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after such a great intro by cfchica i *had* to make an intro post :)

i'm glad she had the idea for this community because, contrary to popular belief, the hardest part about being a nontraditional student is NOT parenthood. bleh.

i'm 31 and currently wrapping up my MS degree... i have to do my thesis but because of CFS/fibro and a new part-time job (after being lucky enough to only be going to school full time) i'm having a really hard time working on it. my degree is in technology studies and i want to teach science to non-scientists.

i started college as a nontraditional student, too. right before my 21st birthday i started tech school (NH Technical Institute, which i think is called something else now), originally as an x-ray tech major. i was also a CNA and an EMT and i found x-ray to be really boring compared to what i was currently doing for work. i ended up changing majors a couple times before settling on forensic science and chemistry (double major) at the university of new haven. i graduated in 2003.

i tried a phd program in chemistry in nebraska before realising it was a bad fit. i worked for big bad pharma for a couple years, and then worked with explosives (every chemist's dream!) before deciding i wanted my MS degree.

the hardest part of college to me is dealing with the spoiled rich kids... no offense to anyone who is lucky enough to be handed tuition, but i worked for every dime of my school expenses (and loans), and there just isn't shit out there for aid for someone who is non-traditional in college. every semester was a fight to the death for the aid to keep me in school. i'm a whiz with FAFSA and government loans, so if you ever need any help navigating the system, i'm happy to help out my fellow cf buddies.

i'm glad you're all here! welcome, and i look forward to future posts!



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
"there just isn't shit out there for aid for someone who is non-traditional in college."
More than there is for a traditional student whose parent "makes too much" as a state employee(read: TEACHER). My friend who fits that description never seems to have problems getting financial aid. They'd laugh at me.
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
on year, i made $3000. according to my school, i "made too much" to qualify for any need-based aid.

THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS. tuition was $23k. even if i saved every penny and didn't eat, i'd still need to pull $20k out of my ass.

Jan. 20th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
wtf o.O

Then again, I'm thinking of undergrad. I've heard that when pursuing advanced studies its MUCH harder to find aid for damn near anyone.
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
as a master's student, it's awful. i'm taking out loans exclusively.

when i was a phd student, i got lots of aid in exchange for teaching. i almost went back into a phd program because in science you get more aid. i don't know what it's like in other fields tho.
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
So theres hope at the end of the tunnel!

<--engineering student.
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:45 am (UTC)
yes there is! hehe.

what flavor of engineering?
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
Mechanical. Aero too if I transfer to a place that has it.
I'm currently looking for a new school.
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
very cool! good luck!
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
Engineering? Sweet! My bio dad was an aero engineer for Lockheed-Martin! He worked on the Sidewinder and all kinds of shit.

I, however, didn't inherit his math aptitude. I would have otherwise gone into either the hard sciences or engineering myself.
Jan. 20th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sweet at math I just forget it at the speed of light. I swear I don't remember a single thing from Algebra. Its troublesome.
Jan. 20th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
That's like me. I'm lucky if I can retain it long enough to barf it up on a test. Although some geometry formulas have burnt themselves into my brain..probably due to trauma! I hated geometry in high school and almost failed it. Algebra was much more to my liking. Just don't ask me to do any now, though..lol
Jan. 20th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
I think that because I go to a community college, I don't deal with the "spoiled rich kids" on a daily basis, as much as I would at a university. I am so grateful for that! Most people have full-time jobs on the side to pay their own way and I love it! I'm just afraid of what I'll get when I transfer.
Jan. 20th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
i loved being at community college for that reason... everyone was there because they WANTED to be there, not because they were entitled to be there.

if i ever end up teaching at the college level, i want to be at community college.
Jan. 20th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
teaching at the community college is awesome! Small classes, you get to know your students, NO research, high teaching load, but that is what I love doing, so that is not a disadvantage for me.

I just wish the general public didn't have the idea that is easy or for students that cannot handle college level work ...
Jan. 21st, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
this sounds like exactly why i'd like to teach at a community college, too.

i also wish the general public didn't frown on community colleges.
Jan. 22nd, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
That's exactly what I want to do when I get done with all my schooling. I would love to teach at the CC level.

I also hate the perception of CC's as being "high school with ash trays". Far from it! My CC is tougher than hell.
Jan. 20th, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
I'm glad to meet another CF grad student. My area is science education, by the way. I'm interested in eventually getting a faculty position where I can teaching Biology for non-science majors and do education research on my students.

If you have an advice for a soon-to-be divorced, CF grad student who is trying to get an increase in financial aid, I'm all ears. I'm drowning in the paperwork my Financial Aid office gave me, and that is just the start of all the fun paperwork to be had over the next couple months.
Jan. 20th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
oh how cool! another science nerd!!

i divorced when i first started school. it was a pain because it screwed up my independent status. apparently once you divorce and you're under 24, the gov't thinks you go back to being under your parents ruling. sorry about your divorce tho. i hope it's amicable.

the good part about grad school is that you get to borrow more and they just upped it, too. i think it's at $20k/yr now. but if you need more than that, i HIGHLY recommend looking into fellowships and assistantships. they'll usually pay your tuition plus a small stipend to live off of in exchange for 20hrs work a week. and then you can take out loans for additional living expenses. that's what i did as a phd student because $1300/month just hurt, and the aid they gave me didnt pay for fees or texts.

best of luck! let me know if i can help out in any way.
Jan. 20th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
I guess it's a good thing that I'm over 24 then. I'm going to go back to being independent tax/aid-wise, but my parents are already sending me money to stay on my feet through this ordeal.

We're trying to keep it civil, but I wouldn't call it amicable. I guess the good thing about being a poor grad student who was married to a guy working part-time from home is that there really isn't anything to fight over. I'm keeping the house and he already took his stuff and cats with him. The only matter to settle is showing that there isn't an equity in the house to divide and handling taxes for 2008 and 2009.

I'm currently on an assistantship, but it doesn't cover all of my tuition. My pay also went down as of the first of the year because I had to change positions. I'm putting in a request for an increase in financial aid due to a change in income and marital status, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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