have the answers.



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