|Jun13-12, 05:41 AM||#18|
A non-traditional student who could use some life advice
(ARGH! Just wrote a LONG reply, pressed submit and it had logged me out and I couldn't go back. I'm gonna try again).
It sounds like you are in a similar situation to me, though with a bit of a different background and being 3 years older than me as well.
My parents never went to highschool. My mom used to be a hair dresser and my dad used to be a decorator. I went to high school however and I had my mind set on going to university and in the end possibly getting a ph.d.
Here in Denmark you have to choose between the math side of things (high level maths, physics, chemistry...) and the language side (high level English, Spanish/French, Danish...). I chose the language side, cause I was always interested in writing when I was younger. It was a fading interest though. Eventually one of my teachers sparked an interest for Linguistics in me, and I decided to go to university studying Linguistics.
Linguistics is an interesting course, no doubt about that. 20-25% of it was really interesting, but the remaining 75-80% didn't really fit in with what I wanted to use my degree for (not that I had a plan set in stone - I never have...), and I couldn't really see what I was going to use those classes for. So after a year, I quit.
At that point my girlfriend, who I had been with for 3½ years and lived with, broke up. That sent me tumbling down the hill, having no place to live, no job, not really a whole lot of friends left, no idea what I wanted to do etc. Couldn't find my feet anywhere.
One of my old friends then said he was going into Danish at university and I decided to jump into that boat. I entered that, but after a 3/4 of the year I was starting to get over the break up, ever so slowly. I realised I had started this in a wrong manner. It didn't feel right and never really had. I did it only to have something to keep me from spiraling totally into deep, deep depression. So after a year, I quit.
I did however think that I had to be studying. I was 22, it's what you do! So I went into social care/paedagogy. I even had to send an application for dispensation of the "3rd time rule" (that you officially can't enter a course for the 3rd time without getting at the bottom in the pile of applications), to which you need to have a valid reason. I had that, so it was no big deal in the end.
Half a year into that, I realised I didn't HAVE to study and that I needed a long, hard think without having the constant "you're not doing your homework (cause I wasn't interested enough"-thought hanging above my head. So I quit that and went on to get a full time job.
During my years of studying I only had a part time job the first semester of Linguistics. I managed to get by another year after that from financial aid and my then girlfriend having a part time job. However the last year of my studying (½ a year of Danish, ½ a year of Paedagogy), I had to take some loans to get by (in Denmark you get financial aid that you don't have to pay back when you go to university, but you can decide to get some on top of that, which you HAVE to pay back). That means I owe a bit of money now. Not a whole lot in the long run though.
I went on to get a full time job though, as I said. Behind a phone, interviewing people. Turns out that wasn't for me at all and along with not knowing what I wanted to do, it sent me right back into depression as well as suddenly sparking anxiety, which I had never experienced before. I missed intellectual conversation and input.
So I've now taken a break from it, and I'm not sure if I can return, but I hope so - part time.
In the past few weeks I've been going to some mandatory meetings with other people in a similar situation, who don't know what they want to do either. I narrowed it down to Physics and some other stuff.
However, I never took the right classes in highschool, so I have to relay that route now, so I'm spending a year taking the needed classes to enter Physics at University (that will be a year of what we call Maths A, Physics B and then A and Chemistry B).
I do feel ready to have a part time job and studying again, but it's only something that I've felt ready for in the past few weeks. My balance point prior to that was in a rut, but it's slowly shifting.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that you have to be self aware, and it seems that you are exactly that. You have to know where your balance point is, and it shifts from time to time.
My problem having a part/full time job (and that at something boring) was that I came
home having spent all my mental energy and wasn't up for anything else than just laying in my bed. And that's not really ideal!
On another side of things is financial aid. In Denmark, when you enter university, you are granted 6 years of financial aid. 72 months. So if you waste them on a wrong course, then you only have 60, then 48 and so on. I have 42 months left of financial aid if I go to university again. That means I will have 1½ years without financial aid. I'm not too worried though, even if it means I have to work full time those 1½ years, cause if it's the right place for me, then I will make that happen. On another note I have a friend who spent 12 years getting his degree, which means he was without 6 years of financial aid, having friends and family bug him about getting it done, but he says he's fine with that these days.
Oh, and time heal all wounds regarding relationships. I know that's as cliché as it gets, but we all know it to be true. About one year after my ex girlfriend broke up with me I went into another relationship and have been with this girl for a year and a few days now. I can't say I was totally over my ex-girlfriend going into this relationship, but I am now! Sometimes you have to take those chances, know where you're heading etc. It's again a matter of self awareness, and it seems you have that.
Going into university at 26 or in my case 23 is not a big problem in the end, I'd say. You have become more mature, and you know yourself a whole lot better than those who start at 19.
Have you considered going into something completely different? A completely different field? Or at least checked out your alternatives? Zoo keeper, bicycle mechanic, physio, you name it... Just checking out what other options you have, even if you have to go back and take some classes you never took. It might open up some possibilities that you never thought about. I'm not saying they necesarily will, but knowing your alternatives is never a bad thing, in my opinion.
I'll stop it here before this becomes too long, but I could go on and on... I do hope you could take something from my story though.
|Jun13-12, 06:23 AM||#19|
I changed majors and universities. Through a friend, I found a job as a iron worker. During the summers and holidays, I did iron work, which I loved doing. I made more than enough during the summers to pay for school and had plenty of money left over. The extra money went to my parents and friends who needed some support. I got married at the end of my undergrad program.
In grad school, I received assitantships - some research and some teaching. I also got a full-time job at a local municipal water department. I was a full time operator, and that allowed me to study in the evening. Then I did graveyard shift, which was not a good idea. At the end of my MS, I was sleep deprived. But I managed to earn enough to pay of my wife's undergrad loans and buy her a new car.
I kept the operator job into my PhD program, but gave it up because I couldn't do both effectively. My wife also worked on campus and got a full time job after her master's degree. My paycheck covered our expenses, so we put hers in savings. I left university before completing the PhD program for a good job in industry.
Some folks are late bloomers or unconventional. One just needs to do the best one can do, and move forward.
One does have skills, e.g., lab experience. It's a matter of recognizing the skills and developing new ones.
As for a social life - the world is full of people. I've been browsing my high school senior class panorama photograph, and there are over 700 fellow students. I wasn't very social in high school, but I did have some close friends - one with whom I am still in contact. If I didn't have a social life, it would be my own fault. Whether at school or work or out in the community, there are plenty of nice folks to meet.
ps - my dad worked full time during his masters and PhD programs. I probably take after him. He did a lot of work around the house, and repaired our cars, even rebuilding engines. I helped as much as I could. My grandfathers were also examples of hard workers. My dad and my maternal grandfather also gardened and raise chickens. We had to give up chickens when we moved into the suburbs/city.
I had my first job at about 13 or 14 working in a bike shop building and repairing bikes. I made less than min wage, and it was only part time - evenings and mostly weekends and summer holiday - but I did get discounts on parts for my bike. During junior and senior high school, I took 3 classes for 6 weeks during the summer at a local university. I was most interested in math and science, but my dad decided I should take some courses in humanities - history, language (German), and religion/mythology. I enjoyed math and physics the most. During the summer between 11th and 12th grade, I did an 8 week program in electrical and nuclear engineering at CSM, Golden, Co.
|Jun13-12, 06:27 AM||#20|
Astronuc's insight is invaluable!
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