It can be easy to make decisions based on the information you collect. It’s more difficult to make good decisions when information isn’t available. Of course, you can add in biases and hopes/dreams to muddy the whole thing.
I really don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m driven by a need to help people, however, as I’ve discovered in my time in financial aid, I need some distance from the people I help. I am truly an introvert… but I can be chatty. Is that an oxymoron? But I’m digressing off my topic…
I love my degree program. It’s like spending a long, long time looking for something and then when you get there, you wonder why you didn’t look in that spot to begin with. The fact is, I love almost everything I study – except for engineering and marketing – so it creates a difficulty. What do you do when everything comes, well, relatively easy? It’s all cool and interesting and intriguing. I need something for which I truly feel a passion, not just a general “Oh, I really enjoy this.”
I love working with data. It’s the reason I love database structure and logic.
I love patterns. I spend the majority of my waking hours seeking them out.
I am driven by service… education… logic.
What the hell do I do with this? Who am I and where the hell do I fit in?
Today I asked my boss if there will be any salary consideration given after I finish my master’s degree. She told me (basically) no, not unless all state employees get a raise. I knew this going in and just needed it confirmed, yet somewhere in my heart I was hoping this wasn’t the case. When I graduate in April, I will no longer have the assistance of financial aid to help me support the family. For the first 3-6 months, this won’t be an issue. Gradually, though, it will be. A family of 4 making it on my salary is painful. Especially when 1/2 my take-home pay goes for rent (and we got lower rent when we moved into this little beaten down house).
To work so hard for 3 years and to know that I have to keep us going – this all makes it harder to face the choices I know I’ll need to deal with come May. I know I was naive to think that maybe there’d be some kind of adjustment. Even thinking about it now, I wonder if I momentarily thought I was in a Disney movie where happy endings happen?
Circling around, what does this all mean? I don’t know. Do I sit back, say “Well, here you are so just find things to cut in your budget and keep on going”? Do I bust my ass and watch the state and federal postings? Do I pat myself on the back for getting the degree, then let it sit idle while I hope that perhaps we all get a raise in the next 2-3 years? Meantime, we stay on reduced price lunch and I cover things by juggling until that plan gives up the ghost?
This isn’t a whine. I get the path that led here. I get that I should have considered this just a few short months ago, back when there was an out for me to finally get out of there. Ok, perhaps I should clarify that I would not have been committed to staying due to moving into the new area.
Here’s where it all gets tricky. I love my degree program. I made the right choice for me. Turning that into a career? I have no idea how to proceed. I love my government relations class, but I LOVE my law and ethics class (like 100% going into the midterm LOVE). How do I make sure that I use this thing that I really enjoy? Financial aid is a good field – helping students and making a difference. There is potential for me to learn systems and get to dig into working with the PS database.
And 3 years from now I’ll be earning exactly what I got the first day I started, dumb as a rank noob.
What if I am supposed to crawl out from under all of this and do something that meets my intellectual and financial needs? How on earth do I figure it out when I’m not even sure the passion that I’m feeling develop this term is long-lasting?
a very lost moonfire