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Minor Problems and Frustrations

So I know it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post.  Sorry about that!  But really, with classes starting in two weeks, you probably should just get used to it.

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It’s not that nothing’s been happening.  It has.  Just small-ish things that really don’t deserve their own post at this point.  But I thought I’d check in all the same, and write a bit of a hodge-podge post to summarize those things:

First Generation Student Program / Student ID Problems
Something I forgot to mention in my last post about the orientation I attended was that I briefly met the gentleman who is in charge of Career and Transfer Services.  In the very brief handful of minutes he was given to talk to our group, he mentioned that one of the things he administers is a program for First-Generation college students, to encourage and support them in successfully obtaining a 4-year college degree.  What got my attention is that if you sign up for the program and continue to meet all of the requirements (which basically means keeping your GPA up and utilizing the Tutoring Centers), you actually get a cash stipend every other semester to apply towards books or whatever.  And ya’ll know I’m all about dat free money, yo.

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Neither of my parents have degrees, so later that weekend I emailed him to see if I would qualify, even at my advanced age.  He said there’s no age limit on the program, and we arranged to meet at 4:30pm on last Wednesday to discuss it further and get me signed up.

Well, to make a long story short:  He stood me up.  His office door was wide open when I arrived, so I thought surely he’d be back soon.  But I waited until 5:05pm before I gave up, choosing to head across campus to try and accomplish another errand so that it wasn’t a completely wasted afternoon…

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Shortly after I got my Student ID Card a month or so ago, I noticed that there’s an extra digit just chillin’ in the middle of my student identification number.  It’s very obviously a typo and an easy one to make, so I wasn’t too fussed over it.  Just figured I’d get it fixed before the semester started at some point.  So since Old Boy never showed, I decided I’d save the day myself by heading over to Student Records to get that corrected.

Yeah, no.  Wrong.  I arrived at the Student Records office only to be told that their printer was down, and to check back net week (I haven’t).  So that was a bummer, and my trip to the campus really was a complete waste of time that day.

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When I got home I emailed the guy and politely called him out for blowing me off.  He was very apologetic, and we’ve been going back and forth regarding rescheduling, trying to nail down a day & time that works for both of us.  Still nothing confirmed, though.  I’ll let ya’ll know how it all works out!

Major Concerns
I kinda let the whole decision about my major slide away for the time-being, figuring it wouldn’t kill me to actually complete a semester or three or core curriculum classes before really stressing about it.

Yeah.  That didn’t last.

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Aaaaaand so I’m right back in that place again.  (Thanks, Anxiety!)  Today my thoughts were along the lines of:

Fuck it!  Why don’t I just major in something I’ll actually enjoy learning about, even if the career prospects for it are absolute garbage?!  Like Anthropology!  (Yes, I’m still stuck on the Anthropology thing… That shit looks absolutely fascinating to me, even if it is utterly useless!)  Or Creative Writing!  Or Psychology!  Or whatever!

And in addition to that, why don’t I just minor in Hospitality and Tourism Management, and treat that as my fall back!  (Because really, the more and more I look at the Major program requirements, the more I just want to curl up and sob like a little bitch.)  But on the other hand, do employers really give any flavors of fucks about your minor, or just your major?  Plus aren’t the two supposed to be somewhat related, or at least complimentary?  Does any of this shit even matter at all?

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Financial Aid
So while we’re talking about the fucking awesome choices I’m not making regarding this extremely important investment in my future, let’s talk about the money I’m gonna spend on it!  Or not spend, at least for now.  I think.  Things finally happened with my Financial Aid.  Sorta.  Confusing things that need clarification, so I’m not prepared to go into detail quite yet.  But for now I’ll just say there’s money on the way, I just need to have a chat with my boy Fernando to clarify the amounts, disbursement intervals, etc.  Hopefully I’ll have more details the next time.  So at least that’s exciting stuff though, right?!

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All The Turkey Legs

Remember how I predicted that I would be back this week with another potential change to my degree plans? Well, here we are.  Who’s surprised? Show of hands? Anybody?

No? Okay, then let’s continue.

This time it’s not a terribly drastic change, I promise…

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So I took another look at the University of Central Florida‘s online bachelor’s degree programs, specifically that Creative Writing degree.  Despite last week’s assertions of “I don’t like writing silly fufu fiction!,” I have to admit that I do still feel drawn to this school and this program. When I look over the degree requirements, I just feel like I would enjoy this course of study more… Even if it means that the potential career options aren’t quite as numerous or adulty.

As it’s an English degree, it requires more Literature courses, and most of you already know what a bookworm I am. (Or at least I was until recently. The hours that previously were dedicated to recreational reading have been seasonally usurped by my Algebra studies.) So that’s right on up my nerdy alley.

Plus, this program offers more courses focusing specifically on Writing, which is the skill I’m most looking to hone. I’d have to take a few classes and workshops in Fiction and Poetry, etc, but is that really so bad? Yes, it would certainly be challenging for me, and it would force me out of my writing comfort zone. However, maybe that’s a good thing? I’m sure that would likely make me a better writer in the long run, and isn’t that the entire point?

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However, all of this doesn’t necessarily mean I would have to completely abandon the idea of also developing a skill set that would help me to qualify for jobs in advertising and marketing. Today I discovered UCF’s online minor in Mass Communications, which would add the following courses to my curriculum:

  • MMC 2004: Mass Media
  • MMC 3630: Social Media as Mass Communication
  • ADV 3008: Principles of Advertising
  • RTV 3007: Development and Structure of Electronic Media and New Technology
  • VIC 3001: Visual Communication
  • COM 3330: Computer Mediated Communication

So basically, I would walk away from school with a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a Concentration in Creative Writing and a Minor in Mass Communications. By adding that minor (instead of something neat like Anthropology, as previously suggested), I’m creating a program for myself that is kinda-sorta similar to the track I would have been on an SNHU, but lighter on the marketing & communications classes and heavier on the literature & writing classes.

Plus, I’m not gonna lie, the fact that the school is located in Orlando is a huge selling point for me. The reasons are primarily because the location satisfies my preference of a main campus within a 5-hour range, and it’s nice that it’s a drive that I’m already super familiar with.

And. Also. Like. I mean. You know. DISNEY WORLD, OKAY?!?! Which yes, I do fully realize should NOT be factoring into my choice of a school at all. But I am who I am. Don’t judge me.

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Eat ALL the turkey legs.  All of them.

Seriously, though. I still haven’t given up on my long-held dreams of relocating to the central Florida area within the next few years, and I likely never will. (Not that I currently have an actual plan for how to make that happen yet or anything.) So if I do manage to accomplish that goal, then gaining frequent access to the campus and it’s resources would be incredibly helpful during my studies.

Sigh. Why must making this decision be so ridiculously difficult for me, ya’ll?

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0

Adulthood Is A Bitch

Get comfortable, dear reader, because this is gonna be a lengthy one. Why, you ask? Because I think I might be scrapping the whole Clinical Mental Health Counselor career path.

 

I know, I know. I sound flaky as fuck right now. But but but reasons! I have them!

Basically, as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I’ve never been 100% comfortable with the idea of having to go to grad school in order to make my Bachelors worth anything. If I complete my B.A./B.S. and then decide that I want to go to grad school at that point, that’s whole ‘nother story. But with my advanced age as I start out my undergraduate degree, I’ve just not been in love with the idea of feeling obligated to continue on to grad school. But I was willing to suck it up and just accept it as part of my academic path.

Now I’ve known all along that in order to obtain my licensure as an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), after grad school I would have to work for a couple of years as an Intern (or LPC-I), under direct supervision. Cool, sure, no worries. Right?

 

Yeah, about that.  What I learned this week is that supervision doesn’t come free. Well, let me back up… It theoretically can if after grad school you land a job interning with a agency who provides your supervision hours as part of your employment with them. It’s considered a perk of the job. However, those opportunities are fewer than you might think (especially in a small town like mine), and the ones that do exist are extremely competitive.

Because of these factors, most LPC-I’s have to find supervision in private practice, and that costs money. Big money. Like, $100-200 per week. For real, ya’ll. So let’s use some of my blossoming fancy math skills, shall we? Based on the median weekly amount of $150 per week, the equation looks something like this:

($150 x 52 weeks) 2 years = $15,600

 

Keep in mind this is AFTER grad school, so no more grants, no more loans, no financial aid at all. That cool 15 Grand+ would be coming completely out of my relatively empty, freshly-graduated pocket.

 

Can you actually hear my feet on the floor, backpedaling like a boss right now? (They’re pretty big feet, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you could.)

 

 

Needless to say, I’m feeling quite discouraged about the LPC career path now, and reevaluating all the choices I’ve made up to this point. Getting my Bachelor’s in Psychology isn’t going to lead me anywhere I want to be without having to follow it up with grad school and licensure, so I’ve been exploring other options.

The first and closest online equivalent I’ve found would be to get a Bachelor of Science in Human Services. It’s administered through the University of South Carolina, right here at the Beaufort campus. With it, I could go on to become a Substance Abuse Counselor. No grad school required, but I would still have to intern and do supervised hours for two years. However, from everything I’m reading, the opportunities for employment that provides your supervision are far more numerous. But would I enjoy it? Ehh. Maybe? I’m not sure. If I’m being completely honest, I just don’t feel quite so drawn to this field as I did Mental Health counseling.  And also because, well…

 

Another option from USC is one that I’ve mentioned before, the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, which is administered online through the main campus up in Columbia. I would probably enjoy the coursework for the major, as I could focus on Psychology, Sociology, and English courses. And at the end of 4-5 years, I would be able to say “Hey, look! I got me a Bachelor’s degree, ya’ll!” But on it’s own, it would be worth about as much as that Psychology degree that I’m reconsidering. Hrmph.

So that got me to thinking… What if I did get me a good old “useless” degree after all?  Instead of worrying about career paths and earning potential and adulting, what if I just majored in something I would enjoy? I mean, I have a decent job that I love. I’m already far beyond entry-level. And wasn’t the entire original point of me going back to college more personal than professional anyhow? To finish what I started 20 years ago?

Which leads me to…

 

 

Yeah… Writing.  Oh, come on, don’t look at me like that.  And really, I mean, if you’re reading and enjoying this blog right now, that idea hopefully doesn’t shock you. (Unless it does, and you’re only reading this blog right now to mock me to your co-workers, which I acknowledge is entirely possible.) After all, I mean, I did get that perfect score on the writing section of my placement exams. So maaaaybe there’s something to that worth exploring?

 

After some research, I’ve created a shortlist of schools that I would be interested in transferring to, all of which offer online Bachelor’s degrees in English with a concentration in Writing:

 

 

#3: University of Colorado (Denver Campus), Bachelor of Arts in English Writing
UC Denver is an extremely reputable school and is definitely a great option (hence why it made the list), but of the three, it has the most drawbacks for me. I don’t love that it’s all the way in Colorado should I need to visit the campus. Also, it’s coursework has slightly less focus on creative writing and more on technical writing, which is both good and bad: It would probably be better for employment opportunities, but also pretty boring. It’s also the most expensive of my current three choices, coming in at $467 per hour.

#2: Southern New Hampshire University, Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing & English
Yes, the same SNHU that you see the commercials for. I hesitated on this one, as generally the majority of the mass-marketed online schools are just for-profit diploma mills. But I did a lot of research, and it turns out that SNHU is completely legit, and their online programs are very much geared towards online non-traditional students like myself. And at $320 per hour, it’s the most affordable.

 

#1: University of Central Florida, Bachelor of Arts in English: Creative Writing
This program seems to have the most of what I’m looking for: A creative Writing bachelor’s program that can be completed online, strong support for online students, an entire Transfer & Transition Services department that I can speak with while I’m at my community college these next two years to make sure I’m on the right track for an eventual transfer to UCF, prerequisites that I can actually complete at TCL, and a main campus located within a 5-hour driving distance from me. In fact, it’s a drive I’m extremely familiar with and make at least once a year anyhow. That’s right, ya’ll… UCF is located in Orlando. And as far as price goes, it’s only a little more than SNHU at $384 per credit hour.

As far as a minor goes, I probably should minor in something related to my major, like Technical Writing or Journalism.  Orrrrr I could just minor in something fun, right?  You know, like Anthropology!

 

I’m totally serious, James Franco.  I mean, for fuck’s sake, just look at the titles of the courses I would get to choose from!

  • ANT 3026: Mummies, Zombies, and Vampires: Anthropology of the Undead
  • ANT 3107: Blood and Valor in the Viking World
  • ANT 3177: Archaeology of Caribbean Piracy
  • ANT 3241: Magic, Ritual, and Belief
  • ANT 4013: Anthropology of Fast Food
I’m #sorrynotsorry, but that all sounds completely freakin’ AWESOME to me.

 

But anyhow.  All of that being said, if after completing my Bachelor’s I decide that I do want to continue on to grad school after all, I have an extremely convenient option. Savannah College of Art and Design, just an hour down the road from me, offers a fully-online Master of Fine Arts in Writing. So clearly, SCAD would be the obvious choice for my graduate degree.

 

 

So that’s kinda where things stand now. Or not stand, since they’re all up in the air. That’s where things float now? Whatever. More importantly, how on Earth is it even possible that I’m 36 years old and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up?