Hello, amigos. Today’s post comes to you from the cramped little airport cubicle pictured below at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, where I am currently laid up for a couple hours on my way to Orlando to sit in on the National Student Advertising Competition.
I had to get up so damn early to fly that when I checked in on Foursquare at the airport, I got the “School Night” badge for partying after 3 a.m. They just assumed I’d never gone to bed in the first place. I can’t decide whether to take that as a sign that I’m all grown up, or that I’m not having nearly as much fun with my life as I should be. (BTW, if you want to follow me there, be my guest.)
Anyhow, that’s enough with the pleasantries — I’ve got a plane to catch here. Today I’m going the extra mile to help out Aisha, who writes:
Hi my name is Aisha and I have alot of questions for you I got to North Carolina A&T State University which is a historically black college I feel historically black colleges don’t get enough funding for the students and for the students who get money either have important majors or in sports and that are in state I’m a out of state student with parents that are divorced and my mother raises my niece an nephew and is losing her job I don’t have anyone with good credit to get me a loan and my gpa is bad not blaming it on stress but I have been stressed what can I do my major is socilogy and I’m not for sure if thats what I want to do my ideas is either opening a doggy hotel be a publist or marriege/sex conselur also to live n campus it cost more but to live off I need a cosigner which I don’t have I just need some help in to find where I need to go and what need to do thanks and have a blessed day.
First of all, let me very quickly address the elephant in the room — you don’t want to send an email like this to anyone who may potentially want to give you a job or money. William Faulkner and James Joyce are the only ones who can pull off that kind of stream-of-consciousness business without being ignored. Take your time, use punctuation, and get some helpful people to look over your writing for you before you write anything resembling that jumble above to anyone other than me. (If that sounds harsh, believe me, it’s better I tell you now and you fix it now than have you find out the hard way by getting rejected my money-givers later on).
Now, on to the more important matters at hand. I can’t really comment on the funding of historically black colleges because that’s a subject with which I have absolutely zero experience (and even if I did, we can’t make much progress in changing that before I have to jump on my plane).
Sounds like you’ve got a perfect storm of crappiness going on right now — you’re and out-of-state student paying high tuition, you and your family are in a tough spot financially right now, and your grades aren’t good.
OK, let’s go to work here.
Even if your grades are bad enough that you can’t get scholarships, you can still get student aid in the form of loans and grants, provided the government agrees that your financial situation is as bad as you’ve indicated. Be sure to fill our your FAFSA each year (which I’ll assume you’ve done) so that you can receive federal aid.
At the very least, unsubsidized student loans will be available to you, and they’re worth several thousand bucks a year (someone help me out here with the specifics, if you don’t mind — I board my plane in 20 minutes).
BUT…let me give you some advice first — get OUT of that school and go back to your home state. If you’re really unsure about what you want to do (which is natural, and especially true given the wide variety of career possibilities you mentioned above), then there is NO reason under the sun for you to be paying anyone’s out-of-state tuition to do that — especially if, like you said, you really can’t afford it.
Sounds to me like you’re the usual general-education courses while you figure out more of what you want to do. You can do that in your home state at a community college for a small fraction of what you’re paying now.
You mentioned running a doggy hotel, being a publicist or a sex therapist. Shooting from the hip here, I’d say that:
a) dog boarding is probably a need that’s never going to go away, but it’s a lot of work, and you need to love that work in order to be successful — just be aware of that.
b) Publicist jobs aren’t plentiful — that is, to be *the* publicist for one person/star/celebrity, etc. — but PR and media relations jobs are still out there and always will be to some degree. That field is changing a great deal right now (as newspapers and other print publications wither and while Twitter and other social networks rise) — so in that change, there’s a lot of opportunity for those people who embrace and master that new environment.
I did a little research on you, Aisha, and found that you’re already Tweeting like a mad woman, so perhaps you’re well on your way to that sort of mastery.
c) Sex therapists will be around forever as well. I don’t know what your expectations are as far as what the work would be like, but check into it thoroughly and ask around with therapists to be sure. I believe it’s a wide range of folks who would come across your path, but remember that most of them have problems that are acute enough for them to seek professional help to fix. If that scares you away, then sex counseling may not be for you. On the other hand, if that sounds like your bag, then by all means, go after it.
That’s my best advice, but what do you guys think? What should Aisha do? Let us know in the comments below.