Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nothing to Report...

Reporting that there is really nothing to report.
Old alma matter screwed up and sent wrong info on transcripts. Was supposed to fix their mistake and post correct ones the next day.
That was 2 weeks ago and they still have not arrived.
Competence.

Really cannot move forward without those transcripts right now as I am at the application stage.

Inquired about the LPS (Continuing Studies degree programs) @ Penn. May not qualify.
:(

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eckerd' PEL Program is Definitely Out

I was able to speak to an admissions advisor in the PEL program @ Eckerd today, and she quite clearly told me that the courses I am interested in are not available to students in the Pel program.
Well, disappointing, but good to know.

I am trying to focus all my energy forward, really praying and visualizing this move to Philadelphia with S. I think it would be fabulous. How strange that I never got to know the area when I grew up less than a 2 hour car trip away. My family just never went there, other than to the zoo and maybe a visit to the Liberty Bell, which I don't even remember.

The school of my dreams, University of PA, is there. If nothing else, I would have access to its libraries and the awesome archaeology museum.

Yes, I can totally picture living in Philly. It might be a hassle getting from downtown to and from WCU campus every day, but it possible.

If it is meant to be, it will be!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

going in circles...???

I can only trust that the universe is leading me to the place and program which is best for me.
Every time it seems I have made a decision and a "plan", something comes up. Well, hopefully eventually I will be led to the RIGHT home, the RIGHT job, and the RIGHT college.

Here's the latest possibility... which has kind of gone back to square one(ish).
An acquaintance of mine mentioned moving to the Philadelphia area, so I immediately felt compelled to ask if she'd consider getting a place together w/me.
She seemed very agreeable, and we exchanged a few emails about the idea. We have not made any definite plans but I feel really excited about it. I am waiting to hear from her tomorrow about when she wants to move (we mentioned doing it before Xmas) and to what area of town (important to me for transportation reasons).

(cat sitting on computer...will add more later

Monday, September 15, 2008

I was very excited...until...

I was very excited about the prospect of New College. But they have not responded to my questions, and they do not seem to offer a regular schedule of classes.

I was very excited about the Eckerd PEL program...until I discovered that it is also not the type of full time study I want. At least, not if I understand what their webpage says regarding classes meeting only once a week for five hours. I want to be taking 4 classes that are listed in their "regular" course catalog, not being relegated to special coursework for older students.

In the meantime...I have discovered that YouTube is a great source for history documentary programming, including a 6 part series on Mesopotamia which I plan to watch starting this evening.
To be followed by viewing related to ancient Persia, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Israel over the weeks ahead as time permits.

Tomorrow we're going downtown to the main library, which is always fun. I love books! I wish I worked in a library! I am still waiting for them to call me back regarding an interview...




Sunday, September 14, 2008

Greetings DAHS Class of 1986!


Hello to all my high school classmates who have linked over here from our class page!
Even though I have lived far away from York County since 1992, I have often wanted to attend our reunions and class events.
I hope you are all well... happy, blessed with good jobs and good families!

I wonder what you think of me. (here's my mug shot ----
pic taken winter 2006 in Stratford, England)

Do you think I'm crazy? Do you think I'm doing the right thing? Are you laughing at me? Are any of you jealous? lol

I wonder what your lives have been like. I wonder what places you have gone to. I wonder what it's like to be married and have children (both of which I have managed to avoid) and work in steady careers.


So...what is my latest news regarding my college journey? Well, I have been researching schools here in Florida while waiting for my transcripts to arrive in the mail.
I honestly do not think an online program, regardless of price, can offer me what I am looking for. I seek class interaction and "hands-on" experience.
I think in some ways I am also trying to give myself the learning and growing experiences I missed out on by dropping out of WCU in 1986. Sure, I had many different experiences... but something just doesn't feel complete.

There are currently three FL schools which are high on my list:
*Eckerd College in St. Pete (PEL Program)
*New College in Sarasota
*University of South Florida (St. Pete)
I am also still interested in:
*Rollins, and maybe
*FL Atlantic or
*FL International

Not much else to say, right now. Feels like a waiting game.




Friday, September 12, 2008

Just waiting on my transcripts

Not a heck of a lot to report today... requested my high school transcripts earlier this week andam just waiting for them to arrive before taking the next step in applying to several FL schools.

I am still hopeful to get in for spring semester. Several people have told me that, to their knowledge, regardless of my age I cannot be denied on-campus housing, that doing so would be discrimination.

Yes, it is going to be VERY hard to relate to the average aged 18-22 year olds in housing. I have never been part of the "in" crowd even when I was in that age group, and now usually when I see youth interacting away from adult supervision, I am APPALLED at their behavior.


Well, another bridge to cross when we get to it.

Read a fascinating article about the history and culture of Iran/Persia last nite... then explored a variety of flickr photo uploads from Tehran, Masuleh and a caravanserai called
Robat-e Miandasht Simply stunning.

A new obsession is born.




Wednesday, September 10, 2008

now that the pressure is off...

Now that I do not feel pressured about getting into a school by spring semester and getting all my aid worked out, etc...
I have been free to take mini-steps forward.

I called my high school alma matter today and requested five official copies of my transcript, which happen to include my SAT scores.

I started researching several schools, both public and private, here in Florida which I had either never heard of before or never considered attending.
Of course, once again, my top choice regionally is the most expensive, Eckerd College in St. Petersburg which has the Ancient Studies major. Also looking @ University of South Florida, FL Atlantic, FL International, and Stetson.

Did some online reading/research in my current subject of interest, the history of Ancient Mesopotamia. Learned a bit about the goddess Inanna/Ishtar.
"Played" with The British Museum interactive map of Mesopotamia which links to photos of archaeological sites.
Also discovered the amazing Oriental Institute @ The University of Chicago, another school I never heard of before today...and the most expensive of all I have looked at yet!
lol

Well, I have to trust that the universe (read "God", if you like) supports me in this endeavour and will somehow make it possible!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Temporarily on Hold"

That's right...it looks like these college plans are temporarily on hold. Put off, again, to an unforseeable future date.
Perhaps I should have gotten the job and gotten moved into a new apartment before even thinking about these things.
I was just so excited, so passionate.
I dive right in.
Who knew how hard it would be? (well, I did, but didn't want to remember)

Something eventually has to "give". I know I am meant to do this. I just haven't yet figured out how. It does make me want to cry...sort of.
I've been trying so hard to sort through the issues.
I've made such progress filing forms and overcoming fears and doubts.

What a damn shame that lack of money has to come between me and my dreams!

The questions I am asking myself now are:

*if all my top choice schools are in the Mid~Atlantic, should I move back there now and apply for school next autumn? By then I may qualify for even more money in aid because my income this year was even less than last.

* do I even really need college? can I get the info I want by self-guided study?

* do I need a degree to do the work I want? (I think the answer here is yes, I do)

I am just too stressed at the moment to think clearly and see a way through this tangled web.
So, I am going to avoid thinking and talking about these plans as much as possible for the next few days.

Blog entries, if I make any til then, will be more about my subjects of interest than the process of applying/admissions or financial aid.

PS I very much encourage readers to leave comments, even just say hello and let me know you took the time to see what's going on with me.
Thank you.





Monday, September 8, 2008

Great, Got my SAR... So now what?

My FAFSA has been accepted and processed and I got an email linking me to my SAR... which makes abolutely no sense to me.
How am I supposed to use this information to figure out how much I am actually going to have to pay?

I am having an anxiety attack. I feel like I am running out of time, and I am very confused about what steps to take next.

I WANT to go to school full-time at a top private university. I WANT to devote my life to pursuit of education and career goals right now.
But I cannot afford to choose a school like this if it's going to leave me thousands of dollars in debt, or owing before I can even enroll.
I feel stupid because I have no idea how this works! and it makes me want to cry (from frustration).

If I can get an aid package which covers all or almost all of my needs, I want to seize the opportunity to attend the best school possible.
But what way is there of getting this information BEFORE you spend the money to apply to expensive schools?

If my EFC is $1665 and my school tuition + fees is more than $35,000... how much of the "left-over" $33, 335 is covered by grants and loans? How much am I really going to be responsible for paying on my own?

And if I take the "easy" route and enroll in the cheap online degree program as "half-time" student and the tuition is only $1300, will I get any aid at all with an EFC of $1665?

UGH! ARGH!

Who can help me get these answers?!?!?!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Filed my FAFSA online

I'm not sure I really get how this works, but I submitted my FAFSA today...

According to the FAFSA4caster website I should be able to get my
entire education funded btwn Pell, Stafford, Perkins and the FSEOG...if I'm reading it correctly

Of course, I am not even accepted anywhere yet... and don't have enough money at the moment to even submit apps to more colleges, esp the expensive private schools I REALLY want to attend.

I don't have a clue what happens from here, although I know I get a
report in 3-4 days (according to the FAFSA site).

Well it is certainly a step in the right direction and I am quite proud of myself for finally taking it!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Practicalities

Sometimes we just have to accept that our dreams and best laid "plans" are not going to work out quite the way we expected or would like.
Real life interferes.
We must make adjustments, alterations.

So, it seems, I must face the facts that it just is not practical for me to attend school full-time at this juncture. I've got no savings, and my priority is finding work and moving into my own apartment.

However, there is no reason why I can't take a part-time course load as an enrolled degree seeker.
And that is currently the plan.
I will enroll with the OSU online program and take 2 courses per quarter. Each class lasts 11 weeks and is worth 3 credits. So I can still make progress towards my ultimate goals.
I'll have the money for the application fee by the end of this week and plan to enroll for the winter session, which starts in early November.
If they stay available, I plan to take Ancient Near East history and Intro to Cultural Anthropology the first session, followed by a required writing course and possibly Arabic I!
I know I have to work towards certain required classes, but need to keep a high degree of interest at the same time.

My ultimate "dream", or goal, is to eventually transfer into a respected top school such as Penn, Georgetown, or NYU.
I am not ready to set a timeline for this.
When the time is right, the resources will become available.



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Armed with new Info

Okay, I am back, and armed with new info, and more determined than ever to not let this stress get the better of me.
I deserve an education. I deserve a degree.
I may have to make some "sacrifices" in order to get started, but ultimately I will get into the right school, the right sources, etc.
The universe supports me. I deserve this and where there's a will there's a way.

So, that said, I found out I CAN, in fact, apply for the FAFSA before getting accepted to college. People have been giving me wrong information all along.
Now, I still don't know if I am doing this the "right" way. Will submitting the FAFSA now qualify me for federal money for spring 2009? I read that it takes 2 weeks to get your "SAR" if you file on the web... I do not understand whether that is the actual amount of aid you receive, or when and how your grants are paid to you/your school.
Time for more reading on that topic.

Clearly WCU has its own schedule for financial aid because they quite clearly told me it's far too late to apply for aid for spring '09.
So I have gone back to the "drawing board" and am now looking at studying online... OSU seems to be a good option.

Stay tuned for the next developements!


Confused, frustrated, depressed

I am trying to keep a positive attitude about this whole process, but must confess that as of the last two days the confusion and frustration has dragged me into a bit of a depression.
Although I have continued to explore options, I have not actively pursued anything.

I am looking into loans...can't get my credit report because TransUnion says I can't be identified by the info I am submitting. I have lived at literally 10 or so addresses in the past 10 years and they are telling me I have not given them the one that matches the info they have on record for me.
Equifax was able to give me a report, but I can't afford to pay to get an actual score to use.
;(

I do not understand this financial aid business.
I have established that I need to get accepted before I can apply. But I simply do not have the money to keep applying. $35 here, $50 there....Give me a break!

And now I have to decide whether this is worth the effort of moving back across the country, or if I want to enroll in an online program (I am liking OSU's Distance Learning Liberal Arts degreee). If I start that and get through a year or two here... will those credits transfer to a school in the Mid-Atlantic?

(more later but we are on the way out of the house at the moment...)

see next entry...


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Financial Fears and Confusion, Part DEUX

Uh oh. Here they come again. Those terrible anxieties regarding whether I am being realistic about this endeavor.
A member of a non-trad student group I belong to has been trying to be helpful in regards to questions I have asked about financial aid. Unfortunately this is having a negative influence on me.

Scenario:
Say I get accepted back to WCU. It means moving 1000 miles back to a state I left 14 years ago. I am relying on friends and relatives to house me throughout the holidays until classes start in mid-January.
Now, as a "Re-admit" student, I will have commuter status. Which means finding off-campus housing.
This "source" has said that a college generally requires a payment towards tuition prior to allowing you to enroll in classes.
I am relying almost 100% on Financial Aid (which I haven't even applied for yet). My total income for the 2008 year was less than $10K. Out-of-state tuition is roughly $6700 PLUS the housing expense.

I will barely have enough for one month's rent before receiving whatever financial aid I qualify for.
What happens if I move back to PA and find out I can't start classes because I don't have enough money?

UPDATE/edited to add:
The worst that can happen is that I can't afford to return for spring semester...that just means waiting 9 more months, which was the original plan anyway.

I called the university and spoke to a very nice lady who did her best to answer my questions. The Financial Aid office was closed so she told me to send them an email, which I did.

I am just so anxious to get back at it, it is hard for me to wait and be in a space of "not knowing"
limbo.

I guess what I should be focused on is what I am going to do in the meantime.

Not being 100% independent (ie relying on roommates for transportation) sure does have its draw-backs.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sudden Change of Plan!

This evening it hit me... why wait til fall 2009 to go back to school? I am not working here in FL after leaving my seasonal job out west. I'm not bound by rent or responsibilities here.
I AM excited and ready to get this show on the road.
So...why wait?
I have decided to move my start date up and resume classes (acceptance permitting) in spring 2009!
Of course this means lots of juggling plans and shuffling priorities.
I called my uncle and father tonight to ask whether they'd be willing to have me as a house guest over the holidays, seeing as they live about 1.5 hours drive from WCU. I haven't seen them in almost 4 years, so this is a perfect opportunity.

The only thing which really concerns me now is that, while carefully re-reading the Readmission application, I came across this stipulation:
"All students are readmitted as commuters"
Umm. Well... that could present a real problem. Where on earth am I gonna live? I need to get on the ball and make some calls to the Office of Admissions to find out if there can be "special circumstances".
Maybe my mother or a friend could take me apartment hunting during December. (I do not drive, you see...by choice).

Well, I am determined, and undeterred. Somehow I am going to make this a reality!
Send positive thoughts please!

I'm Really Going to Do This!

How exciting, how nerve-wracking. For some reason today the realization that I am, in fact, going to follow through with this, has been overwhelming.
I feel energized. I have been writing about my study plans and what I hope to achieve with my new degree, networking with other adult "nontrads" online.
I called my mother and father (divorced since my mid-20s) to ask what they thought, if they are supportive of this decision. (the said yes but were not as enthusiastic as I would have liked)

Cut back to reality.
Maybe I am one step ahead of myself (those who know me may be thinking 'Yeah so what's new?').
Technically I have not yet been accepted back at WCU. The Re-admit application is in a notebook by the bedside table, waiting until I have a spare $35 for the submission fee.

I am also still uncertain of Housing. WCU has, since my last visit in the late 80s, added on-campus apartment complexes, but I wonder if they are going to be loud crazy party halls...
Wow.
I feel really funny about all this.

Last night I printed out segments of the course catalog which explain the school's GenEd requirements (blah) and the requirements for each of the majors which interest me. None of them really fit my wants or needs "perfectly".
Clearly at some point I am going to have to transfer to another university which offers a much broader, deeper course selection.

How far ahead should I be looking?