Miss Congeniality

You ever read somebody’s blog and think, “man, that chick does nothing but complain!” or “what a snot. she never has anything positive to say at all” or “what a freak!”

Yeah, me too.

Sometimes I wonder that with all of my obsessive planning and number-relaying, you all won’t see the true picture of how un-weird I am in real life (promise!). Even so, I’m going to risk scaring you even more by dumping out my latest planning-obsessive ruminations.

Here’s the deal. I’m a smart chica. I love school, always have. I have a BA in English from an awesomely fantastic private school, and I have an MBA from the University where I work. Along the way, I’ve also accumulated enough credits for a second Master’s in Rhetoric and Composition. I’ve also racked up almost $60k in student loans. OUCH.

Here’s the thing: I’ve always expected to earn a PhD. It seems natural for someone who loves school so much. Honestly, it’s pretty easy for me. And I love the demanding nature of grad school. LOVE IT. However, I cannot take out any more in student loans (though the student loan gods would gladly keep shoveling out the funds without a second thought).

I also have to work full-time because we can’t live on my husband’s income alone. And I WANT to work full-time. But PhD programs are not designed for people who spend 50+ hours a week answering to others. Anyhow, I’ve been taking PhD-level classes this semester, teaching as an adjunct at my University, keeping up with my full-time job (barely), planning this whole surgery thing, and just trying to get everything done day by day. It’s hard.

And the student loan issue is a doozy. If I enter into repayment, I will owe something like $450 a month that cannot come out of our household budget. I’d have to work a second job (which is fine). But I can’t work a second job, take classes, teach, and work full time. Even I have limits!

So I’m currently deciding where to go from here. I have two alternate possibilities for the spring semester.

Plan A: I continue taking PhD-level classes. I either get just enough in student loans to cover the cost of those classes or I pay out of pocket (if that’s possible). Being in school, I won’t have to pay on my current student loans because I’ll be in deferment (with interest accruing, however). I’ll still be working full-time and teaching a class or two on top of taking classes. Plus, I’ll be looking for a new job and learning how to manage life as a post-op. Under this option, I’d keep moving full steam ahead, delay paying on loans, and just keep trucking as I have been (but with WLS in the mix).

Plan B: Skip all PhD classes for the spring and resume next Fall if I choose to. Consolidate student loans and get a part-time gig to cover that $450 a month. I’ll still be working full-time and teaching one night per week, but I won’t have any homework and won’t have to do tremendous amounts of reading on the weekends. I will have to work 10-15 hours at a mindless job though. I’ll be able to focus a bit more on finding a new job and taking care of myself physically and emotionally after WLS. I’ll have time on weeknights to do things like attend support groups, for example.

What say ye? It almost seems obvious that Plan B is more wise. But heck, I racked up $60k in student loans so I can’t be all that intelligent now, can I?

I just feel that it’s time for me to stop shrinking away from this student loan and budget issue. I need to face the music. I have debt, and I need to pay it. None of that should even apply to the PhD issue because if I’m going to pursue that, it needs to be because it makes sense and because I want it, not because I’m avoiding paying existing debt.

I guess I’m already leaning way towards that second plan. Thoughts? Ideas?

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2 Responses

  1. All I saw was negative complaining bitch. Yep. That’s me. But, anyways – I love that you love school so much! How wonderful. It is killing me to considering taking one-two-three classes. The cost, first-most, and then — well —- the whole part of Taking! Classes?!

  2. My advice would be to go for the option that is less taxing on you at the moment, at least until you are through surgery and well into recovery. From the folks I have talked to, you are going to be low on the energy scale for at least six weeks post-op, so running yourself into the ground during that time should not be an option. You also need to make sure that you are giving yourself enough time to work out and rethink eating in general post-op. I know when I am rushing around and being crazy, I often grab whatever is quickest to eat. That will probably no longer be an option (depending on how you eat now when you are in a hurry.). I’m not speaking from experience yet, but obviously, I have been doing lots of WLS homework, just like you have been! 🙂

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