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Mom's Nag Pad is a place of support for women and moms. I hope that while you're reading the stories about the crazy lives of others, you'll remember yourself and pick up that dream deferred. Like me, everyone should indulge a dream!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Much Needed Break

I've got three weeks off from my teaching job (unpaid, unfortunately), but nevertheless, I'm ecstatic. Now, if I had any sense I'd rest and relax, but us Type A's just aren't wired like that. I've already spent the first day organizing my home office because I can see clutter even when it's hidden behind a curtain. This will serve me well during the first semester of my quest for even higher education.

The laundry list of home projects to be completed includes installing a surround in my bathroom and staining the front door. Ridiculous sounding, right? Not for me. If these things are completed before August 24, I'll be able to focus on the fact that I haven't been in a classroom in 25 years.

Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who likes a clean house before she goes on vacation. I don't know about you, but I'm always exhausted after a trip, and the last thing I want to do is walk into a filthy house. I'm certainly not well rested after a trip to Disney World, and cleaning a kitchen won't get me there either.

I guess it's the equivalent of getting new shoes and notebooks before the start of school. You're starting with a blank slate and everything is possible. The tools of your trade are fresh in your hands and there's a sense of exhilaration. This excitement will get you through the first class. It will take sheer willpower and limitless amounts of belief in yourself to get through the rest.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Second Career

Suddenly, I have more sympathy for my kids. My sixteen-year-old and I each got vaccinations today; well sort of. She got the last of the Gardasil trilogy, I got a tetanus shot, and had blood taken to see whether or not I'd had the MMR as a child. I had mumps as a child, so I guess the odds are high that I'll need another vaccination. Anyway, the phlebotomist took all my blood and gave me a cotton ball in return. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying my re-entry into higher education!

In addition to that, I got my financial aid award letter, and just like buying a new house, they're trying to lend me more money than I need. I've got to sit down with my financial advisor and make sure I don't borrow more than is absolutely necessary.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Going Back to School

One more piece of paperwork and I shall completely embrace a lifetime of stupidity and para professional positions which only pay ten dollars an hour. Today I had to request a transcript, I still have to get my family doctor to write off on the fact that I'm in good health, and filling out the FAFSA should be reserved as punishment for people who kick kittens and trip old ladies. No wonder the USA is behind the rest of the industrialized world in education. The paper work alone is enough to make you reach for that vest at WalMart.

But then of course you have to ask yourself, "How much do I want this?" And I must admit I really do. For years I've thought about the feasibility of getting a second degree, as has my husband, but it always seemed like we didn't have the time or money to put into the endeavor. Throw two or three kids into the mix and and the crush of commitment is suffocating.

At some point, the family will sit down around the kitchen table and talk about how this will affect their schedules. Correction, my teenage daughters will complain about how this will ruin their lives! The good old days of mom working from home are virtually over and for the next three years, I'll be working during the day and going to class at night. They'll have to assume more responsibility, which means I'll be even crankier because my house will be even messier.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I've chosen a field; well sort of.

I've been thinking about an advanced degree for the past three or four months. My first choice was a Masters in Social Work, with a desire to work with foster children and adoption. I was very close to registering for classes, but I just couldn't pull the perverbial trigger. Being an adult student puts even more restrictions on your choices. When you're 18, your biggest obstacles are whether or not you can get into the program you want and can your parents pay for your education. Let's add family, work, and more complicated finances to the mix. Clearly, you're not going away to school (no matter how much you'd like to), but grad school, even at the smallest schools, is not cheap.

The program I was looking at would have required one year of taking pre-requisites. Grad school part time means three years. The school I was considering didn't seem to have many classes at night, and that would be a problem for my work schedule. I had to look for other options.

I'd looked at every local college, except the one which is a mile from my home. A small Catholic university with a good reputation, I took a look at their website and found they had a Masters in Counseling. Counseling and social work are under the same umbrella of working with the public and helping them with their problems, offering referrals, etc. So, I called and made an appointment with the head of department that same evening.

When I told her I hadn't been in a classroom for twenty-five years, she joked and said, "Well, that has been a while!" Later, she told me the oldest person in her program was 66.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Second Career

With the economy being what it is, three kids who need a college education, and the ever increasing costs of living, I've been seriously thinking about going back to school. It's time for that second career! For the past twenty years or so, I've basically been at home with my kids and running a sewing business. Staying at home was very important to me, and it still is. Our house and lives just seem to run better when I'm at home. But reality has a way of hitting you in the face about some things, and it's almost impossible these days to make it on one and a half incomes.

So these are some of the things I've been thinking about: a Masters in Social Work, a Masters in counseling or an alternative teacher's certificate. There is a method to my madness. During my years at home, whenever I did venture out, it was in the capacity of helping others. Aside from helping out in the kids' schools, I've mentored children, taught adult education, tutored and managed non profit programs. I love helping people, so maybe I should get some kind advanced degree or certification in a field where I could continue to help and make a nice salary as well.

Picking a second career is the easy job. Trying to navigate today's education superhighway is not. With one daughter in college, I already know the hoops one has to jump through to get into school these days, and it's been just as annoying as I thought it would be. If you've been out of school for more than twenty years, schools ask for information that doesn't even exist anymore, like immunization records. I haven't a clue where they are, but rest assured that if I haven't contracted measles by now, it's not likely to happen. This is New Orleans, and those records could have been swept away by flood waters on more than a few occasions. What if they ask for your old test scores? You can't get any of that stuff without a PIN number. Guess what? There were no pin numbers in 1980!

Which schools do you look at; brick and mortar or online? I'm a little worried about the accreditation credentials of some of the online the schools. Most are accredited by some board, but if these boards are not recognized by the US Department of Education, potential employers may look at you sideways. After you've poured thousands into an education, imagine not being able to get a job in your field.

Speaking of thousands of dollars, how are you going to pay for your education? You're already tapped out because your oldest is already in school, and now you have to decide if you want to take on more debt in hopes of a larger payday in the future.

Research all your options. Talk to other moms who are juggling family, work and school. Will a couple of years of total insanity kill you or make you stronger? If after looking at all the options and realizing how much less time you''ll have to yourself, you still think you can do it, jump right into the deep end. I hope you can swim!