Archive for the ‘USF – U Stay Forever’ Category

Really, really good news

March 13, 2009

So today was The Day. My deadline for USF to receive my Spring tuition of $649. So I went online and tried to pay it but my school’s website is so confusing that I didn’t know what I was doing.

Luckily, I am at school as I was working on training for my job and hopped right over to the Cashier’s office where I was told I had $980 due.

Um, WHAT? No, no, no. I have $649.

So I guess my fall tuition that I have to pay now before I can register for classes, that is over $700, was factored into all of that. But I thought it would be much, much higher. I figured it to be close to $1,400.

So here’s what I think happened: Even though the meanie lady at the financial aid office told me I wasn’t received federal aid, I did. It shows on my transcript that they gave me $421 for this semester. So, in reality, I only had $228 due today. But they also added that $700 bill as well, bringing my total to that $980.

So I stupidly paid $649 because that’s what I thought I had to pay. And USF better not charge me late fees for not paying the entire thing because the only thing due today was tuition, not what I had left over from fall. I need to find that piece of mail and make sure there isn’t a due date on it but I’m almost positive there isn’t.

I thought I’d have to work my tailbone off and not take a class for Summer but I just might be able to. 🙂 I really hope so. I would like to graduate before I’m 30.

The good news is, it’s paid. And maybe, just maybe, USF will refund me the difference if I overpaid (but that’s doubtful. We are talking about USF after all). The bad news is, my beautiful check this week? It’s gone. I have no money. I’m back to being poor and dependent on my momma.

But next paycheck? 🙂 It’s going to be beautiful since I have an all-day training next Saturday which will be on that check. I’m already counting down the days.

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Kicking. My. Butt.

February 3, 2009

I’m only taking 2 classes this semester, thanks to the fabulous educational system we have here in Florida. I was signed up for 4, found out my financial aid got canceled, and now I’m only taking 2. These are two pre-req classes I need to go further in the College of Journalism. I was taking another class, which I’m going to take in the summer (another pre-req) and a fourth online criminology class that I was taking because one of my scholarships required me to have a full load.

So I dropped those 2 classes after the first week of classes when I found out I had to find a way to pay for my own schooling.

And can I just say how badly these two classes are KICKING MY BUTT?

One of them is strictly online (although he does take time on Wednesday afternoon, during our normal scheduled classtime to go over the material) and each module is so extensive and booooring. I get through them the best as I can and now that I have my book (that I paid $8 for. That’s right. EIGHT DOLLARS…FOR A SCHOOL TEXTBOOK! My professor said we didn’t have to get the latest edition. Have I mentioned how much I love him?), I can hopefully do better on the tests. We’ll see, though.

The other class is MW mornings, 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. It’s a fun class. I like it. The teacher worked for 25 years with the St. Petersburg Times and has done a lot of other freelance work so she knows her stuff. And can I take a minute to brag on myself? On Wednesday, we were given the task to sift through tons and tons of AP wire stories on a group of mountain climbers who got stuck on Mount Hood (a mountain in Oregon) a few years ago. There had to be about 20 stories, dating from the minute they heard of the problem up until everyone was rescued. There were also stories relating to other people lost on the same mountain. So we were instructed to look through that material and construct a 900-word story that would be featured in National Geographic (not that we would get published, but you know…). So we only had 90 minutes to do this. I spent 1 hour looking at the material and just 30 minutes working on the story. I didn’t even have time to edit. So on Monday morning, our teacher came in and put the names of the top 3 stories on the board.

Um, guess whose name was on the list?

Yep. Yours truly. Ah. Amazing. Do you know how awesome that is? When I was doing teaching, I was always at the bottom. I was always the intern who needed so much extra work. My friends could whip up a lesson in 5 minutes and get rave reviews from their principal’s where I would work on a lesson 10 times until I perfected it, teach it to my students, and then get so-so reviews from my teacher. Obviously, teaching is not my thang.

ANYWHO, where was I? Oh, the class. Well, for this class we have to write EIGHT stories. And these stories have to be written with 3 different sources. I’m talking interview sources. I can’t use an easy-peasy website. For my first story, due tomorrow, I interviewed my grandma, who is a Stage IV colon cancer survivor and everything she went through in 2008, regarding finding out she had cancer and all that jazz. That interview took about 2 hours (but you have to understand us women – we analyze things to death so she would mention a time or date or something and we would have to talk about it for 15 minutes to make sure it was accurate, bleghhh). And then I had to find 2 other sources. Luckily (well, rather unluckily for her; lucky for me), she had to go up to the hospital on Friday to get a shot (her white blood cell count is super, super low so these are helping to get it up) so I spoke the the nurses there.

And seriously considered changing my major. They have so much fun – and they are cancer nurses! They just laugh and joke around and have a blast. And my grandma is, like, a celebrity with them. They love her.

But, ugh, it was so much work. And I have another story due a week from tomorrow! But I’m going to do it on Weight Watchers since I tried it out and my mom has done it and she has people at her work doing it. It’ll be interesting.

(As a side note: I might have gotten a job! I swallowed my pride and called my old work, a daycare, to find out if they were hiring. When I was there, they were always hiring. And they were! I’m going to go tomorrow after my morning class to fill out an application and probably see some familiar faces!)

(As a side, side note: I’m never ordering something new on Amazon again! I bought both of my textbook used and they are in mint condition. They look like new textbooks! Amazing.)

Is there such thing as a good cry?

January 28, 2009

Honestly, I’ve never understood that expression. “A good cry.” Whenever I have a nice, long, snotty-nosed, hyperventilating sobbing cry, it just makes me feel worse. And I feel I’m entitled to gorge on chocolate and caffeine.

I had one of those cries on Monday night. See, the thing with me is I keep everything inside. My emotions are locked up so tight that every once in a while, it’ll all come spilling out and I’ll just let out a nice, big cry.

I think it’s started to hit me that I have to find some way to pay for the rest of my schooling. Because the school system is stupid and I’m not allowed to change my mind, my financial aid is kaput. My mom actually called my school yesterday and was a little “Mama Bear” with them and they told her that they “cannot keep paying for someone who keeps changing their mind.”

OK.

This is my 3rd year of college. When I entered USF in Fall 2006, my major was elementary education. And this is the FIRST TIME I’ve changed it. Yeah, it took me way too long to figure that out but it’s not like I’m off robbing banks or popping out kids. No, I just want an education.

I’m wondering if I move to another state, if they’ll let me use financial aid. I would love to move to Georgia where my favorite two people in the entire world live. Hey! I could be my own news story! “Girl Spends 10 Years Using Up Funds in 5 Different States And Still Has No Degree.” Hm.

Anyway, I don’t know what to do. I petitioned my uncle (the one my father stabbed, insert horror movie stabbing noises) for some money for books. Yep. I’m 4 weeks into the semester with no books. So he, along with 2 other aunts and uncles were able to get me a check. That was nice.

I still need money for this semester, due by March 13th. I need to get a job. My mom thinks she’s going to use her tax return money to help me pay but that’s not gonna happen. If I can get a job soon, I should make enough to pay that off. Hopefully.

I’m trying for scholarships as well. USF has a bunch and I’m waiting on 2 letters of recommendation from 2 teachers who probably don’t even remember me. And I need to write an essay for another scholarship I found (It’d give me $1,500!)

If nothing else, this will be the fire to really get started on my book. But then, if I’m a published author, what do I need school for?

Blegh. Something will work out. It has to.

Donations welcome

January 9, 2009

Well, it seems as if the devil is hard at work in destroying my life. He seems pretty good at that, don’t you think?

So I changed my major to journalism in December, after spending 2 1/2 years in education. Unfortunately, financial aid will only cover 90 hours of coursework for transfer students. So I talked with the staff at the Financial Aid office last week and filled out 3 forms I needed, including a petition to receive additional financial aid.

I found out on Wednesday that my petition was denied. This also means my Florida Medallion scholarship (which pays for 75% of my tuition) and my Stafford loan also disappear forever. (Doesn’t that sound ominous?)

Basically, I’m up you-know-what creek without a paddle.

So the ladies at the Financial Aid office suggested looking into private loans, like Sallie Mae and Chase Student Loans. So I did but wasn’t approved for either. Chase wanted me to have a cosigner but my mom’s credit isn’t that good (but is getting better!) so we decided to just try it on my own. For Sallie Mae, we tried having my mom as a cosigner but I still wasn’t approved.

So it’s a big letdown.

But I am going to look on the bright side, because that’s what I do. I’m not a half-full type of girl for no reason! Obviously, God has other plans for me. For some reason, He doesn’t want me to get in more debt (I’m almost $20,000 in debt due to my Stafford loan). He has another way to help me pay for college. Maybe it’s through scholarships or from a friendly donation (wink wink, nudge nudge). I don’t know yet.

I was taking 4 classes but have dropped 2. I was taking an online criminology course just to keep me at full-time for Bright Futures but since I don’t have that anymore, there’s no use. Another class I was taking I can take while I’m in the College of Journalism (or whatever it is). So there’s only 2 I need right now in order to take other classes. They are pre-req’s to take any more.

I also have a tuition deferment until March 13th so we’ll just have to somehow come up with the money to pay for classes. I also need money for books (although, for some reason, financial aid approved me to buy books…). I only need two and, luckily, they are both out of stock at the moment.

God will prepare a way when there seems to be no way. Isn’t that the saying? And through it all, He is faithful. I was listening to my Chris Tomlin CD (his Hello Love CD is just amazing) and a simple verse stuck in my head: Yahweh. Holy is Your name. Through all of this, through all my tears and frustrations, God is still holy. And that’s never going to change! Even if terrorists bomb New York City or hurricanes wipe out a city or a girl can’t find the money for college, God is holy. Always and forever.

A wake-up call

November 22, 2008

So, yesterday, I decided it was time to hang up my diplomas. I had a frame for my A.A. degree but was waiting to get one for my high school diploma. It’s much smaller than a regular-sized piece of paper so I needed to get the right size. And, you know, it’s been 2 1/2 years since I graduated from high school. It was time.

I framed my high school diploma just right, hammered in two nails, and made sure the diploma looked perfect. It did. So then I set to hammering two nails for the other diploma. I guess I’m not up-to-date on hammering techniques and didn’t realize that the movement of a hammer banging a nail into a wall would cause my other diploma to move and shift until it fell off the wall. The wood holding the frame together broke into 3 pieces.

I looked at it for a moment and said, “Man. That could make me cry.”

So I had a tiny, itty-bitty meltdown.

Fine. I had a huge, gulping tears “I have no purpose” cry. It felt kinda good. I’ve been holding in all my feelings for the past few weeks, pretending everything is OK. Sure, it’s fine that I failed my final internship and nobody thinks I’m ready to be alone with kids. A-OK. Hunky dory.

And I came to this realization: I don’t want to be a teacher.

I’ve had a blast in my classes. It was fun and then I got to my internship and while I adored the kids to bits and pieces, I wasn’t good at it. I rambled on and on about subjects, I never felt comfortable teaching, and honest-to-God, I never got a good evaluation.

All of my friends in their internships could whip out a lesson from scratch and have it be amazing. I would read their statuses on Facebook: “So-and-so had an AMAZING evalution, even though I had to make up a lesson from scratch.” And I was just like, “Seriously? The only way I could ever have an AMAZING evaluation is by practicing it thirty times before I did it.”

It wasn’t my path to take.

I think God needed to give me a wake-up call. Honestly, I knew teaching wasn’t where I was going to be 10 years from now. I’m a writer. I write. I love to write. I can write essays like it’s a day at the beach. I have so many ideas floating around in my brain that it’s hard to keep track. So why do teaching? I just thought it would be a good career before I got published.

Obviously, God nixed that idea.

So, I’m changing my major. I have to decide between English (emphasis on Creative Writing) or Mass Communications (emphasis on journalism or public relations). Obviously, I would want to do the first one because it would give me the best boost to become a published author. I don’t know if I want to do journalism or public relations. Journalism and public relations will probably give me a more stable job when I graduate but I already tried that with teaching. It didn’t work.

I’m going to have to take to the advisor in the College of Ed first to get the ball rolling to change my major. Then I can start talking to advisors on what to change my major to, either English or Mass Communications. I’m hoping to be able to sign up for classes for Spring but it might be too late. I hope it’s not. I need to be registered, otherwise my 6-month loan payoff period is going to kick in and I’m going to have to start making payments in June. Yikes!

I feel like I’m finally walking in God’s will now, or, at the very least, I’m headed there. I just need to keep praying that He’ll continue to direct my path. His way is a billion times better than my way – as we have seen! He’ll get me to where I need to be.