The very best thing about getting a $36,000 Masters Degree: I get to go Back to School Shopping again!
Supplies: I honestly think that a fresh, clean notebook is worth any dollar amount of tuition. It has been one of my favorite things since I could write. If I got a notebook every year for my birthday, it would be my very favorite present (this is not to suggest to those of you who I have explicitly requested give me money for new clothes for my birthday that a notebook will adequately replace said dollars. My clothes are falling off people! For this year, at least, I can buy my own notebooks. After this year, feel free to take up the practice). And it has long been one of my biggest school-shopping dilemmas: should I get a two-subject notebook or two separate notebooks and a binder?
On to clothes. I have set aside $100 for some new clothes, which is hardly adequate considering that I basically need an entirely new wardrobe now that I've lost nearly 30 pounds. But I suppose it will have to do for now, unless people get the hint for my birthday (one month and 20 days folks!). However, at my second job our department won a contest and I get a $50 gift card to spend in the store on clothes, bringing my total to $150! Hurray! Maybe I can get some new shoes too!
And then to books: only $234 for my first semester...but that's only for two classes and that's at the used price. I'm beginning to remember the weight of books in a backpack...which gives me a strange sense of exhiliration.
And finally, technology: Is it bad that I'm seriously looking into an Apple laptop just so I can get the free Nano iPod that goes with it (or a hefty discount on a bigger iPod)? Then I was thinking about it, and I've got a few older laptops at home, so I don't really need a new one...why not just save that $1200 or so dollars and just buy the iPod? Or maybe a new Palm. I'm really going to have some organizational issues, with tracking both jobs, classes, assignments, and social stuff I'm bound to miss something without a hefty planner and/or Palm. But then, I already have a Palm...which leads me back to the question: why not just save the $200 or so for the Palm I'd really like, and just get an iPod (Do you see a pattern here?)?
I keep having this dream that it's somewhere around midterm and I realize I haven't attended a single class. I've had it now off and on for six months or so. Eery.
I recently had a conversation with my best friend about expectations. I have another friend, we'll call her Angie, that moves from job to job, gets into less-than-mature relationships with girls that also can't hold jobs, and when she found she was four credits short of getting her high school diploma in her third semester, dropped out rather than buck up and finish it over the summer. And I'm having a hard time with the gap between us.
What makes a person like me do what it takes to get that diploma, that degree, and that job that I can stick with for the rest of my life? Why did I feel the need to push myself to finish that Associates degree by the end of the summer after high school, while another friend (only six credits short) did not? Why do I feel the need to get a Master's degree, own a home, and pay off my debts, while Angie seems to have goals which she implies will always remain only goals? What makes us so different?
Expectations make us different: I cannot remember a time when I didn't know that college was the next step. I have always had the encouragement to not only finish what I start, but to do well at what I do.
Sometimes I wonder why that is lacking in Angie's life. Her mom held a job for 30 years and recently retired with a full benefit. She is a good example, but maybe not a good encourager.
I may not have always had the best examples, but I've known what an honest, hard-working person is like, and I've always known that's what I have to be. And most importantly, I've always had that love and encouragement that never ceases to remind me that I am capable of anything.