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Old 12-22-2013, 07:02 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,116 times
Reputation: 10

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I've tried looking things up but it gets to a point where your own story is so specific that you can only get helpful information by actually talking to someone. So here goes... (I know it's long but please read, it's important)

When I graduated high school I had no idea what I wanted to do and no plans for the future. My parents pushed and pushed that if I didn't get a college degree my life would essentially be a failure. So I applied to the local college (Metropolitan State College of Denver) without even thinking of what I wanted and started taking classes. Because I didn't even want to be in school at the time I didn't fully dedicate my time and energy to it. I passed classes, I failed classes. It didn't really matter to me. I was never educated on loans and getting student loans was so easy I never saw the repercussions. Just sign a piece of paper and I have thousands of dollars. Through all this I did manage to pull together an associates degree in science (physics background). But essentially where I stand now is I've graduated high school 7 years ago, I've been in and out of school for 5 years now, I've accrued $70,000 in student loans, half private, half federal (my only blessing being they are all really low interest between 2 and 5 %, so I'm still under my goal of paying it off in under ten years, so the amount I'm not really too worried about) and no matter how I look at it I'm still at least 2 years from a degree.

When I started school I was doing Aviation. That was extremely boring and my future job opportunities weren't the best. But I mainly switched out because though I knew about the tuition I didn't know about the thousands of dollars in flying time that was required and not covered by student loans. I couldn't afford it so for my second year I went to an open degree option. Then my third year my home life fell to pieces. Due to the aftermath of my getting randomly without warning kicked to the curb out of my parents house (I had to walk ten miles to my friends house where I lived for two months, having to sneak into my parents house for my clothes and things) for chaotic stupid stuff (probably related to my moms crazy hormones), then leading to my parents messy divorce, my car breaking down and being phased out of my job, my life was in complete turmoil. I payed bills with credit cards and struggled to eat. I continued in school because the money I got from the student loans (after tuition) was the only thing keeping me afloat. Though because of everything going on even though I was in school, school was the furthest thing from my mind. I ended up failing pretty much all my classes and was put on academic suspension. I dropped from the school and picked up a full time job. I worked for a year as security in a hospital. After a year of seeing all the crappy people, who wasted their life, coming in and out of the emergency room on a regular basis I decided to get my act together. I applied to a community college took the couple classes that I needed and got my associates degree. At this point I felt my life was headed in a positive direction. I thought I had a good handle on what I wanted to do. I moved out of state to get away from the constant family turmoil and got into a pretty good school, Purdue in West Lafayette Indiana.

Unfortunately I then ran into more problems. During the two years of crisis before finishing my associates I racked up about 5,000 in credit card debt trying to pay my bills. When I moved to this state and went to school the out of state tuition in one year essentially doubled my student loan debt (to it's current level). Because of the time that passed since I took the classes before the ones I transferred into, the fact I didn't pay as much attention in those earlier classes than I should have, the stress of living in an entirely new location and coupled by being hounded by creditors, having to find a job to pay the bills. My year in this school was a flaming fireball of wreckage. My first semester I did terrible, two F's, a D and a C, and got put on academic probation. My second semester I did much better, three B's and a C, but my cumulative GPA was still .1 below what I had to be at so I was dropped. The secondary issue was because of my credit situation my credit score dropped to a 550 and any chances of procuring new student loans at the out of state tuition rate disappeared. Moving back to Colorado was not an option, because my family situation was still on fire, it would have been like jumping into a pond filled with hungry sharks. Imagine getting a call from one parent, they say "how are you doing?" and you think it'll be a regular conversation but then it's followed by tons of invasive questions about the other parent and when you refuse to answer you get blamed for taking sides. I would have been torn to pieces if I moved back. Being several states over I can easily just hit the ignore button on my phone and not have to worry about an angry parent showing up at my door to yell at me for no reason.

Where I stand now. I have 115 credits (years left in school depend on how those credits, mostly being transfer credits, apply to the program I'm in). To not get a bachelors degree would be completely stupid of me. My understanding is though I have to reapply to the school, getting back in is not completely off the table. I'm taking a year off, working 60 hours a week and by the time next fall hits I'll have almost completely wiped out my credit card debt. If I get back into school I can put my student loans on deferment which will allow me to wipe out my credit card debt completely in just a couple months, even while working reduced hours to allow time for school. Because of this improved situation my credit score has come back up some to about a 650. Not the best, but workable. Also having lived in this state a year I should qualify for in state tuition. So some student loan options are starting to come back on the table. Because I'm just your average, white, middle class raised, normal person my scholarship/grant searches to help pay for school have always come up empty.

I want to finish my degree but I'm afraid I'll still do terrible because I'm so far behind in the classes due to the time that's passed. Also I'm not sure if I want to do Physics anymore. I learned that to get a job in physics you pretty much need a masters or doctorate and I just want to be done with school. And I'm tired of sitting with my head in a book, I want a degree that allows me to build stuff, work with my hands, gives me skills and trains me to do a job. I'm just lost on what I should do. I want to talk to some kind of counselor to work this stuff out but I don't even know where I would find one of those.
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Old 12-22-2013, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Turn Left at Greenland
17,764 posts, read 39,750,808 times
Reputation: 8253
Since you are posting this in the NW Indiana forum, have you sought out anyone at Purdue Calumet in Hammond? I'm sure if you went in and talked about your situation to one of the counselors there, they may have suggestions for you.

I'm sorry you are going through this. It's unfortunate that you seemed to have gotten your college career off on a sour note with your parents pushing you into a situation that you weren't in to.
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:41 PM
 
Location: San Diego
1,766 posts, read 3,609,060 times
Reputation: 1235
Quote:
Originally Posted by domergurl View Post
Since you are posting this in the NW Indiana forum, have you sought out anyone at Purdue Calumet in Hammond? I'm sure if you went in and talked about your situation to one of the counselors there, they may have suggestions for you.

I'm sorry you are going through this. It's unfortunate that you seemed to have gotten your college career off on a sour note with your parents pushing you into a situation that you weren't in to.
I agree with all of this. You should go back to a school and talk an academic advisor. I would suggest thinking about getting a bachelors degree in physics and seeing if there is anything in that field that you might want to do. If it turns out that there are no positions you want to take in the physics field, look at other degrees that you might be interested in and see how many of your credits apply to that degree. Since the first year is mostly general ed courses and the second year involves a lot of transferable credits, you may find another degree that you're more interested in and may only need another year or so of school to complete. Good luck!

Also, there are a lot of scholarships (depending on the college you're applying to) that base their awards on a well written essay. You seem like you're a good writer that has had to deal with a lot in their life, so you may be able to get those scholarships based on that along with a commitment to achieve whatever goals you have. And, if you're not making too much money, there may be state and federal grants that you're eligible for to get help with tuition.
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
8,590 posts, read 12,363,220 times
Reputation: 24251
Don't let the amount of time that has passed deter you. A couple of years ago I went back to earn an additional certificate in a graduate level program. It's been a couple of decades since my last degree. You'll get back into the groove fairly fast if you apply yourself.

I don't know if you are male of female. Some towns have scholarships for older, returning students, particularly females. There are also scholarships available for those in STEM majors. Look into those. Look for local scholarships. They can add up quickly.

Given that you are likely in NW IN, don't overlook IU Northwest.
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