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Coffee With Clare

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Hi Friends – I am glad you are here for Coffee With Clare – every Thursday!  

Dear Clare

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 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! 

Antique golden key in the sand

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!

 Clare Speer - Life Ain't Easy Street About Page


I would love to hear from you!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at: 


Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • Amanda says:

    This is great advice that my mum probably could have used when I was going off to college for the first time. It can be so hard to juggle it all! xx

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Amanda! It can be so hard to juggle everything for sure – especially when you add younger children into the mold! Thanks for sharing!

  • Pam says:

    Yes, I agree. Especially since you are not happy with your current job. If you think you would enjoy nursing start taking classes now. I don’t know if you already have taken any college classes. I know you have to take the prerequisite classes before going into the actual nursing program. From someone who is older I say start taking classes now. I regret not going to college when I was younger. Hopefully you have friends or family that can help you with your daughters when needed. But I believe anything is possible & you might as well be in a career field where you will make decent money & do something where you don’t hate going to work each day. Most of us have to work. Life’s not easy, hence the blog name! I believe you can go back to school at any age & make a difference. You & your girls can sit at the table & do homework together. No regrets!

    • Clare says:

      Yes – such wonderful thoughts and comments – and it’s true if she is going to go for it – to choose something she will like, and can make decent money too! I think we can go back to school at any age! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Pam! It helps!

  • Nancy says:

    Awesome advice…just get going! It will be tough, but well worth it when you make it to the other side

    • Clare says:

      So true… love that “well worth it when you make it to the other side” – so so true. I don’t think when she completes the program that she will regret it for a minute! I appreciate your stopping by and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  • I like your positive attitude. Yes, it’s hard, but there is always a way.

  • andi says:

    and that she tries NOT to get herself in debt too much

    • Clare says:

      Right, Andi – such a great point! It’s tough on folks when they have a lot of debt to pay back, especially since “burned out” has a family – so she should consider the cost differentials with different school programs, too! Thanks!

  • katerina m says:

    Great post! Very inspirational
    I am so thankful for FASFA I don’t think I’d be able to finish school without it
    Kat | Delirium Style

    • Clare says:

      Great Katerina- thanks for sharing about the FASFA program – that hopefully will encourage “burned out” to find out more about this program, and possible other school options, too!

  • It’s tough with a job like nursing and similar fields… you must get a degree otherwise you can’t do anything in that field. There are other medical-related fields however like medical transcription services that take certifications. They don’t cost much and they are very quick!

    • Clare says:

      Yes – thanks for sharing that there are other options out there in the medical field – I think just depending on what specifically you want to do, how long you want to be in school, cost of school programs and also the salary consideration. Thanks for sharing, Rachel! It is always good to check out all options!

  • Paola says:

    I think its never too late. I have changed careers many times and studied a lot, and I think its fun and good for you to keep up with your interests!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks for sharing that encouragement Paola – no, it’s never took late! I am glad that you have managed changing careers many times – that gives us hope for sure!

  • Mikki Jo says:

    Great information!

  • Jennifer says:

    It’s always great to hear someone else’s perspective when overwhelmed by a problem.

    • Clare says:

      It is always great to hear other people’s perspectives and I thank the readers that have joined in and shared their comments and thoughts, too! Thanks for sharing!

  • Lakisha says:

    Go For It! Best advice. I recently went for it and went back to college and finally started my own blog, as well as working full time. Anything is possible.

    • Clare says:

      I am so glad you “went for it” Lakisha! That is very, very encouraging to us all and thanks so much that you shared that…. and shared that you started a blog! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Becki S says:

    What a positive blog to stumble upon! I love that you offer encouragement. You are right in telling her to go for it!

    • Clare says:

      Thanks so much Becki – stop back any time and I also do “Coffee With Clare” every Thursday!!!!! I think with these wonderful comments we are all offering this dear woman with lots of encouragement and I hope she does “go for it”!!!!!

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