Tag Archive | college

Study Buddy

I’m not sure if I mentioned recently, but I started my online college classes to get my bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science.  This is the first step to getting my teaching certificate to be a full-time teacher.  I just finished my first 6 week course and I’m about to start my second class.

It has been interesting trying to balance work, family and class work.  So far I have survived and hope it will continue.  I have always been a perfectionist, yet I didn’t realize how bad I was until I started getting graded on my course work.  The first few grades that I received that were not 100% was a little tough on me.  But as time progressed, I was able to rationalize with myself and decided that it would be boring if every grade I got was a 100%.  I needed to get some lower grades from time to time to make it a challenge.  The funny part is that I am the first to tell my kids that I don’t care if they get straight A’s, I just want them to do their best work.  So why did I feel that I had to have straight A’s on my work?  Needless to say, in the course of the last 6 weeks, I have decided that as long as I pass the class, I really don’t care if my grade is an A.

This leads me to my reason for writing this.  My kids have been very good during this first stage in my college experience.  In fact, if it wasn’t for my little study buddy, Ann, I wouldn’t have made some of my deadlines.  My sweet little 7-year-old daughter would ask to sit with me when I was doing my course work.  I told her as long as she didn’t bother me, I didn’t care.  In the end, I am very grateful that she was there.  I don’t do very well when I have to read a big amount of text at a time.  So I would often doze off when I was in the middle of reading some articles.  But my little study buddy was always there to say, “Wake up Mama.” and would even give me a shake if I needed it.  So who says your study buddy has to understand the material you are learning?  My study buddy is in the 2nd grade and I couldn’t ask for a better one!

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In God’s Time (Life After Layoff – Chapter 10)

I am amazed that God hasn’t given up on me by now.  He should be referring to me as a scatter minded woman who can’t make a decision, because that’s how I have acted.  But thankfully, God never gives up on his children.  What is it that has me so scatter minded?  What college to attend.

I started out with my search for a college more than a month ago.  I had my mind set on going to College A, because the tuition was cheaper and it seemed like that would be the best choice.  However, when I couldn’t get an appointment with an academics adviser at College A quickly enough, I started looking closer at what College B had to offer.  I had made an appointment with College A, however College B was able to get me in to see an academics adviser sooner.  So some time over night, my desires to attend College A switched to wanting to attend College B.  Just because they had a sooner opening on their calendar.

However, my youngest son became sick the day of my appointment at College B, so I had to cancel that appointment.  I was able to reschedule with College B and will be meeting with them next week.  Thankfully I still had my appointment set up for College A, which I went to today.

Do you see why God would think I’m pretty scatter minded?  I have two colleges that can give me the same result, but one might cost more than the other.  Due to the fact that one adviser can get me in sooner than the other was enough to switch my desire to attend that college.  Boy, do I need help!

Today I visited with the academic adviser at College A.  Now remember, College A was my first choice from the beginning.  Mostly because of the lower tuition cost.  It’s all about the money people…all about the money.  🙂

As I was driving to College A, I reminded myself that this was my first choice to begin with.  However it’s God’s choice that matters, not mine.  He has the plan for my future, I just have to be willing to show up for the events.  That is my conclusion on life anyway.

After visiting with the academic adviser at College A, I have determined that this might not be the college for me.  At least, that’s what I’m thinking now.  After my appointment next week with College B, I might be singing a new tune.  🙂

This is what I have discovered from my visit at College A:

  • The college is too far away.  It takes me 30 minutes to get to the campus from my house.
  • None of my earlier credits will be accepted.  So I will be starting over as a freshman.
  • About 14 classes can be taken at a Community College and transferred to this college.  Which means the tuition cost would be less for those classes.
  • Another cost that I’m not ready to deal with is textbooks!  I visited the bookstore before my appointment and couldn’t believe the cost of the textbooks.  I’m not talking about the new price either, I’m talking about the used or rented price.  Oh me, oh my!

So where does this leave me?  A little worried, a little confused, a little depressed and a little determined.  Worried, because I want to get my teaching degree as quickly as possible, so I can get a teaching job full-time.  Confused, because I just realized how wishy-washy I have been on this college decision.  One day I like this college, then the next day I change my mind.  Depressed, because I am still not sure what my future is going to bring.  Determined, because when I want something bad enough, I figure a way to get it done.

I also am very insightful, because this setback has made me remember that I wanted to try substituting at different schools before I started college and that hasn’t happened yet.  I have substituted many times this year at my children’s school, which is a Catholic school.  But I have not substituted at a public school or even at another Catholic school.  I have not tested the waters, so to speak, like I had planned to.

As always, it’s going to come together in God’s time…not mine.  So where do I go from here?

  1. Meet with the academic adviser at College B next week.
  2. Keep an open mind to what both colleges have to offer.
  3. Remember that I need to get more exposure to other schools, which won’t happen until this Fall.
  4. Remember that God is in control.

Number 4 is the biggest and toughest one to do.  I know he’s in control of the big things in life, but I have to remind myself that he’s also in control of the little things in life.  So for now, I will be thankful that I got a chance to meet with the academics adviser at College A.  I can take this information and compare it to the information I receive from College B next week.

I will try to stop speeding up the college process and know that it will all fall in place in God’s time.  Last, but not least, I will try to focus my energies on working with my kids this summer.  Teaching degree or not, I’ve got my own class of four to teach for now.  🙂

Doubts, Depression and Encouragement (Life After Layoff – Chapter 9)

Lately I’ve been dealing with more depression than normal.  I believe this is because of a variety of reasons, but mostly because of all the unknown and change in my life.  As I said earlier, my mind has played tricks on me.  Trying to get me to take the easy way out.  It doesn’t help when I had an appointment at one of the colleges to meet with an academic adviser on Wednesday, but had to cancel it because my little boy vomited before school that morning.  Needless to say, I was very disappointed in the turn of events.  After having the interview the previous day, I was ready to visit this college and see how long it would take to get my teacher degree.  Then my son got sick.

So I called and canceled my appointment and stayed home to take care of my boy.  When I posted my disappointment on my Facebook page, my ever-wise sister commented the following:

{Still working on your future and his.  You will remember you loved him enough to put him first and so will he.  There is a time for everything.  One step at a time.}

I wanted to be a whiner and cry about my misfortune, but I knew what my sister said was true.  There is a time for everything and that day was not the right day for me to go to that college.  Instead, I was supposed to be with my little one and just be a mom for the day.  I have made a new appointment and hopefully this time everything will work out.

Although there have been some setbacks and some moments of doubt and depression, there has also been signs that I’m on the right path.  The other day I was working Aftercare at my children’s school and one of the 8th grade kids asked when I would be their substitute teacher again.  I was a little moody that day and commented what had been on my mind.

I replied, “Whenever they call me because they are in a desperate need of help and I’m the only one willing to drop everything and come in.”

I know that was not a very grown up response, but that is how I have felt lately.  It seems that when a teacher has an arranged time off, the school gets a different person to substitute.  But when a teacher gets sick during the day and the school is in desperate need of a replacement, I’m the one they call.  This might not be the real scenario, but that’s how my mind sees it.

I guess you could say that I am at a point where I want to BELONG to a school.  I want to be part of the faculty on a daily basis, not just when the school is in need of a one-day hero.  But it did make me feel good to know that one of the 8th grade kids liked having me as a substitute.  At least I know I’m wanted by the students.

Then today at church, I saw a 7th grade boy who had left for a military school half way through the school year.  He had finished 7th grade and will be back to my children’s school next year.  It was an honor to see him decked out in his Junior ROTC uniform.  When I greeted him with a big smile and went to shake his hand, he came over and gave me a hug.  Wow, what a pleasant surprise that was.  It showed me that my presence in his life, no matter how brief, made an impact on him.

These might seem like little coincidences that I’m hoping to be signs, but whether they are or not, I’m going to continue to look at them as signs that I’m going in the right direction with my pursuit to become a teacher.  Because when you are struggling with the doubts in your mind, you need all the encouragement you can find.

A Face to Face Interview (Life After Layoff – Chapter 8)

I’ve been busy, putting the wheels in motion to get enrolled in college.  I’ve also been applying for jobs every week,  so I will qualify for my unemployment benefits.  I’ve applied for so many substitute teaching jobs that by the time the new school year starts, I’m going to be pretty busy.  Which is fine.  The more exposure, the better.

Our church bulletin had a job opening posted in it the other day for an Accounts Receivable clerk at a local Catholic school/parish.  It just so happened that the priest that married Frank and I has been assigned to this parish for a few years now.  So I sent in my résumé to apply for the job.

Guess what, I got an interview scheduled that same day.  What are the odds?  I had also made some appointments with two local colleges to take a tour and meet with a financial adviser.  So yesterday was the day of my job interview for the full-time Accounts Receivable position at the Catholic school/parish.

I had mixed emotions when I was driving to the interview.  I spoke to God and told him that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.  The job posting said full-time, but I was hoping that it could be a job that could be a part-time position, at least for the summer.  That would at least help me with child care during the summer.

My mind has played tricks with me lately.  As much as I want to become a teacher, I have started to question my choice.  Let’s just say that the Devil has been working overtime on my mind.  I’ve had a variety of things pass my mind lately.  Things like:

“Can I handle being a teacher on a daily basis?”

“Can I handle being with my kids all summer?”

“Will a teacher’s pay be enough to keep our family afloat financially?”

“Will I get enough financial assistance to pay for my college?”

“Will I find a job once I get my degree?”

These and so many more things have danced around in my head.  Not enough to scare me, but enough to make me start thinking that getting another accounting job would be easier.  It’s that comfort zone that I have been in for 15 years.  I would go to work and not have to be a mom for 9 hours of my day.  My kids would have to go to summer camp, but at least I wouldn’t have to try to keep them alive on my own all summer long.  Yep, I was looking for an escape route to get out of the path of the unknown.

I do not like change, but I’m doing my best to just ride the wave.  I’ve done well, for the most part, but as the kids are counting down the days before summer starts, I find myself hyperventilating more and more.  I have great ambitions to get my kids in a routine and keep their brains sharp during the summer.  I want them to walk into next year’s school year with sharper skills.  That goal is reachable for me, but when you put my kids into the equation, things start to look bleak.

So you can imagine my conversation with God yesterday morning.  Before it was done, I stopped asking what to do and started telling him what I wanted.  Do you know that when you start talking to God on this level you start learning things that you didn’t expect?  I was telling him things that were tangible and things that only a miracle from God could deliver.

By the time I arrived at the interview, I was able to walk in there with a clear mind.  I knew what I needed from them to make this job work for me.  If the criteria was met, then this was the job for me.  The interview went well and it was nice to have my first face to face interview with my old priest.  Frank, ever the comedian, told me the night before that I should go ahead and make a confession while I was there.  You know, kill two birds with one stone.  Ha ha ha  Isn’t he just a card?

During the interview I told them what I had accomplished in my past positions and asked them questions like hours and wages.  It turned out that they really do want a full-time employee and unfortunately the summer is their end of the year for their financial books.  So that means that one of my biggest hurdles would not be avoided, I would have to figure out what to do with my kids during the summer.

I have always been pretty confident when it comes to interviews, but I did something yesterday that I had never done before.  At the end of the interview I was telling them that I would have to take some time to think over the position.  I would have to see if the salary and the cost of child care would be worth it for me.  This is a common response from someone who has been offered a job, but I hadn’t had it offered to me yet.  When I realized that I was putting the cart before the horse, I had to backtrack a bit.  So I summed it up by saying that while I was thinking it over, they could decide if I would be a good fit to their team.

Needless to say, I have added all the factors together and it would not be a good opportunity to take.  I feel that this was a way of God showing me that I need to stay on the path that I have chosen to take, no matter how hard the path might seem.  So for now, I will continue to apply for substituting jobs and continue my pursuit to get my teaching degree.  Will I be a good teacher?  Only God knows.  So I need to put my trust in him and let him lead me to my next journey in life.

The Dreaded Phone Interview (Life After Layoff – Chapter 7)

It’s Friday, the day I have dreaded.  Today is the day I scheduled my phone interview with a cell phone company.  I know this sounds stupid, but although I applied for the job, I really don’t think I can work at a desk job anymore.  Truthfully, I was having trouble staying awake at my last desk job.  I have sleep apnea, which started some time after my second child was born.  Well, that’s not true.  It started when my first child was born, but I didn’t get it diagnosed until my second child came along.  But that is another story in itself.  So the thought of going back to a desk job and fighting the sleep thing every day does not appeal to me.

But I had applied for the job, so I needed to follow through with my intentions and have the phone interview.  It hadn’t occurred to me until last night, but I really was lucky.  It was just a phone interview, it could have been a face to face interview instead.  Marie made me realize that when she questioned me about the interview.  She asked why it wasn’t going to be an interview in person.  I don’t know why, but I am very thankful it wasn’t.

Needless to say, the morning did not start out like I had planned.  The kids were tired from the previous nights activities, (read Head Out of The Sand) so they did not make it to mass this morning.  Well, Marie did, but none of the others did.  So I didn’t get to sit in church and pray for God’s guidance like I had wanted to.  Instead, I got the kids to school around 8:30am and we sat on the bench in the hall until mass was over.  There was not a lot of praying going on in that hallway this morning.  Oh well, you don’t have to be in a church to pray to God.  So when I arrived home, I sit in my quiet house and said a pray for God’s help on this phone interview.  I was nervous, sick to my stomach and very irritable.

The woman from the cell phone company called right at 9:30am.  The interview lasted about 10 minutes.  I am now breathing a sigh of relief, because the position she was interviewing for was the Financial Analyst job, not the Accounts Payable job.  So I explained to her the mix up I made when I submitted my résumé the first time.  She seemed to understand.  God works in mysterious ways.  The Accounts Payable job that I was originally applying for had already been filled.  Praise the Lord!  I don’t know if I have ever been this happy about NOT getting a job before.

So what have a learned from this?  Number one, I need to get the final things completed in my college enrollment so I don’t have to keep applying for jobs.  Number two, be sure the jobs I apply for are second shift or part-time jobs to eliminate any issues of having a babysitter conflict.  And last, but not least, keep my faith in God that he does have a plan for my future and it seems to still be pointing to the teaching field.  Man, I need a nap after this exciting morning.  LOL

What Does My Future Hold? (Life After Layoff – Chapter 6)

Great news, I finally got signed up for unemployment benefits and have actually received a few weeks pay.  However, to get my unemployment benefits, I need to apply for two jobs every week.  No problem, right?  This is the day of technology and a few clicks of the mouse will give you the power to send your résumé to a number of jobs.

So that is what I’ve done.  I’ve applied for one substitute teaching job and one accounts payable job a week.  I’ve applied for 4 jobs in the last two weeks.  Since the school year is almost over, I know that getting a substitute teaching job is probably not likely.  However, it might help me get my foot in the door for next year’s school year.

I applied at a cell phone company the first week.  I was interested in an Accounts Payable position.  However, after I had submitted my résumé, I realized that the job I applied for was Financial Analyst – Reporting.  This is a position I could do, but I don’t WANT to do.  My last position pushed me into a job like that, because all the things I enjoyed doing was taken from me.

So the following week, I applied for the Accounts Payable position at the same cell phone company.  If I had to go back into an Accounting job, which I really don’t want to, Accounts Payable is the one area of Accounting that I still enjoy.  However, I have decided I don’t want to go back to a desk job.  I want to be a teacher.  I want to help kids learn about studies and about life.

Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, that’s what I thought too.  However, something in my résumé has caused a recruiter from the cell phone company to want to go to the next step in the process.  A phone interview.  I know what some of you are thinking.  ‘Good job, you could be back to work in no time.’

Great!  But what will I do with my kids this summer?  I can’t leave them home alone and I can’t afford to send them to summer camp.  Believe me, I did the summer camp thing last year and I had to get a loan at the end of the summer to pay for the remaining weekly tuition.  Not to mention that most summer camps will not take a 13-year-old.  Most camps are for kids that are in the 2nd grade and younger.  However, I don’t feel comfortable leaving my oldest daughter alone during the summer.  I would feel better if my oldest son was at home with her, however, they couldn’t get through a day without fighting.  So what do I do?

Not to mention that I want to go back to college in the fall to get my teaching degree.  I plan to go back to school full-time, while the kids are in school.  So how do I go to school and work at the same time?  See my predicament?

I was told from the unemployment office that I could get my unemployment benefits and not have to apply for jobs if the college classes I was taking were “Approved Training”.  However, I can’t get my college classes approved until I register and start to go back to school.

To some people, this whole thing would not be an issue.  They might fix their job search log so it appeared they were searching for a job when they really weren’t and continue to get unemployment.  But my conscious won’t let me do that.  However, I don’t want to purposely screw up my interview with this cell phone company.  Because there is no telling if it will come back to haunt me later.

So what do I do?  I scheduled my phone interview for Friday around 9:30am.  This way I can go to mass with my kids Friday morning and pray to God that he will get me through this phone interview the honest way.  No, I’m not going to ask God to help me not get the job.  I’m going to hand it over to God and let him guide me in the right direction.

Maybe this opportunity will lead me in a direction that I would never expect.  Only God knows what I am capable of.  Only God knows what I am supposed to do with the rest of my life.  So I need to trust that God will put the right words in my mouth and lead me in the right direction.

I know that my words may sound like I am the bravest person alive.  Truthfully, as I am typing this, I am SCARED TO DEATH!!  Because I think I know what my future has to hold for me and what if God has different plans?  Why did my résumé have to be so darn appealing?  Why couldn’t I have been more of a screw up in my last job?  I know you are thinking that I’m joking, but I’m not.  These are the things that are going through my mind right now.

I guess you could say that I learned two lessons today.

  1. Applying to the same company for two different positions might have made them think I REALLY wanted to work for them.
  2. What I have planned for my future and what God has planned might be two different things.

What will happen at my phone interview on Friday?  I don’t know.  But I do know one thing, I am going to do my best to not worry about it.  I’m going to leave this in God’s hands and trust that he knows what is best for me and my kids.

Pennies From Heaven (Life After Layoff – Chapter 4)

You know that saying about pennies from heaven?  They say that when you find a penny on the ground, it’s a sign that someone in heaven is thinking about you.  After the day I had, that might be true.

I had a big day today, getting one step closer to my future job as a teacher.  When I was heading back to the job placement center after lunch, I found two pennies in the parking lot.  I picked them up, said thanks to my mom for the encouragement and walked in to talk to a college counselor.

Things went better than I expected and I left there with myself much closer to my teaching degree.  I was very pleased with myself.

Then I dropped a few books off at the library, before I picked up the kids from school.  It was then that I found another penny in the parking lot.  This time, as I picked it up, I knew it was mom’s way of telling me she was proud of me.  It brought a tear to my eye, knowing she was watching over me still.

Some people would tell me that those pennies were not from heaven.  They just fell out of a person’s pocket.  But I don’t believe that.  I believe that they are from my mom.

I Am Scared to Death (Life After Layoff – Chapter 2)

Today, I am embarking on a new phase in my life.  I was laid off from my job of 15 years as an Accounting Clerk at an Insurance Company back in August 2014.  I was fortunate enough to get a 7 month separation package from my old company, which meant I got a paycheck and kept my health insurance coverage during that time.  Unfortunately, my 7 month separation package has been exhausted and I am now officially unemployed and without health insurance.

This is part of the reason I am scared to death.  Because I know there is no more big paychecks being deposited into our checking account any more on my behalf.  There is only one pay check coming in from my husband’s job.  My husband has insurance coverage on himself through his company, but it is very expensive and we can’t afford to add myself or the children on his company plan.  If we did, he wouldn’t have a paycheck to cash.

So I am stepping out of my comfort zone to ask for help.  I am in the process of filing an unemployment claim to get some financial assistance for a while.  You see, I have not been sitting around the house the last 7 months.  I’ve worked as a substitute teacher at my children’s school.  I started out doing it for a little extra cash, plus give me a chance to be around my kids.  I had no idea that I would fall in love with teaching, but I did.

This is where the scary part comes in.  I have a plan in my head that sounds practical, but I don’t know if it’s going to work out.  I have an Associate Degree in Accounting and an Associate Degree in Data Processing from a Community College.  The two degrees helped me get into the accounting position at my previous job.  However, to find a job that paid as well as my previous job, I’d need to have a Bachelor’s Degree.

But I decided to go back to college to get a teaching degree instead of a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.  Teaching appeals to me more, plus I would be able to have the same hours as my kids do, which would help me with childcare expenses.

I know this may surprise you, but I am not always brave.  I have stood strong and supported my family and friends through many scary things.  I have faith in God above and know he is guiding my every step.  However, when it comes to having faith in myself, I fall short.  That section of my life was reserved for my mother.  She always had faith in my ability to do anything.  However, she is in Heaven now.

Oh, how I wished she was a phone call away today.  Because I needed to hear her tell me that everything would be okay.  Instead, I had to ask myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” and the answer is they tell me no.  Then I told myself, if that happens, I’ll just need to go home, regroup and start again.

Stop and Rewind (Life After Layoff – Chapter 3)

Is it just me or do we all have our side blinders on these days and don’t take the time to look back at where we have been?  I am guilty of this, so that is probably why God gave me the tools I needed to stop and rewind today.  I don’t recall if I have told my blog followers yet, but I have been unemployed for 8 months now.  I had worked at a desk job for a large company for 15 years and in August 2014, I was laid off.  The terminology they used is “Reduction In Force” or RIF, but honestly it was my ticket out of jail.  🙂

So for the last 7 months I have enjoyed the luxury of living off of my separation packet from my old job.  I have worked around the house, took naps, substituted at my kid’s school, took naps, finished Marie’s Story and took naps.  Okay, by now you should have noticed that I am napping a lot!!!  But hey, I needed and deserved it.  I have worked ever since I graduated from college in 1992 and I was tired.  Not to mention the fact that I have four children at home, so when I wasn’t clocked in at my paying job, I was at my family job.  So yes, I have taken great advantage of my 7 month break from working.

However, all good things must come to an end.  Things like separation packages that keep my bank account full, family insurance at a great rate and the luxury of not worrying about money.  But now that my separation package has ended, I have to start on my plans.  First I had planned on getting a similar desk job, but then I was bitten by the teaching bug.  So now, at the age of 45, I am going back to college for a teaching degree.

Today was one of the first steps towards this new future.  I had went to a job force company that works with the unemployment office.  They help dislocated employees (that’s me), to get the training they need to get a new job.  Today I spent some time listening to all the resources I have available to me.  Then I had to create a résumé to show to my career counselor.  Making that resume made me realize that I am a pretty smart cookie.  If I wanted to, I could walk right back into a similar job like my last one.  But I just don’t have the desire to.

I want to work with kids, mostly middle school kids.  I want to feel like I have made a difference in this world.  Like I have left my mark on this world, through helping kids succeed.  I have to say that after reviewing my résumé, it occurred to me that I have not been giving myself enough credit.  When you get laid off from work, it is easy to forget all you have accomplished.  But God helped me stop and rewind my life a bit, to see how amazing I am.

But that is not all he did for me.  He also got me connected to a woman named Kyley, that helped me fill out a Pell Grant loan to attend college.  I have not enrolled in a college yet, but I am so much closer than I was yesterday.  That is a great feeling.  But God wasn’t done showing me the great things I have accomplished.

While I was working with Kyley, I ran into an old temp that helped me at my old company.  We had lost contact with each other, so we had to get caught back up.  She knew me when I was a mother of two kids.  She had no idea that I had two more.  She was in awe at how good I looked after being a mother of 4.  She also was not surprised when I informed her that I was going to be a teacher.

When she was working with me at my old company, I had to train her to do my job before I went on medical leave.  She had told me then that I was a great teacher.  So she was not surprised to hear me say that I was going back to college to become a teacher.  It sure was a good feeling to know that other people from my past had faith in my abilities.  I enjoyed reminiscing with her and it got me thinking back.  By the time I left there, I realized that I was pretty darn great.  In fact, I think I left there with a much lighter step and with my shoulders held back a little taller.  Because God gave me a chance to stop and rewind.

My mom had a favorite quote she used often, “You’ve come a long way baby!”  Today I realized that I had come a long way.  With everything; my career, my family and my personal issues.  I have been so busy looking at all the things in front of me, that I haven’t had time to look at my past and be proud.  I really have come a long way and I’m glad I realized it.

It makes me realize how important it is to be thankful for all the things that add up to your life.  I am a different person because of the things I have experienced.  I am much stronger now.