Hi Friends – I am glad you are here for Coffee With Clare – every Thursday!
I am almost 40 years old, have 2 beautiful girls ages 8 and 10 and I recently got divorced. Although I receive child support, I MUST work. I really can’t stand my job and would love to go back to college and get my RN degree. My dilemma is – how do I juggle all this? I can’t afford college, and I must work full-time. Do you see any practical way I can do this? Since I have had such recent “upheaval” in my life and with all the changes, I would love to have the gumption to “go for it”! I covet your response and any helpful tips you may have.
Signed – Burned out looking for a change.
Dear Burned Out:
As someone who can personally say that I stayed way too long in a career choice that I couldn’t stand, I would say without a doubt, “GO FOR IT!” There are all kinds of programs out there for non-traditional students and single parents – scholarships, grants (governmental and private), and student loans. The first step is completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This will provide you with a good start of what types of aid are available as well as what your expected family contribution (EFC) will be. Most colleges will require completion of the FAFSA. I would also recommend that you DO NOT take out private loans to go to college. Private loans usually carry a substantially higher interest rate than guaranteed student loans. (For more information, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov). Colleges offer a wide variety of options to better accommodate working adults including evening, weekend and online classes, just make sure that any college you are thinking of attending is regionally accredited AND has a nursing program that is accredited by the American Association of Colleges and Nursing (AACN). Even though this is probably very, very, scary – I would say now in the time to do it!
I remember, after I had my second baby, I really wanted to go to court reporting school. I was an experienced legal secretary, and hated that career choice, and didn’t “go for it” as I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work – and I have always regretted not “going for it”! But there are a lot more creative ways for people to go back to school these days than there were 25 years ago! You can do this! And in the middle of all this, please be sure to surround yourself with a support system, whether it be family, friends, or co-workers! Please let me know how it turns out!
I would love to hear from you! I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org