Consider this my second attempt to explain or tell how I ended up at Ferris State University (there will be at least one more attempt). I had no intention of going back to school. I was plenty happy with how much I learned on my own. With no intention of going back to school, how did I end up here?
For Barb to attend Ferris State we had to move to Big Rapids. During our research into Big Rapids we learned that at the time we were moving here the unemployment rate was around 20% and the largest employer other than Ferris was Meijers, Wallmart, or the collective fast food industry. We were going to need money.
See where this is going?
Why did I enroll in college for the…2nd or 3rd time? Money. Pure and simple.
They way we looked at our situation:
Barb had to attend all of her classes, her schedule would keep her busy full time plus
I needed to be home for the one child who was not in school and for the one who was, this limited any hours I would get at a local minimum wage job. Why did I need to be home: A.) we had no family or friends here to babysit for free and B.) they are our children, thus I feel our responsibility to raise and not hand off to someone else (this is a me thing for sure).
Despite the above, I would have some time to do something, but not enough to put together a reliable work schedule for an employer (having been a manager many times I wouldn’t hire someone with my availability when I have a population of college students next door). Not wanting to waste the time, the decision was made to go back to school.
Thus, why not maximize the opportunity by going back to school, take whatever money I got over costs and use that to live on. Was this the best decision, on paper no, but at the time and over the past five years it has been the best decision for our situation and we have stuck by it. At the end, we would be a family with two degrees, a mountain of debt, but a better chance to pay off loans AND have a better life than we ever had.
Were we rich? Hell no. Did we have money to live off of and have some fun, yes. Did we require assistance from time to time, yes and damn thankful that we had people to call upon in times of need. If we could, would we make the same decisions? I don’t know. I know we did what we thought was best for us at the time.
Now about the degree, was I serious about getting the degree? At first, not really I was the bank. In addition to making sure the family ran smoothly kept…no, not kept, had me thinking I didn’t really care if I got the degree. Thus, my first response of “Shits and giggles,” when asked why was I here.
However and thankfully, something clicked. By the end of the first semester I was taking school way more seriously than I thought I would. By the end of the first year I was positive I wanted to get the degree. Some time around the middle of year three, I was thinking about Grad School. At the end of year four when I completed my major I was ecstatic (still am). I had done what I thought I wouldn’t do or be able to do…yes, there was some worry, especially around math, but in general, that due to my stubborn nature I would not finish the degree, again.
Recently, we met another family that made the choices as we did and for the same reasons-need for money, new location removed from old support, and a distinct lack of quality jobs in the region. Does what we are doing work? Yes, if you are willing and able to make the sacrifices.