School it is! Now, how to pay for it!

As I posted a little while back, I am planning to return to school and FINALLY get a degree. I have spent 20 years of my life working as a nurse, (received my training through a vocational nursing program which included no college credit.)

I have been slowly taking a few classes here and there over the years with the intention, at that time anyway, of gaining my Associates degree in nursing and become an RN, but it just never felt right. Oh, I loved taking the classes, loved going to school! But, going for my degree in nursing just never satisfied me or felt right. So, over the past probably about a year now, I have been praying and asking God for guidance and wisdom in making a decision of what to do with my life.

You see, I retired from nursing about 4 years ago because of some health issues. I possibly could have returned but then I had cervical spine surgery to fuse a couple of vertebrae followed several months later by another spinal surgery all the way on the other end of the spectrum! I had to have two fusions and some titanium screws and plate installed on my S1-T4 vertebrae. Since having those procedures done, I have tried, really tried to get back to normal and be able to exercise, stand for lengthy times, do some light lifting, walking up and down stairs, but each and every one of these attempts has resulted in pain. Pain that very often is so severe, I have to take medication in addition to sitting or laying on my heating pad. Finally, I became convinced that I don’t think I will ever be able to do nursing again, at least not in the forums available in my area. I know I can’t work in a hospital setting, doctors office, or prison setting because of the standing, walking, and various other back breaking activities that are involved in those work positions. (Yes, I worked in a prison. Yep, it had scary moments.) I can’t handle lengthy drives so home health nursing is out of the question. I can’t do any heavy lifting so sitting with patients or anything that might cause me to have to lift someone is out. That doesn’t really leave a lot of choices in the nursing field.

So, as I said, I prayed, and prayed, asking God for direction and guidance about my career. I have had a couple of different things I have thought about and I just could not decide what I should do. During this time, I started volunteering with a wonderful organization, The East Texas Pregnancy Help Center, and through my volunteering there, I have grown closer to God each and every day. I believe it is greatly in part due to the strong faith of the people responsible for opening this center. There has never been a time that I entered those doors and did not feel the glory of God and know, without a doubt, that the Holy Spirit is present there.

At first, as I began volunteering there, I started thinking maybe I should go ahead and finish my nursing degree, but still, it did not feel right. I also thought about obtaining a degree in psychology. I felt like either of these degrees would help me to be better at what I do at the center. But, again, it did not feel quite right! So, I prayed and prayed and finally I got an answer.

I can distinctly remember hearing God tell me “write the story”. Huh? What story? What are you talking about God? And again, I heard “write.” I have always loved writing, especially since winning a competition in high school!! Yep, long time ago! But, I said “Okay God. If you want me to write, show me what to write.” God always follows through! He sent me to a very precious lady who had a wonderful story that I was just itching to write about! Doesn’t it just amaze you how God’s timing is always so PERFECT? It sure amazes me!

Because of God’s perfect timing, I was able to speak to the young man I was going to write about the day before he would be leaving for several weeks for various rodeo competitions. I was able to obtain assurance from the editor of our local paper to print the story when I finished it! Talk about being excited!! I was very excited!!

Well, I met with the young man and his fiancee’, wrote and submitted the story, and was super excited and a bit overwhelmed to see it published in not only my small town paper the following week, but also in a larger regional paper (the parent company of our local paper). I was PUBLISHED!!! That is so amazing and absolutely huge in writing circles!!

So, I said okay God, obviously you want me to write, so I guess I better check on job openings and requirements. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was going to have to go back to school!! I need a degree in journalism/mass media. I know I’m weird but I look forward to getting started with my writing assignments!!

But, not so fast. College courses do not come free. I’ve found that, depending on which school I choose, I will be paying anywhere from almost $200 per credit hour and up significantly, with each class being at least 3 credit hours! So, I’m looking at about $2000 per semester! We can’t afford that!

I applied for a Pell Grant through FAFSA but when you are empty nest parents, you don’t qualify. Actually, we make too much. I wish they would show me where all this excess $$ they think we have is hidden!!! But, I know my God! If God wants me to go to school this fall, things will fall in place!

So, I am checking out any and all possible scholarships or grants that I can find. Trying to avoid student loans if at all possible.

So, as I work on a follow up story to my first one, and writing what I hope will be my first magazine story, I will be researching financial aid opportunities for school! I will also be working on some other story ideas I have, sending out queries to various print sources to see if anyone is interested in actually paying me for a story! Yep, my first one was a freebie, but I was just so excited to get published I didn’t care!!

So, wish me luck, pray for me. Ask God to lead me to the sources to pay for my education. I know with your prayers and mine, God will provide the clarification I need as well as whatever resources I need so that I can obtain this degree I need to be considered a “real writer”. That is something that doesn’t make a world of sense to me.

I mean, you either have a talent for writing, or you don’t, at least that’s what I think. I may not have the talent I believe I do, but I want to find out! But, if you have the talent, why is a college (four year) degree required? Oh well, I guess I’ll find out!!

Thank you God for the guidance you give me on a daily basis. You have blessed me beyond measure already, yet you are faithful to continue to bless me. I thank you for that! Please forgive me Father, for things I may have said or done that disappointed you. I ask these things in Jesus precious name! I love  you Lord! Amen

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5 thoughts on “School it is! Now, how to pay for it!

  1. if i didn’t care for my brother, i would b back in school. i love school and always wanted to be a nurse. have tried twice now and have finished very few classes, but everytime i am in school, brother ends up in the hospital, and i end up having to drop out once again. i will pray for you my friend, that finances are found, and scholarships are awarded for you. God bless and i hope you make it!!!

    • Terry, Thank you so much for your encouragement and prayers. Realize one thing, you are never, ever, to old to go to school! I have attended classes with folks up into their 70’s who were working towards degrees! I think that is just awesome. I believe you and I are probably fairly close in age, so you have plenty of time! Have you thought about checking into some online schools? That might be the best way for you to get some basics out of the way!
      Again, I thank you for the prayers. I know God is going to lead me to the right sources or resources so that I can pursue this.
      God bless and have a wonderful and beautiful day!
      Judy

      • i have all my basics out of the way, and actually started nursing classes. i always hope that maybe some day when my life changes, i can go back, if i am not too crippled, found rocking in my rocker. LOLOL

  2. Judy, I will pray for your continued guidance for this vocation. God certainly has lead you in the right direction for you always seem to have the right words to say. I pray all is well with you and the family and that Gerald is doing well also.
    Have a blessed day!

    Ed

    • Ed, Thank you so much! Gerald is doing so much better now with work. He now has a new “interim” chief that he, as well as everyone else, dearly loves. He is also the chief who hired Gerald about 20 years ago! There are many trying to convince him (the new chief) to stay permanently but he is hesitant.
      And, I thank you for the compliment. I truly love to write and I want to write things that will make a difference, even if only to one person. I know that God is going to provide the means for me to go to school if this is indeed part of His great plan for me.
      I am doing well, a few minor issues with my back, but that’s to be expected! I pray you are doing well also. Take care of yourself!
      Have a wonderfully blessed day as well!

      Judy

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