37, Divorced & Turning It All Around With College

Yesterday we featured a younger student, Stephanie, who thought she might be too old for campus life at the ripe old age of 22. Today we feature Leeja, who, at 37, is ready to dive in.

Hi Josh,

I’m 37 years old and have a son who will be a high school senior in the fall. I have 19 years of experience in accounting, a profession I didn’t choose, but went into out of necessity when I married a man with a new company who couldn’t afford a bookkeeper. In 2005, I divorced the man I’d given 15 years of my life to, who refused to “let” me go to college (I think he was scared I would make more money than him and wouldn’t “need” him anymore).

Yikes. That’s a rotten story, man, but all too common as you probably know. Glad you’re at the beginning of turning things around. That’s one of my favorite movie quotes of all time — “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around,” from Vanilla Sky. I never met anyone else who liked that movie but me. But I digress…

Two and a half years ago, with the encouragement of my boyfriend who is a college professor at a major university, I signed up for University of Phoenix’s online program. By this time, I had moved the 45 miles from where I had lived for 15 years to the college town where he lived, and found quickly that I would not be able to get a decent job without a bachelor’s degree, so I chose UoP because they had a ground campus in the city where I work.

What's underneath the mask for Leeja? And am I the only person who really liked "Vanilla Sky"?

Good choice, in my opinion. U of P has its naysayers, many of whom have commented here on other posts I’ve made, but I’m still a cheerleader for that school when it’s all said and done. I know lots of people who’ve realized a lot of career benefit from a U of P education.

I finished my Associates of Arts in Accounting last September and went straight into the bachelor’s program. I’m 24 credits into the bachelors program now and I know just as much now as when I wanted to go to school when I was married that I do not want to be a bookkeeper all my life, and I definitely don’t want to be a CPA. What I think I would really like to do is be a certified financial planner.

Sounds great. CFPs do brisk business now, and I imagine they always will here in the U.S., where an overwhelming majority do very little investing or planning until it’s late in the game (in which case, they’ll be coming to folks like you for help).

I know that both of these directions are viable long-term career options from a standpoint of job security within the US. I also know that since I’m commuting, the accounting being more familiar to me allows me to skate through my classes much easier than most of my classmates in the accounting program (I currently have a 3.89 GPA).


Because I commute almost an hour each way to work, this has been nice in a way, but I also don’t really feel challenged, and isn’t that supposed to be what being in college is about?

Well, maybe. That’s up to every person. Sure, challenging oneself intellectually has been part of the college sales pitch for a long time, but sometimes people just go for the ticket-punch you need to get their foot in the door at the job they want. Either way is fine in my book — get out of college what you want to get out of it, and don’t let other people’s conceptions of what it’s supposed to be factor in too much.

Now, it’s not that I’m down on intellectual challenges; I’m all for them. Just remember, though, anymore, you don’t need a spendy college education to enjoy intellectual challenges. The Internet provides access, for all intents and purposes, to most of the world’s known information. I mentioned a couple days back that iTunes U offers free, full video/online courses from top universities like Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, and many more that are yours for the taking whenever you want them. MIT offers all (or very nearly all) of their courses online for free. I’m just saying, as far as intellectual challenges go, there are cheap options, too. 🙂

So anyway, here’s my dilemma. I’m looking at the course list for the accounting program and I’m looking at the class list for the finance program, and they are exactly the same until the class I finish the end of February. Only the last 6 classes are different. So, which degree will give me the most flexibility without disqualifying me for accounting positions until I can get to my dream job?

Well, probably accounting, but if only the last six courses are different, I wouldn’t guess that you’d gain or lose much flexibility by choosing either one. I just figure that, if you’re going to work as an accountant while you’re biding your time to become a CFP, then accounting is probably the best degree to have for that.

You might get a little more CFP-type knowledge with the finance degree, but not enough to make a difference. Remember, to fulfill the education portion of a CFP certification, you just have to have a four-year college degree (in anything) from an accredited university. You’re covered there whichever degree you choose.

Then, you have to pass the CFP exam, and then, you have to work full-time for three years in financial planning BEFORE you can actually get the fancy “CFP” after your name on your shingle and your business cards. My point is — the choice between a finance degree and an accounting degree doesn’t affect any of those additional criteria; instead, it’s basically a choice you’ll make to ensure you can get accounting jobs, in which case, I’d think accounting would be best.

By the way, I shouted you up on my Facebook page!

Auburn, Alabama

Thanks for the question and the link love! What about you guys — what do you think Leeja should do? Let us know in the comments below.

37 thoughts on “37, Divorced & Turning It All Around With College”

  1. If everything is going in that direction for you such as finances, you really have nothing to lose. I say “Go for it.”

  2. I would say that you are better trying to earn an accounting degree. Being a financial planner is really a sales career, especially at the beginning of you career. A finance degree will probably not help you significantly against an accounting degree because only the most sophisticated instruments are covered in finance courses, such as derivatives, opinions, currency swaps. Unless you are interested in learning about academic stuff in finance, I do not see this as a benefit.
    Consider a double major, since it is only going to add a couple of semesters.
    Also consider that your son will need financial assistance if he is headed to college. No matter what, it will be both a difficult time being in college in the same time as your son, but it will be rewarding.

  3. Charne' Thomas

    I feel if you are finacially stable go for it. Since there is not a major difference in the course schedule choose either one. The sky is the limit. Have faith in yourself dear and work for it and you will be fine.

  4. If that’s where your heart is, go for it or regret it forever!!! My father was old-school, European; he didn’t believe girls should go to college so I wasn’t allowed to go. When he died, I decided to go. I completed my bachelors’s degree in 2007. I began my master’s but had to put in on hold recently once again because of family health issues. The good news is that I graduated at the top of my class; the bad news is that I’m just about sixty and I haven’t found any employer in my field of interest who wants someone my age with no experience when there are so many younger candidates to choose from.
    I’d love to finish my master’s degree but now I have to question this because I don’t know whether a master’s degree at my age will really improve my employability.

    1. Charlotte Hyatt

      If I were you, I would use my skills on the Internet. You could set up a website or blog of a combination of articles you have written and others you have found. Ask people to comment/add some personal experiences/ask questions. That would allow you to display our expertise and become known. Be sure to join LinkIn and Facebook and connect with people who know you from school as well as personally. Writing ebooks, submitting articles, applying for anything on Elance, Guru, etc., to get positive attention, which leads to notoriety. You may not have thought of the web because our generation did not grow up with it but I will be following my own advice when I graduate with my Bachelors Degree in Business Management in June 2011 – at the ripe old age of 60! You never know who is reading the website/blog’s of today.

      And your Masters will help, if only to increase/expand your personal knowledge. And if the web stuff leads to $$$, you won’t have to worry about the student loan’s you (and I) are racking up:).

      God bless you as you work for Him!

  5. It is never too late to further your education. Some businesses will pay for your college experience if you sign a contract that says you will work for them w/ some other agreements. I just had to transfer from U of Phoenix b/c of a financial setback, but am determined to not stop my education until I feel that I am ready to work my chosen career-field. I say stick w/ it & when your done w/ your education, mentally, you can feel much better about yourself than your feeling right now. Good luck!

  6. First of all its great you are going back to school! Good for you for empowering herself again and getting her education 🙂 Next I don’t think she should discredit the accounting classes just yet. My best friend is brilliant in the subject and she found many of the classes difficult and challenging. Also with the CPA exam there are new rules for even taking the exam now so be sure to do your homework on the requirements and stuff like that. Otherwise, again good for you for going back to school!

  7. Only you know if your ready to go back, or not. No one can make that decision but you.Understand that letting goof a marriage isn’t a quick fix, long after the marriage is over, we tend to “hear” those voices that have told us we can’t for a long long time. So,the question is “what do YOU want to do?”

  8. Wow way to go on deciding to go back to college. Don’t be scared to finish your golas. Keep going to school and do your best, your accomplishments will show further down the road, trust me.

  9. I would co with the CFP if I were you. The courses are almost exactly the same and you already got several years accounting experience, which might get you a steady job on your way to your dream career anyway. But I might worry about telling your potential bosses about your plan to eventually leave them, which a CFP degree might say. Well, its up to you. Good Luck!

  10. Thank you all for the comments so far! Josh, I’m happy to finally see someone outside of UoP who thinks it’s a good program. You can see by the look on some people’s faces when you tell them you’re going there that they’re laughing on the inside because of all the negative publicity the school gets about being a so-called “diploma factory,” but the classes aren’t easy and many of my classmates struggle in every class. I’m taking two statistics classes in a row now and scared to death it’s going to damage my GPA. I have seen several local job ads lately that required a 3.90 of better GPA, and I’m at 3.89 now.

    The consensus seems to be that the accounting degree is the way to go. Ed mentioned in his comment about doing a double major. I have a call in to check into it again, but when I was enrolling in the bachelor’s program, my advisor told me if I did a double major I would have to take that entire program also, an additional two years. Comparing the two, it doesn’t make much sense to me to have to take “fillers” for most of 2 years to get the double major. An additional 30 weeks of school is very doable, but I don’t think I can make an additional 2 years of commuting 50 miles each way to work in the next state. I’m also going to check out iTunesU!!!

    There has also been mention of my son being in college at the same time, but unfortunately at this time it doesn’t look good on that front, even though he wants to be a video game programmer. I got the following from his guidance counselor today:

    “In order for him to graduate in May 2011, he must take and pass the following courses: 2 science courses, Pre-Calculus,

  11. @Karen. It really kind of depends on what the degree and masters is in. Most younger people are getting a university degree these days, so there is considerable discrimination against younger workers in over-represented fields. It might not only be an age thing. They key thing is to pick a field that is more in demand, if they have enough demand for those skills they might overlook age. If there are an oversupply of people willing to provide those skills they are a lot less likely to.

    The lack of experience thing is also likely to get more than just older people, have you tried going for an internship? That might provide a bridge into your field and you’d probably just have to explain why you wanted to do one if you were so much older. Businesses might be more likely to take a chance on free or lower cost labor.

  12. Let me make this really brief. First, congrats on all the achievements…far too many people in your shoes let themselves stay miserable. You should be proud. Second, as far as your degree decision goes: I would pick the accounting just to have a solid base in the field where you have experience UNLESS (important unless) the finance major will help you in passing the certification exam. If it will really help you get ahead as far as passing the boards, I would go ahead and choose that one since no one is going to question your accounting background. Good luck!

  13. I just love you for going for school Leeja! Hoooray! I think you are an inspiration for many women I know who wouldn’t go back to college… Thank you for posting!

  14. The double major may still be worth looking at. I’ve changed majors and schools many times (I’m at my sixth college into getting my bachelors), and have had many advisors, good and bad. Advisors do not always know what they’re talking about, and from my experience they actually know very little outside of the major they advise. I’ve also had advisors try really hard to talk me out of doing things I really wanted to do, including taking a second major, and I am so glad I didn’t listen to them those times. Anyway, one major benefit I see to it in your situation is that, while I doubt your advisor’s contention that you would have two extra years of school, you would probably have an extra semester or maybe two, with some extra time slots spread throughout (you would be more likely to have necessary courses with conflicting times), which would allow you to take some interesting elective courses, since you mentioned not being challenged in your current coursework. Anyway, if you were really considering it before, get a second or third opinion about how much longer it would actually take.

    On another note, about your son, while three courses is not all that big of an obstacle, if it really seems he may not graduate high school, look into a local HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma) program. It works similarly to a GED, but the diploma carries the same weight as a regular diploma, and will get your son into most, if not all, community colleges without even taking the ACT/SAT, and any college coursework will exempt him from taking those exams for admission to university. Moreover, the programs are still part of the local school district (and thus free), and in my case took place in a community college, which gave me the opportunity to take several courses there (also free) before I finished high school. I still look back at dropping out of high school as the best decision I ever made. (BTW Josh, I have never met anyone who has heard of an HSED, including any of my college advisors, you may want to feature something about them)

  15. I think that you should continue earning your bachelor’s degree in accounting. It will provide you with a cushion while you prepare the CFP exam and a career in certified financial planning.

  16. I really don’t think you’re going to loose flexibility if you choose either degree. It’s important that you don’t WANT to continue working in accounting, what do you think is really going to happen then if you get the accounting degree? If you’re worried about loosing options by picking the other degree, remember that experience DOES count for something.

    It might not count as much as a degree, but with only six classes as the difference between the two degrees, what is there really to lose? Except maybe the happiness of future careers? That seems like a big deterent for picking accounting when you know that isn’t what you want.

    As far as your son is concerned, it might be worth noting to him that many (it might be more correct to say most) video game developers are into Math….sometimes science too… The GED idea is an option, but my understanding of it is that while it IS the same as a diploma, it’s kind of the ‘poor cousin’ of diplomas. Holds the same weight in theory, but is frowned on by many.

  17. Leeja — Yes, congratulations, and everyone’s comments were right on. Despite any degree area, despite the competition, I strongly urge you consider programs which enable you to contract with the government. Finance, accounting…interior decorating for that matter, given your circumstances (gender), you (and others reading) may wish to consider selling your services to the various hundreds of government agencies out there. If at present your net worth is less than $250,000, you may certify with your state (certification is free, just a few forms indicating where your expertise lies) as an individual conducting business, sole proprietor status, or you can incorporate ($75 online in most states–but you must get the bylaws and board all in order). The programs (one called EDGE male/female, any race/any color inclusive) will enable you to be placed in a pool of bidders to carry out professional functions available throughout your state. Depending upon your profession, you may be the only one to service the entire state! The down side to this is that you must be in the business for at least one year to participate: so start doing some Finance work (or accounting) for your friends and neighbors today. (Did you know that “services exchanged” is considered earned compensation for work completed…so if some can’t pay, perhaps there’s a service they can provide in return!) Check with your state to validate my comments.

    By the way, my struggle was very similar to yours…very. Except, I was in an abusive marriage for 7 years (worked at a college the entire time, and had to sneak college courses in at my lunch hour); my major, “Broadcast Communications”. By the time I divorced, I was 26. A rape at that college, at age 28, led to the birth of twins and tremendous weight gain (from 4 to 24!) I had to change my career goals. Two more ended marriages (I elected not to follow #2 to his eastern country to live, and discovered #3 was on the DL!), another son and second set of twins later, I decided that going for an engineering degree was the direction I needed to go. (I own my own business, but my goal is to produce and manufacture some of my inventions.) Well, long story short, Friday I received my Associates in the Div. of Math, Science and Engineering, Industrial Engineering! I am going to go on to obtain my Bachelors Manufacturing Eng. (though Mechanical Design is also my desire). But in either case, I WILL achieve my goals! SO WILL YOU, LEEJA

  18. I was recently in your situation but unlike you my children are still young. I tried college but found the traditional colleges didn’t work with the needs of non-trad students. I looked up online options but couldn’t afford them. However I am up for a decent position in my field that will take my associates, and has incentives for furthering your education.
    My advice to you is continue with the accounting degree, and check with the larger financial planning companies, like morgan stanley, smith barney, merrill lynch and others. They offer paid training in financial planning and many other incentives. They usually require a commitment of about 2 years after training but it will give you valuable experience and 2 years of your life at this point will not set you back (I’m the same age as you so I’m familiar with the situation). It will also give you a better idea if that’s the right path for you.Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

  19. Sorry I had to add something about the GED your son may consider: The stigma associated with the GED is personal not universal. I got my GED and have been accepted into 5 colleges in 3 different states. I only had to take some placement exams which I passed since those also measured “general educational” abilities The G and the E in GED. I also never had a problem getting a job which was something I chose to do right after high school instead of go straight to college. My eldest son (now 21) made the same decision [GED] he also tried college early on but decided against it. I know this is a college website so I will add that I feel my eldest will learn on his own that a college education is preferable, however if that is not his choice I will support him either way. Considering your own brave choice I have no doubt you will with your son also!

  20. Marchia, you’re a warrior! A single parent of 5 children and you still finished an engineering degree! My ex-husband was verbally, psychologically, and emotionally abusive for most of our relationship. The physical abuse didn’t come until I started standing up to him, and even though he only hit me once, the hands to the throat and holding me down threatening to smash my head in were more than enough to count. My boyfriend teaches chemical engineering, so I know how hard it is to get through the engineering program. You’re a bigger person than I am for taking it on!

    Ross, she called me back today, but we missed each other and I worked 2 hours late today. Hopefully I’ll have some good news Monday about the double major!

    The one thing I can say about my son is that he and I both agree that quitting school and getting his GED is not an option. We’ve talked about how important it is to finish what you start and how everyone he knows in the family has quit school, and he sees where it has gotten them. Unfortunately, he seems to think he can learn everything he needs to know to be a video game programmer without going to school for it, and can just walk into the profession. We’ve also had many discussions about narrowing himself to video games with the number of companies off-shoring jobs, with me encouraging him to broaden his expertise and write games on the side or take the opportunity if a golden apple falls to him, but having the ability to do so much more.

  21. It seems everyone thought I was talking about a GED. An HSED is not the same thing as a GED. GED’s can also get you into many colleges and universities, but it is not considered equivalent to a high school diploma. An HSED is an alternative way of finishing high school, and it is considered completely equivalent to a regular diploma. You even graduate with your class and attend the ceremony. Only current high school students under age 18 can obtain it (hence it is not quitting, although you do technically drop out first). The only similarity with the GED is that you have to take all of the GED tests as part of the requirements. In my case I failed my freshman year of high school, so the following year I enrolled in this program and actually graduated a year early, and already had 7 college credits (not AP courses but actual college courses, paid for by my high school), which exempted me from taking the ACT or SAT.

    I still don’t think it would apply in your case anyway, since it seems your son only needs 3 courses to graduate, but whenever anyone is worried about themselves or their children not graduating from high school (or even about graduating with a low GPA), I want to make sure they know the HSED is an option that in some cases is actually better than regular high school. If I had graduated regular high school, I would have had a much harder time getting into college than I’ve had with an HSED. But still nobody seems to know about it, and schools rarely inform parents and students about it.

    Also, I happen to have studied in Japan and study Japanese. Many of the best-selling, most popular games are still made in Japan, and if he could speak Japanese he could either get a job with a game company in Japan, or he would have an edge with most US companies. It would also help him out in any field besides games, if that didn’t work out. But still games are not like other computer fields, more and more games are being developed in the US (where 10 years ago almost all were made in Japan), so it is actually a growing field, not the other way around.

  22. It actually cut off my first response. The list of what he needs to graduate is:

    2 science courses
    ½ Eng. 11 (can be taken in credit recovery-last half only needed)
    Eng. 12
    U.S. History 11 (must take course-failed AP US History with a 26 average)
    Am. Gov’t/Econ
    ½ Fitness

    He also doesn’t want to drop band and really needs driver’s ed, which he’s already scheduled to take. This year, he just didn’t care. He started another battle with depression, which we promptly tried to get under control, but once his head dipped below water the first time, he just let himself sink to the bottom of the pool and didn’t try to get back up, even after he got straightened back out with the depression. He wants to get all A’s next year so he can earn the trip to Hawaii after graduation that my boyfriend promised him, but I’m scared the first time he gets a B, he’s going to stop trying again. He’ll be 18 in November, so I’m not sure that the HSED will even be an option for him.

  23. Never give up hope. You are paving a way for your son to follow. You may not see it now; and, I realize depression is so hard on teens and their parents. The fact that you have taken the plunge as I did at 32 makes a huge impression on your kids.
    Relating to your son as a student working her butt off to get good grades may be an open door for you. If you sat down with him and talked of your own struggles and where you may have some weaknesses, he won’t be so afraid to talk about his own.He may be dealing with issues of self worth and comparing himself to others that may not be having as hard of a time in school. This is very common in teens. One thing about kids is their constant need of approval from their parents. One thing I have always practiced with my children is laud them for all of their successes ,no matter how small ,and you will find these smaller successes eventually grow into mountains of achievement. When a grade of a D is raised to a C, it’s a big deal. It’s not an A; but, it is a grade change moving in the upward direction. Make a huge deal of that C and you will see that C turn into a B and then an A.
    When he slips and begins to go under, be his life jacket. Let him know he is not alone. Bring up your own struggles. Again, relating to him on that level will let him know he is not the only one who has challenges and he may open up more, and be more willing to work with you and his teachers.
    I had this same problem with my oldest daughter too. When I told her that I too had problems with math and social studies and had to spend more time on those subjects than everyone else, she was shocked. She said “but, mom, you are so smart and in college and you get A’s. ” I told her that was because “I learned how to spend more time with my classwork, stopped being afraid to ask questions and stopped caring what my so called friends said. School is important and so are you and I never gave up on me then and I will never give up on you now. I will be here for you always and we will get through this together.”

    Good luck, I know you will be successful and so will your son!

  24. As I said before, I dropped out my second year of high school. I failed freshman English 3 times, and was about to fail it a fourth when I dropped out. My first semester in college I got an A in writing. Besides maintaining a high GPA and getting an A on nearly every paper I’ve turned in in college, I’ve also been teaching English to foreign learners and in other countries for several years. I don’t mean to jump on the bandwagon of trashing public education, but if I become a writer or an English teacher (my two most likely career goals), yet I failed high school English several times, there must have been a problem with the school. I’ve gone back since, and my old high school is even more repressive than when I was there (electronic gates, metal detectors, etc.). My poor performance contributed to my teenage depression, which turned around instantly upon my success in higher education. It’s admirable of your son to not want to “quit,” but don’t ignore the possibility that your son is simply incompatible with the high school style of education. This is a possibility that should be explored more and more in teenagers, I believe.

    Anyway, he only needs to enroll in the program before 18, but actually cannot complete it until after he turns 18, so he is at an ideal age. My birthday is in May, so I had to wait several months to take my final test, while I had finished all the other tests and other requirements the previous fall. This turned out for the better, as attendance was still required, and I learned to use my free time at school reading and becoming a self-motivated student. If your son enrolls in the HSED program this fall, he could actually be finished by December (but would have a full year to complete it), and be ready to move forward in his career goals. Now that I know more of his situation, it seems he is exactly the kind of student the programs were designed for. You may still decide against it, but I strongly urge you to look into it over the summer.

    On another note, if your son is depressed and having trouble in classes, band should be a lower priority (he could pick it up again in college, and it is even possible he could stay on while in another program, but I have no idea about that). Also, many states allow people over 18 to get their temporary license without taking drivers’ ed (I did). I know I’m pushing this a lot, but I think it’s better to have all the options, and their consequences, open in front of you, while too often people try to eliminate possibilities to justify staying on a course of action that may not be working. I wouldn’t know either way in your case, so I’m arguing my point as fully as possible.

    If you do anything, make sure your son knows that not finishing high school does not guarantee even a slight loss of opportunities. This much I know for a fact. It is, and always will be, mostly up to him how far he goes, how persistently he follows his dreams, and how doggedly he overcomes his obstacles. Good luck!

  25. Tip – Thanks for the offer!

    JChaos – We’ve been going to a therapist for over a year now, so we’ve really talked about this and some other things that I never really thought about maybe helping, but nothing seems to be getting through. Even his therapist has told me that he doesn’t know what else to try to get through to him, and he’s researched and researched, along with his boss, and has even contacted his old professors asking for advice on what to try. Something that I have been doing that I know makes him feel good, since he’s further in math than I ever was, is when I have a math class in my studies and I’m having trouble, I will ask him to look over my work or show me where I’m having troubles. I’m actually in statistics now, which scares me to death, but he says is easy, so for the next 8-1/2 weeks, there will be a lot of this.

    Ross – In my state, you can get your learner’s permit without driver’s ed, and he’s had had his for about 2 years. However, there is such a huge difference is the cost of insurance if you take the class that it almost becomes required. I actually had to exclude him on my insurance because I couldn’t afford it as a single parent, since his dad won’t even try to pay his child support (it’s a long story, and partly justified that he got behind, but now that he’s working, he still won’t even make an attempt and I can’t afford the attorney to take him to court). In the next state, there are places you can pay to take it, which I tried to see if we could do and bring the certificate back, but here only the school systems are allowed to offer it and it count for the state. However, we also have the license suspension penalty, where you loose your license until you’re 18 if you quit school.

    I’ve been talking to my boyfriend (who does undergraduate recruiting for his department) and his boss (the chair of the chemical engineering department at Auburn University) about the HSED, and they’ve both said as far as college goes, unless he was one of those students that had a 4.0+ and high school was just slowing him down, the HSED will be looked at as just a fancy GED. My boyfriend also makes a good point, which was reiterated this week, that we can’t make it “simple” to dig out of a hole. I went Tuesday morning and signed Dusty up for summer school for that 1/2 of English 11 he failed, and he went on to class. They call it “credit recovery” and it’s done on a computer. Each 1/2 credit is split into a separate class, and each class is split into 6 sections. Before each section, you take a pre-test, and if you pass it, you’re exempted from doing all the work for that section and given a grade based on the pre-test. Dusty called me just over 2 hours later asking me if someone could pick him up because he was already through with the course. He’d tested out of all but 1 section and had already finished it. The teacher said that was a new record. He only got a 73, but you’re only allowed a 70 toward your GPA anyway, so that was of little consequence. Well, my chemical engineering professor boyfriend is ticked that what was listed a few years ago as a top 100 school system not only makes it that easy, but that his physics teacher had already suggested over a year ago that maybe he needed to quit school and get his GED.
    One reason that we say that quitting isn’t an option is that Dusty’s father always looks for the next scam or easy way out of doing what he’s supposed to. His child support is a good example. Now that he’s back to work, when I brought it up, he said “I paid for the first 15 years of his life!” Of course, that’s not completely true, but anyway, he knows that my boyfriend is picking up his slack and is happy to let him so he doesn’t have to. By showing Dusty that there’s an “easy” way out of this situation after the hold he’s dug himself, we’re afraid it won’t send the right message about standing up and facing the consequences of your actions. The information that I’ve found about the HSED in Alabama shows a 2-6 week completion time for $499 or less. I’m sorry but at this point that’s not the message I want to send to him. He also says now that he is considering the Air Force instead of college, which I think will be great for him, assuming that they accept him on medical terms.

  26. You are an awesome mom. So many kids get left behind because their parents give up right along with the kids. I am always so happy to see moms and dads that are willing to fight tooth and nail for their kids.
    The AIr Force is an awesome opportunity!! They have incredible math, science and intelligence programs. Plus, if he chooses to go “career” with the Air Force, the benefits and opportunities are spectacular. So good luck!!
    You know what? I think he will be fine and having him tutor you in math is a really cool thing to do and probably makes him feel so good and needed!!
    My kids are my life too. I would do anything for them; but, you are right. It’s a bad idea to teach them where the easy routes are because they aren’t always the best routes to take.

  27. Thanks for the kudos but I usually feel they aren’t deserved. It’s a constant fight, usually over things they won’t understand until they are parents (like letting me know where he’s going and coming home on time so I’m not worried). As much as part of me is ready to have this “ordeal” of high school over with so I know he’s OK, I couldn’t even make myself give up if I wanted to. I know what he’s capable of because I have seen the flashes of brilliance and too many of his teachers have commented on it too.
    I’m stoked that he possibly wants to go in the Air Force. That was supposed to be my life. I was recruited for an intelligence job in high school, but they turned me down on a medical disqualification that they wouldn’t even blink at today. My brother and I were both trying to get in the Air Force during the buildup for Gulf War I, and my dad (who was a crew chief in the Army Air National Guard) was telling us we were crazy & that he was trying to get out because he knew his company was about to be activated. 3 days after he got his discharge, they were told they had 12 hours to be ready to ship out for Iraq. He was a helicopter gunner in Vietnam & just couldn’t do it again.
    Dusty wants to be a computer programmer, so I told him he should try to get into the intelligence aspect of computing with the Air Force with an eye toward a possible FBI or CIA career after. He missed the ASVAB this year, but that’s where all his other career evaluations have pointed also.
    Even though he’s been through some hard things in his life, I don’t ever want him to think that being an adult is easy or that taking the easy way out is the answer. He’s seen his father take that route for too long, and now he has nothing to show for it (long story). Dusty’s learned some hard lessons through his father’s experiences, but putting them into practice is something harder to do.

  28. Gail Amalfitano

    I am a non traditional student. I am 41 and decided due to my age a science degree was my best bet since I could make good money right out of college and would not need years to work my way up to something. I decided to do geology and add chemistry courses to be able to do geochemistry. I may not complete the chemistry degree, and I plan on going right into a MS program to improve my income, what’s 2 more years for 15,000 more a year, right?
    Well I am not sure what to do to make myself stick out more for scholarships.
    I think my age hurts me.
    At community college I got awards (recipient for community service awards, recognition as tutor and student gov rep, all USA academic team), I held office positions in the honor society and held a position in student government, I was nominated for officer of the year, and I graduated highest honors from our honors program (honor’s diploma), yet I constantly get turned down for scholarships. What more can a student do…club, officer position, campus activities, community service, peer tutor, high academic performances (in classes like calc 1 through 3, physics, chemistry, computer programming, windows server, advanced operating systems, trig, precalc, anthropology) these are not your simple classes like history where all you have to do is read the book and answer questions on a test based on that reading. I got mostly A’s some B’s and 1 C. I don’t get it. I thought I did everything right. What is wrong with my profile? Is it my age?

  29. Josh, I want to tell you that I am quickly becoming afraid to miss reading the subjects that do not seem to relate to my own circumstances! I used to only read the ones that seemed relevant to my own circumstances. You always add information that I find invaluable (i.e. the above links on courses offered online through iTunes U, etc.).

    However, as I read the dates of the previous postings I wonder if my comments are so behind the times as to be outside of the loop? Carols’ comment was published Jul.16 and here it is the end of Aug. When I started, I did not really notice the discrepancy of the dates!

    However, I appreciate the conversations. I left my mother’s home at 15 and then my father’s house shortly after. About the same time as I moved from home, I dropped out of high school for several years. By the time I returned to upgrade my education, my son was about 3 and I was 20. I know a thing or two about living in abusive environments. I salute anyone who can find the courage to break free; because so often the world does not seem to love us when we begin to self-actuate. And y’know sometimes, it is the people who claim to love us the most that really hold us hostage with obligations heaped upon obligations.

    I also know about facing fear when it comes to pursuing a dream. I will be leaving the neighbourhood where my college has been only a half hour drive (although a road to hell in bad weather because it is mostly country hills and valleys and lots of curves when one’s car is subject to breakdowns).

    The school I will be attending is about 4-5 hours away from where I own my home. I still have a mortgage and other expenses to cover; I now must “fit” into another person’s home to afford to go away to school; and at 56 I have so many responsibilities and things to manage, if I wasn’t already bald, I am certain I would be pulling my hair out by the roots.

    However, Sheridan College, in Oakville, Ontario is one of the most highly regarded colleges around for art (particularly)glass art students such as myself –actually, it is one of the ONLY ones I could manage to get to under my particular circumstances. Many of the former students are crossing my path in one form or another as I prepare to enter. That has helped me a lot, because the focus of my studies is not quite adhering to the mainstream. Many of the students entering assume they want to study glassblowing. My interest has been developing to pursue more stain glass and other forms of hot glass such as sandcasting and fusing. It helped that I have met many of the instructors in the course I am just leaving. This one will be structured to a different slant as the one I left was geared to glass-blowing specifically.

    When I read Leeja’s concerns about which direction to take her studies, I could very much relate to the mixed emotions one experiences not wanting to make uninformed or non productive choices. Because I have still attempting to advise my youngest children (my daughters 18, 20), I also found myself following the suggestions provided to help her with her son.

    My 18 yr old dropped out of her hairdressing course because I could not afford to help her and her sister at the same time when her funding fell short. However, she is working in one of the top salons in Ottawa and loving every minute. She is now considering what it will take to complete her education in a realistic time frame while enjoying being a “kid”. My 20 yr old completed her program in aesthetics last week and is scrambling because she still has not landed a single full time position. She has, however, been kept buoyed by the experience of being invited to assist in various events (that add to her list of credits and helps to pay bills while she gets sorted out).

    As I reviewed some of the conversations, I came back to Gail asking if her age is hurting her ability to gain funding. I sincerely hope that I learn how to grow from being dependent upon scholarships, bursaries, etc. while I am studying. Like Gail, I am a good student who tries hard to stand out. I have been using some of the links and suggestions I pick up from the conversation of the other readers to teach myself different ways to make $$ online as well. I have been slow to grasp some of the concepts. I figure that the time in my studies allows for exposure to building website and blogging. I found some of the sites rather intimidating; and so I took a deep breath and stepped back for more of the fundamentals on things like blogging.

    Judge Josh, you suggested something similar in some of the first newsletters I got from you that sometimes your readers might try building their own sites to show that they are putting forth effort to investigate a range of options. For each of you who consider yourselves novices in the emerging technologies, I would love to hear how you fare. And for those of you with more background, I welcome invites to your sites to follow your activities.

    I haven’t become side-tracked by my comments or intent. I am merely thinking (out loud) that I know that when I apply to committees for funding as an art student, it is also common to apply for funding for various purposes after the studies (in most fields, there are always projects that can be developed individually or collaboratively); because it is always possible that no “job” awaits. We still have to survive and make our efforts count for something. After all many of us who borrowed along the way will have much DEBT. The clock is always ticking.

    One of my instructors found a way to max his performance by instructing students in their first steps after graduation, if they should want his expertise. First, he shows them how to apply for grant funding to set up their project so that he can be paid for his efforts. Then he shows them how to set up their ideas to make them feasible. Finally, whenever he comes back he takes time to review their strategies to ensure that they stay on track. From what I have seen, if they stay true to what he initially instructed, their growth is rather consistent.

    By the way, I got word that I have been awarded at least the very first bursary to which I applied. It is split between Sept. and Jan. None of the others are due for responses with the exception of another where I was not successful. I was also notified that I could apply for funding because neither my mother or father have attended college. And my college has a program that will consider setting aside all or part of the tuition based on one’s circumstances. Stay tuned.

  30. If only the last six classes are different, I say go for both of them. Finish one, begin working with that degree and then finish the other one. Six classes is one more semester only. Plus you already have the Accounting experience

  31. Charlotte Hyatt

    Leeja,I would go for the CFP course. You would still have the accounting degree but you would have the certification to start you toward the Masters in CFP. When I did my double major they just added it to the end of my 1st course and held my degree and graduation until I had finished the 2nd course.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top