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hello!

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!

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parathalyn
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.
br0ken_dolly
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.
parathalyn
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.

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