I have been in bed since Friday. It is currently Monday, January 30, 2017 and I am out of bed. Not because I want to be, but because I have to be.
Friday morning, I met with the financial aid department at my chosen school and was told that since I already have a four-year degree, I don’t qualify for ANY financial aid to get a certificate. Apparently, you can always go forward from a Bachelor’s degree….you can get a master’s or a PhD…but you can’t go down. A certificate isn’t considered “academic” – so I can’t borrow the funds needed to obtain my goal.
Of course, I didn’t take “no” for an answer….it isn’t in my nature. I called and spoke to my own school – Auburn University, with the hope that my Alumni status might carry some weight, and they have the same policy. It’s across the board…..you can go up, but not down. Of course, I looked into scholarships and grants (none of which I qualify for) and I looked into getting a private loan from Sallie Mae….no dice. I am not employed. I am a stay at home mom. I could get someone to co-sign, but no one I know is able, or would qualify for that for various reasons. Plus, I don’t want to put anyone in that position. I don’t want anyone else to pay for my education. My goal was to borrow the money on my own, have the debt go onto my credit report and help me raise my credit so I could buy my own car in a few years.
The answer was no.
My self-worth took a huge hit. I don’t regret going to college 20 years ago. I regret my major. Twenty years ago, I had energy and drive. I wanted to move to a big city and become a hard-hitting journalist. I’d even kicked around with the idea of going to graduate school. Columbia was my chosen school for advancing my education. But for many reasons I won’t mention here, after I earned my Bachelor’s degree, I chose another path. I got married. I had a child. Then, I got divorced, I got remarried and I had more children. I made the decision to stay home with those children when I learned about the harsh reality of the American Work Environment….it is NOT family friendly. I had trouble balancing the high-stress and deadlines of a newspaper career, with taking care of sick children and autism meltdowns.
The main point is, I am not the same person I used to be. The world of journalism also isn’t what it used to be. Jobs are few and far between….and the pay is just as lousy (if not more) as it was when I graduated in 1999. Journalism is also one of the Top 10 useless degrees in the last five years. Anyone can be a journalist these days, and you don’t need a degree to do it. My degree came before the internet took off, before newsrooms were downsized and before copy editing was outsourced. Hometown newspapers are still thriving, but the pay is even worse than the larger newspapers.
Friday morning….my dream to escape the confines of “stay at home mom life” and “taking a new career path when the kids grow up” was shattered like a crystal glass on a tile floor.
So, I shut out the world and wallowed in my depression and self-loathing. I cried and lamented about my life. I reflected on all the time I wasted in college, of all the time SINCE college that I changed diapers, wiped noses and played with Play-Doh. I cried when I thought about getting up the next morning to stand at a sink and wash dishes, scrub floors and do an endless pile of laundry…..again and again and again. For the rest of my life.
And now, here I am. Another day older and another day wiser. I still don’t know what I’m going to do, but going back to school for a change in career is not an option. I’ve got to do some more soul-searching, some more crying and some more thinking about what I’m going to do once my youngest little person starts school.
I refuse to be useless. And I flat-out refuse to stay at home and clean day in and day out until I die.
And by useless….I’m not insulting other stay at home moms…other “lifers” who choose to stay at home indefinitely. I completely understand and respect the path they have taken. But I didn’t know that once I stepped off the working mom hamster wheel….it would be next to impossible to get back on.
I DO want to be there for my children when they need me…that’s why I can’t and won’t go back to a newsroom or advertising department. I want to have something that is uniquely MINE….I want my own paycheck, my own sense of self and my OWN sense of accomplishment away from the home and the children. I’d like to contribute to our family income, and help us get out of debt….and into a bigger and better home. Basically, I’d like a lot of things.
Anyway, that is only ONE of the issues I’ve been dealing with for the past few days. I won’t go into the other issues, as they are far too personal to mention on this blog.
So….here I am. I am determined to get myself out of this depression and carry on. Brainstorming and lots of caffeine is on the menu today. I also disconnected myself from ALL social media so that I can stop comparing myself to others….and so I can be free of distractions while I try to figure out my next move.
Dear readers, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading my rant:)