Monday, January 12, 2009

And...we're back.

Or, not so much back as rethinking everything again. To recap, here's what I thought when I woke up this morning:

1. I'm enrolled in Bio and Chem 101 with labs (dissections and test tubes, hooray!) to start in a week.

2. I'm considering using the credits from these classes to transfer to the accelerated 1 year nursing BSN at Loyola. This would start in June 2010.

3. I am still considering the 2 year Associates degree nursing program at Truman, but it would take longer and they don't give ANY financial aid to people who already have bachelors degrees.
Also, there's a rumor going around (several nurses and hospital-types have confirmed it) that nurses with Associates degrees aren't treated as well or given the same chances for advancement as those with BSNs, so if I went to Truman I might have to go back to school again in a couple years to make a good wage or get promoted, etc.

The woman who runs the Loyola program responded to my email from almost three weeks ago this morning (I'm willing to believe that she got sick, or schools take long breaks for holidays, or whatnot, but I was starting to get antsy). She told me two things that made this afternoon markedly less fun than this morning:

1a. Loyola sure does accept transfer credits from Truman College, but they have to be for a couple of specific classes for which the ones I'm now enrolled are PREREQUISITES. Thus, it'd be another year maybe before I could even apply, and it'd push the number of required classes I'd have to take just to qualify to fill out an application to Loyola to 8 or 9. Sheesh. Good thing I don't have to pay rent or bills (or, lest we forget, loan payments on my FIRST bachelors degree). Or allow time in my schedule to work.

2a. Loyola likes me just fine, but they sure do dislike my BFA. According to Loyola, as is the case with Truman, I should be able to work 70 hours a week and pay my rent and bills and still put myself through school sans scholarships because I must surely be rolling in money what with my Acting and Literature Degree. She said financial aid is incredibly limited for the ABSN students because ABSN students already have bachelors degrees. I wish everyone would just come right out and say it:

"You had your chance for an education, and you wasted it on something decadent and useless".

At least it feels like that's what they're all saying.

Now I need to decide (again) whether I want do all this work and pay for it all without financial aid if maybe it won't even be worth it in the end. It looks like, just based on this email, Loyola is out of the running. I don't want to rack up another $30k in college debt at this stage in my life, and even if I did, I don't want to take a ton of prerequisites. The Truman degree is possibly financially doable ($5000 is a lot of money, plus books and fees and time off work, but it's no $30K). But I don't want to get a degree that will have me coming back in a few years to turn it into something more viable. I want to be done with school yesterday.

Part of me wants to drop my classes and just try even harder to get a massage job that pays better -- either a combination of teaching and clinical work, or just take this time to rethink the whole thing. It just seems like pursuing this career with everything I know now doesn't make any sense. And taking these classes is costing me time and money -- time I could be spending doing a play, or seeing patients, or continuing my Spanish, or doing something I know will be rewarding.

I spent some time this weekend considering my life choices and my future. I thought about whether at a certain age it becomes pathetic to be doing storefront theatre without any pay worth speaking of, without health insurance, constantly fretting about next month's rent, spending five months of the year wishing I could go for a walk without the wind tearing my face off. I love doing massage, but it's hand-to-mouth and I'm afraid it always will be. I had a fantasy of my life once being filled with travel, adventure, great parts to play, and things I just couldn't wait to do. When I was about ten I came up with my definition of how to be happy and avoid depression: "Always having something to look forward to."

I hate to be maudlin, but right now I'm hard pressed to come up with a list of things like that.


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