Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Time to Move on, Time to Get Goin'

What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing
But under my feet, baby, grass is growing

It's time to move on, it's time to get going
~ Tom Petty

So as the increase of interest on Federal Student Loans is impending, I have been desiring to go back to grad school. Great timing, eh?

College tuition is the highest it’s ever been and steadily climbing. So what do they do to make it easier to cope with the increase in the tuition due to the lack of funding for higher education? Raise the interest! Sure! Instead of student loans being known as the lowest interest rate loans in the country sitting at an average of 3.5% - let’s double it to sit at 7%, 8% for parents taking out loans as well!

I know we’re at war, but GEEZ!!! Why does it always seem when we need money, we take it from education? I know, I know, we take it from everywhere. I won’t bitch too much more. But I’ll leave you with this article to mull it over. Sure most of us already have our loans consolidated, but if you ever feel like going back, think twice about farting around college trying to ‘find’ yourself. Haha! No decade of Christman, eh Kurt? No 3 degrees, 6 minors, and 2 masters, eh Ed? No desire to be a professional student anymore, eh Josh? Kids from now on will have some MEGA debt if they choose that route!

Read Here!

Thing is, I KNOW who I am, I just don’t know what I want to DO!!!!

But aside from the bitch fest above, I think I’ve narrowed down my choices to 4 different masters’ degrees I would like to look into:

1. Peace Coprs International Masters in Horticulture
2. Landscape Architecture
3. Horticulture
4. Creative Writing

1. PCIM in Horticulture:
This is my #1 choice. I would really really really like to do this program, as it is something I’ve always talked about, but never done.
Pros – I will be able to go to another country and help people in the field of study I know really really well. I will get the master and PC experience in one big lump.
Cons – It a 4 year program, with 2 years being in the Peace Corps. That’s a big commitment, and as you all know, I suck at those. I might burn out before I ever get to my third world country! And after I get out, what will this masters do for my career? Would I have been gone too long to pick up from where I left off? Would I even want to? So many questions!
2. Landscape Architecture:
This is the most logical step from where I need to go with my bachelor’s degree. Everyone who goes onto grad school from my program USUALLY chooses this as their masters’. But I was once in a seminar in college that said you should get something DIFFERENT from your bachelor’s as your masters. The speaker (an LA from K-State) said to get something completely different so you can learn something new, and have a more well-rounded background!
Pros – continue with my work and will look GREAT on a resume or if I want to start my own business
Cons – I am still unsure if I should get a different type of degree, to give me a little more exposure to other areas.
3. Horticulture:
This would be great if I ever wanted to go into the Peace Corps after grad school. This is also a major plus if I ever want to go into different parts of the industry, namely plant propagation, nursery work, or arboriculture. I have always wanted to become a certified arborist, and with this degree under my belt, it would be easy!
Pros – Opens up new and different career paths. Will have ‘well-rounded’ background in Horticulture as a whole. It will allow me to have my masters and then choose to go into the Peace Corps later, possibly when I’m older.
Cons – What are my job opportunities once I get out of this program? Is it purely academic and I will have to start back over at the beginning in the different industries I am looking into? If I choose this and THEN go into the PC later, I might have too many ties and obligations, such as a home, car, kids, criminal record.
4. Creative Writing:
This is me going a completely opposite direction in which I have started. This excites me as I have always wanted to study creative writing. I really want to write short stories, and think I have a good background in creative story telling. Why not broaden this hobby with some schooling, and go in a completely different direction? This could be great for me, as I have a completely lucrative bachelor’s degree in which I can still work with!
Pros – I will finally go to school for something fun, and be able to learn something completely different than the sort of ‘trade school’ I attended in my bachelor years. This will allow me to develop one of my passions into something productive. I will be happy and excited in this program as it’s completely opposite from what I’ve been doing the last 10 years.
Cons – I don’t actually see myself getting a better job with this degree. I would have a masters, but how will this actually help me along my career path? Is that all schooling should be – or can it be merely to gain knowledge? Who knows if I will ever get anything published? Would I end up working as an editor somewhere?

Whew. Lots of decisions. I don’t know what to do, other than interview each department of study, until I can find one I’m really passionate about. This might take me months…..even years. Can I wait that long? By that time, student loans will probably be OUT OF CONTROL!!!

Maybe I’ll just skip it, sell all my belongings, and live in Guam.

That sounds good, too.


Aaron said...

Is it out of the question for you to become an exotic dancer to help pay for school? I hear they make a lot of money, and they only work a few days a week.

Why not move to Puerto Rico? It's a US territory - like Guam, it's just as poor, and it's a lot closer.

Paul said...

I think you should do your number one choice. Although I believe that with a little work and sacrifice we are "free" to do the things that we desire to do in our lives whenever we desire to do them, I also believe that "delay is the deadliest form of denial." Do not deny yourself the things that you feel will give your life value and meaning. Perhaps, while you are doing the PCIM in Horticulture, you could also take classes, seminars, labs, whatnot in the regular Horticulture department to compliment your degree so you can become a certified arborist, or a nursery owner, or Poison Ivy after returning from Guatemala, Niger, or Cambodia. Or maybe you can take creative writing courses while working on your Master's. There is always room for electives, even in grad school. Don't do something because according to everyone else it's the logical thing to do. Of course, I don't think I have to remind you of that. You are a fiercely independent woman, and rightly so.

Maybe I suffer from a misapprehension or a delusion, but I seriously believe that once we remove the veil of crap that we're fed daily that we can live the kind of life that we desire, we can become the person that we want to be.

Besides, once you go into the Peace Corps, several thousands of dollars of your school debt are erased, right?

This and That said...

I am in student debt forever so I may be not the best to give advice, but my masters is in my field and took me 4 years to get and I don't regret it at all because overall I love my job. I count myself very fortunate to be self employed and able to make a pretty good living, but it is tiring work and never stops. You go on vacation and there is no paycheck. That being said, after reading your choices, the one that strikes me as the best is the last one. There just seemed to be passion behind it when reading your description of it. And I think your blog entries show there is writing talent there. The first 3 all keep you in the field you are now in and since I do not know much about it, is it necessary to get a Masters to get a more desirable job? A bachelors in anything doesn't seem to go far these days I know. My husband who has a GED makes more than I would have if I didn't go back and get my masters, but he also doesn't love what he does. He has the job with the benefits and needs to find outside sources for fulfillment. (yes, Caff X..we will have a coffee shop one day!)
So the real question you have to ask is what will give you more happiness in the long run. 4 years is a long time, but if you like what you are doing it goes fast. Is the cost worth it? ONLY IF YOU LOVE IT!!!
To get real new agey on you :Follow your bliss!! Since your loans will more than double with a masters (mine nearly tripled), you have to make sure you love what you decide to do. And you are never too old to find what that is. I am ancient compared to all you that post here...(see comment on the below post for the year)
I do think like Paul wrote if you join the peace corps or Ameri corps some of the loan money gets paid off and while in those programs no interest gets charged on the old ones. But that is still not a reason to do it if you don't really want to. Any help? probably not..good luck!

Amber said...

I tend to agree with Thisandthat, you are really good at writing, I love to read your stuff, and I know that creatively that is what you like to do the most. Would you make lots of money at it? Maybe, but it's a scary thing, I can't imagine how happy but possibly how broke I would be if I followed my creative instincts. Personally, the PC option sounds the least appealing to me and also makes me wonder if you'd truly get what you want out of it. Again, I'm going to use Tom's bro as an example, I think he might be happy, but it's kind of like joining the military, they'll tell you: "ok, you want to do this?" and then they'll send you to some country on the other side of the globe and you'll have a crash course in whatever language they speak there. Maybe you could talk to him via email and get his take on it...

Josh said...

Well, you know what I think, for selfish reasons I would rather you NOT go live in another country for 2 years. But that’s just my preference. I would however, rather you do what ever it is that you need to do, rather then regret something the rest of your life. But I do think Amber is quite right, and Paul is just pushing his leave the country agenda. : ) But really, I wouldn’t go into writing for the money, as you already know, but I would go into it to expand your mind and awareness. I have a degree in art, and I truly loved the experience. Getting my degree was some of the best years of my life, and I draw on what I learned from it everyday. In my opinion living everyday in an environment where you can push your talents further while learning new and exciting things is the best way to live. In Paul’s opinion, going to another country and wiping your but with rocks is the preferred way. So who knows, I guess everyone has to figure that out for themselves. What ever you chose to do I’ll support you… well, not financially, but I’ll get behind you and say, “You go girlfriend!”

Paul said...

Actually, I thought my post meant that whatever Cassie desires, she can do that with her life. So if that means saying "to hell with any of the above options" and committing her life to pursuing her dream of learning to play the drums, I say go for it! I didn't mean it to come across as an endorsement of the Peace Corps; I mentioned the Peace Corps because Cassie talks about it a lot in her daily life (more than any of the other options she lists on her blog) and actually said that it's her "#1 choice." Currently, anyhow. When she lived with Jamie she talked about writing a lot, but she doesn't seem to talk about that as much anymore. So that's why my first comment reflected the Peace Corps. I do, however, push traveling abroad because my own experiences have enriched me in ways I didn't know possible, radically changing me and giving me a new understanding of the world and my place in it.

If you're interested in learning more about a program in creative writing (which would be awesome because you ARE talented,) you can talk to leslie, who just finished her 2nd bachelor's in Creative Writing and is now thinking about grad-level creative writing programs, or me, who majored in it for two years before pursuing a very different interest. :)

There is a lot of possibility in life. It isn't limitless, but you can do a lot if you're committed to your goals/dreams and willing to set aside minor comforts from time to time. I don't think that your goals are mutually exclusive. I think that you could probably find a way to nurture all of them. How about this: Peace Corps + Horticulture grad-level classes for post-Peace Corps career + "The Amazingly Hilarious Adventures of Cassie in Santo Domingo, Guatemala" by C.E. Doolittle = Your possible future life?

But what do I know? I apparently wipe my ass with rocks. And this whole time I thought it was environmentally-friendly toilet paper.

Aaron said...

Get busy livin, or get busy dying Cas.

guess who said...

Move home..

Josh said...

Environmentally friendly paper, or rocks. What's the difference? Paul, you know your like the Peace Corps recruiter, I think you might be on their payroll. I'm just kidding around. Im not anti-traveling, I also think its a good thing to do. I almost got to go to Italy in collage, but the darn banks would not give me the money to go.