Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A New Schedule

This, so far, has been an interesting and different week. Yes, I started back up again with the college. Heres some history:

I was involved in the "Running Start" program through the High School that enabled Juniors and Seniors to attend the community college while still finishing up for their diploma. Some students, if lucky and worked hard, could even graudate High School with their Associates Degree in hand, hence the name of the program giving them a "running start". I only joined this program in my senior year as a half time student, so that option wasnt available. However, I did take advantage of the "free" college tuition while I could (the High School paid). I ended my High School career with roughly twenty college credits.

I had been applying for scholarships and financial aid like mad for the upcoming "sophomore" year at the college. I had been awarded generously by two scholarships: one from the local Rotary Club, and another from the college's Foundation Program. I was able to take another half time year, basically free of charge to myself. In this year, however, I went from a part time job to a full time job, and had a hard time balancing my time and schedule. For the first time in my academic life, my grades were suffering. A graduate of high school with a GPA of 3.5 and making the honor roll, this felt like a huge failure to my perfectionist self.

With my scholarship funds depleted, my desire to not take out a huge student loan I would be paying off the rest of my life, and only 38 credits counting towards the required 90 for the degree, I all but gave up.

I instead focused on my full time job, and of course, my horse.

Its been a good ride now. After nearly three years in the retail and western clothing industry, I finally landed a higher paying job with the company I work for now, as an Administrative Assistant. It isnt my dream job by far, as this is the company's accounting office and my brain does not work in numbers. However, it pays the bills and will help my work experience grow on my resume when the time comes to get a new job. It was grossly apparent, however, when I was searching for a new job just over a year ago now, how imperative a college degree really is. My boss even told me just having that diploma would be reaping me far more money every hour.

Thats kind of hard to hear.

So its with a big sigh and a somewhat level of motivation, to go back to school. My company provides a kind tuition reimbursement program for employees attending school and classes in a way that will better their jobs within the company. Administrative positions reap some amount, while supervisors and managers take more. I fall into the first of course. So that allowed me to go back to school this spring quarter, until I get retroed the money from the college's financial aid program, although I dont suspect it will be too much.

Af far as the coming quarters, Im not positive how they will be paid, as I dont know how much the college is willing to provide each quarter. Im assuming not enough to cover full tuition costs. They do offer a STEP program, where basically you can pay X amount weekly and have it paid off by the end of the quarter - this is the route my twin sister is taking towards paying for her degree. I might just have to step on that bandwagon, I certainly will before taking out a loan.

What does this mean for Milo?

Well, my schedule has changed of course. While I still work the Mon-Fri 40 hour week job, it means some of my Milo time is being pushed aside to make room for evening classes. I scheduled for a class Monday and Wednesday nights, two typical nights I would spend at the barn, and an online class. Not ok with the notion of only getting to ride my horse three times a week (I know, I know, many of you probably can only make room for that much and I should consider myself lucky) I found a way to still make it out there four times a week (plus weekends as I can manage them, ie horse shows, etc), and its not through riding after school.

My boss has been super nice in letting me change my schedule around to meet my horse needs. Fridays for instance he lets me come in early and get off early to accomodate for my weekly pasture cleaning. Now, I offered him the idea of me starting work an hour early, providing for a two hour lunch, and still finishing work at the desired time (phone coverage is imperative), then riding afterwards. This will be on Mondays only. He was fine with the idea and said I could start the new schedule next week.

So, I can ride Monday afternoons (added bonus: less lessons in the daytime), Tuesday evenings, not Wednesdays as thats a school evening, then Thursday and Friday. Im pretty pleased with the schedule, and feel that two hours on lunch break alots for a good ride. I just cant mosey around as much as I normally do. I dont like riding on a time constraint, but even if this only allows me to groom and longe my horse, Im all for the additional day of Milo-time.

I do this all for you, Milo. All for you.


in2paints said...

Congratulations on going back to school! I know exactly how you feel, as I've been struggling to get my degree too. It's been SEVEN years in the making but I graduate this quarter and I'm super excited to finally be done. I wish I could have done it without loans, but that just wasn't possible.

Kudos to you for taking this step, and it will certainly benefit you and Milo in the long run.

kel said...

Congrats on going back to school. That is one of the most important things you can do for yourself for the long term. I wish I had the fore sight to have done it all those years ago. It sounds like you have it under control!