Midlife Crisis At 27

The Plan

The big question:
I’ve had various “plans” for school and life starting with computers right out of high school and now psychology. Why would I follow through with this, and none of the rest?

Computers was me not knowing at all what I wanted to be based on interests, but knowing the computer field made money, so it made sense. 9 years later, knowing myself like I do, I know I would not be able to pass those classes and I know I don’t have the interest or skill. Could I maybe learn the skill? Possibly. But it would be a struggle. The programming and networking classes I had in high school show me I’m pretty hopeless there. So this wasn’t me getting bored and moving on. This was me getting older and wiser and then moving on.

Next was small business management and photography. Yes, I have officially given up on this. Not because I got bored with it, but because I put in the hours at the camera store to know that professional photographers are struggling. There are too many professional photographers fighting for the attention of the moms with digital cameras who think they can do it themselves. Photography would be a great way to pick up some extra cash here and there, but I won’t be able to support my family with it. I won’t get my family off welfare with it. And I’m not going to spend years and money on school for a degree that will help my hobby, not my career. Yes, the small business management degree would be useful, but that’s not going to lead to a known career goal. It could pay off, it might not. It’s a risky investment.

Mathematics was one I toyed with. I would love that degree, sure. I’d be good at it, yes. But that’s with no known career goal in mind. Yes, it would help me in banking, but that’s assuming I like banking. We don’t know I will. There are many possible jobs, I’m sure, that a degree in maths could lead me to. But this takes us back to the small business management degree. It’s a risky investment that may or may not pay off.

This degree in psychology would be with a known career in mind: therapist. There are still some risks, ok. Am I too tactless to be a therapist? Maybe. But there are ways around that. There are therapists who deal with patients over the internet, in fact. Full paycheck and all, it’s just a chat room instead of an office. I can link to sites, and in fact plan to soon, of where you can find these therapists and where these therapists can find patients. Or, there are thousands of other professions that would put that degree to use. Yes, that allows the element of unknown back in, but that’s an element that will never be fully gone when college is involved.

There is also the, will I get through a few classes and go, “oh shit, I can’t do this!” factor. We are talking roughly 120K in student loans, that is an, “oh shit” we can’t afford! Well, the first few courses will have to be paid for out of pocket no matter what. 3 of those 4 classes are psyche course work. It will give me an idea of what I’m up against before a loan has been applied and signed for.

The Money Goal

The first 4 classes will hopefully be paid for by mom. I’m hoping to get them done in 2 chunks of 2 classes, but I can go ahead and do one class at a time if that’s what is needed to secure the financing. After those classes are done and passed, my GPA should be what it needs to be for me to get my aid back. As it stands, even with the dropped classes, my GPA is recorded at a 2.8 which isn’t that bad. It’s just not high enough for my aid. And I think the ratio of classes finished to classes dropped is working against me too. These 4 passes classes should solve both aspects of this.

After my aid is secured, I will look first into federal and then private if needed, student loans to take care of bills and living expenses while I focus on school full time. These loans will total roughly 120K. The goal will be to get my degrees as quickly as possible and not draw it out for a few decades. Ideally, this will be completed in 7 years, with me taking each summer semester off. I will agree to take a class during the semester though, if needed, to catch up if I’m behind. The loans will help make this possible, and dedication to getting school done quickly, should help reduce the cost of the loans.
While I’m actively in school, I’ll keep on track of looking into grants and scholarships I can add to the federal aid, to cut back on the loans needed. But there is no point in apply now, for something I won’t be able to use until a year from now. But as it stands, I’m already a recipient of most of the standard government grants, that’s what my aid is.

Up front I know my aid won’t 100% pay for my classes and books, if I follow the schedule CSCC has set up for me and I imagine OSU as well. I will probably have to go an extra semester here and there. The problem lies in a semester being set up at 21 credit hours at the most (for CSCC anyway), and that being too much when books are factored in, for the set pre-loan, aid amount. But, I only need to take 12 credit hours at a time to get my full aid. So I can go 7 or 8 semesters with it broken down some, instead of the 6 that they have pre-structured. Or if my loan goes through, and finances allow, I can cover the left over with my own pocket here and there.

School and Class Goals

First I will get the 2 year mental health degree that CSCC provides.
After that I will transfer to OSU and complete their 4 year Psychology degree.
After that, I’ll settle on a school, well long before that really, where I’ll go ahead and get my masters.

My first 2 semesters at CSCC that mom is paying for will look like this:

ENGL 101 @ 3 credit hours @ 237$
PSY 100 @ 5 credit hours @ 395$
For a total of 632$ plus books

MHAD 111 @ 4 credit hours @ 316$
MHAD 112 @ 3 credit hours @ 237$
For a total of 553$ plus books

These can be broken down to 3 or 4 semesters if needed. I will be working at the same time, so it might even be to my benefit. But if I am only working 20 hours a week, I would like to try and get these classes out of the way as quickly as possible so that I can get my aid secured and flip into full-time school mode.

What I don’t know is how much of the 2 year degree at CSCC will be able to be put towards OSU’s 4 year. I know some of it overlaps, I don’t know how much. It isn’t a matter of the classes not being taught well enough, it’s more whether or not they are the same classes in general. Infact, a lot of OSU students will take the basic classes, like math, at CSCC knowing that MATH xxx for them is MATH 103 at CSCC. I will sit down with someone and discuss this before I start anything. If they are the correct classes what I take at CSCC will transfer as long as my grades are high enough. My grades WILL be high enough.

Answers Before You Ask The Questions

9K a year income + 8K a year tax return, bpth fully gone times 7 years is 119K.  I rounded, but yes.

Can I work part time while I school full-time? I mean most college students do!
Yes, but most college students aren’t also balancing 3 kids and a husband.  If I try to balance all 3. 1 will suffer.  Which can I afford to have suffer?

So I’d be going to school full-time, at least 3 semesters a year for at least 7 years.  The government aid would cover classes, but I’d need to cover bills, and basic life necessities.  That’s what the loans would be for.

I’ve discussed this with both mom and Pat indepth.  There are still a lot of fears and what ifs.  But if things work right, I’m set.

So, I don’t know.  What am I missing?  Not thinking about?  I can’t afford to be blindsided.

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