Monday, May 16, 2011

Using more than 4 years

I didn't walk yesterday.  I feel that I have failed.  College degrees are "supposed" to be finished in 4 years.  I know the majority of people at UAF don't finish in four years.  Something almost always happens.  But I know of at least two people who finished in three years!  It is demoralizing to think that I didn't.  Many people that I graduated high school with or lived with in my freshman dorm are posting pictures of graduation on facebook.  And I put on a happy face and reply "one more semester" when they ask how much longer I have.

But will it only be one more semester?  When I switched degrees to sociology from chemistry, I planned on going to nursing school.  I applied that summer to the UAA in Fairbanks program and was 19th on the wait-list, but I hadn't even finished all of the pre-req's and didn't have any other experience to help my application.  I didn't give up then.  I just decided to keep going with my sociology degree with a minor in biology.  Then I would apply again.

Later, I realized I didn't want to get my bachelor of arts in sociology and then have an associate's nursing degree.  So, I decided that I would do a bachelor of science in nursing.  It made more sense than the associate degree.  Then after talking with many, many people, I learned/discovered that there are Master's programs where you don't need to already hold an RN license.  I could finish my sociology degree and apply to these programs!

I have two schools picked out for this plan: Oregon Health and Sciences University and Marquette University.  Both would require a 1-year RN program followed by the 2-year master's program.  OHSU would give me a second bachelor's degree and the master's degree, whereas Marquette would only get me the Master's degree.

But, to throw another wrench into the plan, I just learned that I should have been getting free tuition when Britton and I became financially interdependent.  So, I figured, hey, I might as well use this and get a second degree - why not make my biology minor into a major.

Before Britton proposed to me and I learned about the free tuition, I was going to apply to the Master's programs in the fall and go in the spring.  I was going to walk at graduation in the spring, but I can't ask my parents to come to Alaska twice in one summer (the second time is for my wedding) and have all my family go to New Mexico for Michael's graduation; that's not fair to them.

I also take Britton in consideration.  He's getting into something he really likes - hockey.  He has an amazing job that he enjoys too.  He is nervous about moving away, especially if he doesn't already have a job lined up.  I don't know that I want to live away from him, although I think I could really focus on nursing school if I did live in a different state.  It would only make our relationship stronger.  We have enough trust in each other.

So do I?:

#1: Get the sociology degree in December and apply to Nursing School.
Pros: It's the original plan.  I'd complete my nursing goals. not the shortest plan, but gets me the most for my time.  
Cons: nursing school is expensive. moving is expensive. 

#2: Stick around UAF for another year and double major and then go to nursing school
Pros: double majoring in biology and sociology may make me a stronger candidate.  the next year or two at UAF would be free.  it allows Britton to stay in Fairbanks without worry of moving for another 2 years. 
Cons: it's the longest option. nursing school is expensive. moving is expensive. my current loans will continue to build interest until I'm done

#3: Stick around UAF for another year and double major and get the hell out of school
Pros: I'd be done with school in 6 years with 2 degrees.  
Cons:  nursing school goal is incomplete.  don't know if I could get a job doing something I like.  I'm stuck in Fairbanks for an unknown amount of time.  

#4: Get the sociology degree in December and get the hell out of school
Pros: no more school!  Allows Britton to stay in Fairbanks without worry of moving.  
Cons: have to pay back loans sooner, don't know if I could get a job doing something I like.  I'm stuck in Fairbanks for an unknown amount of time.  

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