September 18, 2014

It Sucks NOT Going Back to School

What Mandy Thinks: "Real Person Chronicles" post
September has ascended upon us, people.  So to has the official / unofficial start of the school year for most students.  The last time I was a student, (skim over the College series if you dare), that Occupy movement was marching near my campus.  And nope, nope, I'm refusing to believe that this is the fourth year I've been away from a class or teacher or textbook of any sort.  SEVEN years since my first day of college?  Say it aint so.

With my pre-planned K-12 and some-years-of-some-sort-of-college days behind me, my "real world" self as a nine-to-five-er has me missing those nostalgic school days.  It SUCKS that yet another September will come and go as any other month of the year.  Although I DID move downstairs to a new office at work (my cube is now a triangular "pod"), that's the only "change" this September will have in store for me.  It still SUCKS in the first-world, "woe is me" persuasion.  A school bus passes me by on the way to work and I think WHY am I not ON you?  A college campus taunts me with its obvious knowledge and I think WHY am I not IN you?

The start of school was always my favorite time of year.  What else could a fall-lovin' gal enjoy more than a new start to the year (sorry January), new school supplies (squee!), and a chance to refresh my image (if I cared enough to, which didn't happen much in the brooding years of high school)?  I'd meet new people (sure it's fun now but can be suffocating in all the ways), restart the bonding with current and new friends in and out of class, and just GET DOWN to BUSINESS in a spring cleaning for your BRAIN kind of way.  Granted, learning became more for day to day entertainment and enlightenment than forced knowledge I'd apparently need later in life (sorry Algebra).  Now as a non-student, the fall season re-energizes my willingness to learn new things, jump back into projects I put off for lazy summer nothing-ness, and focus on what the next nine months could be like while the rest of those "youths" my age and younger trot off to class to learn and junk, like I'm not jealous or anything.

I want to go back to school.  I've always wanted to go back at least one more time since my art school graduation.  But amidst debt upon debt upon debt thanks to said art school's for-profit ways and a bursting credit limit from being basically unemployed for six months, my current goal of an online Creative Writing certificate degree is a bit of a wash.  Mostly because this schooling thing won't let me use student loans, won't pause my current ones in any way, and costs at least SEVEN GRAND up-front.  The goal's original time line - when I had less debt and life seemed so much more "possible" - was to start the program by the time I'm 30, but as the months go by and the debt grows stronger I'm finding it hard to believe I'd have money to save at all for any type of schooling before my twenties are over.  I'm envisioning many Septembers breezing by with the same nostalgic ache.

What can I do to ease the sadness of my mundane non-school life this fall?

  • Buy some new office supplies even though I don't need them, which involves money I don't have
  • Visit my old school for one reason or another in the least creepy way possible, but my only reason currently is a borderline creepy one
  • Watch high school / college movies or TV shows to live vicariously through their fictional lives, which is very possible since Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix next month - yay!
  • Chat more with friends that are currently in school about school (more living vicariously)
  • Find a (it'd better be free) course of some sort to go to so I can partake in the merriment of learning with witnesses
  • Treat a current side project as schoolwork or a final exam with a firm deadline and a grade that can make or break my LIFE, or maybe punish myself somehow for not finishing / doing it right
  • Keep up social obligations like my weekly friend nights as if it's a class or study on "Young Adult Social Interaction"

No matter what I do to keep my school spirits up this fall, I'm accepting the fact that I'm bound to get sad over all the back-to-school ads and visual bombardments that make me want to sign up for something.  I've got the life I want with live-able terms (debt monster and all) and still find ways to learn something new every day regardless of what month it is.  With the degree I want next, I can jump in any time when the money lines up, but this September is school-free once more and that's just the way it's gotta be.

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