In a market where people are desperate for jobs, I walked away from the security of a career as a developer and analyst. With a bachelors degree, several years of industry experience and outstanding student debt I’m returning to life as an undergraduate. Insane? Maybe. But behind the crazy there is a plan.
My first time through college I had very little time to enjoy the experience or even to give it the effort it deserved. I was dating a man who was terminally ill (he didn’t survive to see my graduation), working full time to support us and pulling down a full time course load. I took the classes that I knew would get me a job even though most of them were totally uninteresting. I would say that those were the hardest years of my life but spending several years working for the State of Iowa is a solid contender. After working so hard to get the degree, I thought I’d struck oil with a job working for the State. If only I knew then what I know now. I gave Iowa years and what I got in return was a tiny pension payout the intense desire to kill myself. Seriously. I’ve struggled, suffered defeats, reveled in successes and dealt in the ridicules. I have no idea what comes next in a path as winding as mine but I dare say it can only get more interesting.
I’m taking Botany, Trigonometry, Biology and Chemistry. I’d be taking another couple of classes if I could afford it and I’m looking to next semester with greedy eyes. Organic Chem, Microbiology and Physics are looking pretty hot and tempting. I can say with total honesty that Chem and Trig are completely terrifying but I’m looking at them as the cost of taking classes I like knowing that when I pass I’ll be a total badass.
There is significant discomfort being in classes with 16-18 year olds. Tiny girls and frat bros who have seen very little life sitting next to me learning things I should have learned at their age. It feels weird. I realized today that I haven’t even really looked at my classmates yet. Its like I’m in this tunnel, seeing only what I need to, focusing on the work. Focus is great but I need to adjust my attitude in this area a smidgen. I have always had a problem making friends and respecting others. After being through all that I have, it’s difficult to have patience for the inexperienced; while I learn about photosynthesis I’ll also work on changing my views of the green.
So I leave you now to go work on Significant Figures, conversion factors and degrees. Tomorrow are my first labs in Chemistry and Botany. I hope this excitement and drive will last.
The plan as of this moment
Fear holds you back and when it’s all you know, it’s hard to move forward.
I haven’t been able to get things written down for the last few months. I find myself sitting for hours in front of a blinking cursor. The little bastard mocking me with each and every wink. I loathe that cursor. Even when I’m able to write something down the blink expects ever more, never satisfied with what I’ve done.
The only solution left is to give in and write, ignore the cursor and write on. Get my plans down and use them for a starting point. I’m terrified by the possibility of not making these things happen. I fear that putting them down on “paper” will make failure that much more painful. Well, screw that. Here goes. Down the rabbit hole to where only dreams may dare.
What I’ve been up to
In June I negotiated leaving my job with the state. My job was a nightmare, my skills were wasting away and I was dying inside more with each day that passed. I used to think that living with passion was a rich mans pleasure. Fuck that. Happiness doesn’t come without work and I’m ready to battle for it. I don’t have a savings, debt is my middle name and here I am without a job and more hopeful than my family believes I deserve to be.
Wheels in Motion
After leaving work I knew I needed time to recover. I slept for almost the first week, spent time doing art, reading and rediscovering the joys of fishing. I began researching college programs, accessing my interests and opening my mind to possibilities. A plan is starting to come together.
First, I’m enrolled and registered for classes at the local community college. I already have a Bachelor of Science degree for MIS but my science and math skills are rusty and need refreshing. My first semester begins in August and I’ll be taking Survey of Physics, Intro to Chemistry and Intro to Botany. I’ve applied to Iowa State for next year and am thinking neuroscience or botany depending what I think after this semester, how I do on the GRE’s and what funding opportunities I can find.
Second, I’ve been starting the planning phases of my cross country trip. Originally I wanted to walk but my leg will not tolerate it so I’ve changed up to planning a cross country bike trip. Right now I’m putting together cost estimates and working on building a kick starter for funding. The biggest struggle is defining the trip and setting goals and rewards for backers. More on this as it develops.
So that’s where I’m at. If you have suggestions or ideas for funding a cross country bike trip, thoughts on good rewards for backers of other feedback, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.