There are times where you have to choose between what you want and what you need. When faced with that decision last year, I chose wrongly and got neither.
I think it was about this time last year that I went to Jackson National Life to take some pre-employment testing. They turned me down at first, but a few months later, I got a call saying that they’d reconsidered and they would like to interview me. I was thisclose to getting a position in the call center (or so I think), but instead of accepting, I started crying (*headdesk of mortification*) because I hadn’t heard back from Pepperdine on whether they were going to accept me into their psychology graduate program. So–of course–since I couldn’t make a commitment, they turned me down.
This year, I made the cut at Consumer’s Energy for a position at their call center (providing I pass the drug and background checks, of course). With starting pay at over thirteen dollars an hour, benefits and hours currently running into overtime (not to mention the possibility of being called in for any and all storms that pop up in the state of Michigan), this isn’t a position to sneeze at. But it comes with a price.
I’m currently registered for three classes–Editing Legal Documents on Mondays and Wednesdays, Paralegal Career/Ethics on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Introduction to Forensic Science online. If I keep my classes, I’ll have training eight hours a day, five days a week (for six weeks); class two hours a day, four days a week (for three-ish months); plus the online class and homework. Between getting up at five-thirty in the morning, coming home at eight and going to bed at ten(-ish), I’ll be a mess. If I didn’t cry (and/or have a panic attack) on the first day of trying to manage that combination, I’d be shocked. So I guess I’m going to drop out of school.
My mother was surprised that I was going to drop out of school, but that I could do what I want. Well, no…I can’t do what I want. School won’t pay my father back, school won’t give me benefits, school won’t let me (finally) buy my own car, school won’t let me (finally) move out. But working for CE will do all that for me. I want to become a paralegal (since all my other career aspirations didn’t work out), I want to move out to California, I want to have the life I’ve always dreamed of; but I can’t. I won’t have time to go to school (working ten to twelve hours a day will certainly put an axe on that), CE only serves Michigan…the only thing I’ll still be able to do is write novels. If I even have the energy for that!
I never thought I’d see the day where I’d have to drop out of school because I can’t go to work and go to school at the same time, but shit happens. Life happens.
Sometimes, the truth is ugly. I know we all wish it could be as beautiful as Sofia Vergara or Heidi Klum (or whomever you particularly favor); and honestly, this sounds even worse coming from a dreamer like me. But here it is:
I can’t follow my dreams. Gods, how I wish I could, but every time I try, something throws itself in my way.
I wanted to go into the Navy or the Air Force, but my IBS stops me from doing that. (Even if there was a chance in hell it could be waivered, all chances went out the door when I was diagnosed with panic disorder. Of that, I’m sure.) I wanted to be a Naturopathic physician, but I couldn’t crack chemistry. I wanted to be a performance psychologist, but I didn’t realize that clinical psychology programs are extremely competitive. Now I’ve given up on nursing, because pharmacology is all or nothing–90% in all math portions or you fail the class. And that makes the stakes way too high for me.
I don’t know. Maybe I run away too easily. But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life trying and failing chemistry and nursing is obviously not the best place for someone who does not have math for a strong point. (It’s not just pharma–the information they gave us at the start of the class said that if you got into the nursing program, every class would have a math portion before the end of the semester. And eventually, they stop offering workshops for the struggling students, because they figure you know your stuff by then.) Maybe I should’ve kept trying to get into psychology grad programs and not gotten scared off after Pepperdine rejected me and after seeing the acceptance statistics for Central Michigan University. Yet I feel kind of guilty for wasting the time of the people I’m asking for recommendations if I constantly get rejected.
So I’ve decided to go into a field that I constantly see on the “high demand” lists Yahoo Careers periodically puts out. (Although now that I’ve started mentioning it to people, I haven’t seen any.) I’ve decided to become a paralegal, kind of specializing in family law, as I imagine that’s probably the next biggest need after criminal law. I figure if Yahoo keeps mentioning paralegals on list after list, they must really be in demand. Besides, my therapist says her cousin is a paralegal who lives in Arizona and has no problem getting work–and she’s paid relatively well, too.
But I have another idea bobbling around in my mind. Still trying to get a masters degree–in any psychological subject–so I can teach. At first, I wasn’t really keen on the idea of teaching, but my mom reminded me that if I teach at the college level, the kids are paying to be there, so they’ll (generally) behave. Mom thinks I’d be a good teacher and my counselor agrees with her. I still don’t know if I want to teach (despite the fact that it might be interesting to teach a subject that I enjoyed, like abnormal psych), but I do want a masters. Partially to feel special, I think. I’ve outdone my father by simply getting a bachelors degree, and I have to admit that it’s very likely that I want to outdo my mother by getting a masters.
If I do decide to try for a graduate program again–and it’s very likely I will, by 2015 or so–I’m going to try a smaller, less well-known school. Nova Southeastern has an M.S. general psychology–completely online and based in Florida, just like my undergrad program. (In fact, unless I’m greatly mistaken, I think some of my Everglades professors graduated from Nova.) And if I fail to get in there? There’s always the University of Phoenix. (*tiny raspberry*)
…on my sausage muffins…
(Yeah, you know I hate coming up with titles.)
Bet you thought I’d never blog again.
(I was starting to think so, too.)
But I needed an outlet, so this is it.
(I ought to write in my diary, though, too…I can’t tell you if I’ve put anything in there since coming back from Pine Rest.)
Here I am…twenty-six years old and facing the distinct possibility that I will be filing disability before the end of the month. But then I never thought I’d apply for food stamps or be in a mental hospital and here I am…food stamps intermittently for a couple of years now and a week in Pine Rest shortly before Halloween.
I’ve had medical coverage up until this point. Had to borrow money for copays and prescriptions more than a few times over the years (especially last year, being out of work for so long), but otherwise, everything has been okay.
But I’ve finally aged out of the system. The contract that GM/UAW has with Blue Cross states that after a dependent turns 26, their coverage expires at the end of the month (or something like that). UAW offered me COBRA, but they want seven hundred and fifty freaking dollars A MONTH! Isn’t that insane?
I would buy my own insurance, like a big girl…except Macy’s let me go at the end of the year. (I actually worked two weeks longer than I was supposed to.) And I applied for a position selling cosmetics, but I “didn’t have enough sales experience”. (I just checked again last night–there’s nothing open.)
So I applied for Medicaid. At the time I applied, I told the receptionist, “I’m mentally ill. I’ve been in a mental hospital. Do you want me to turn in a copy of my file?” She said no…I’d get a chance to prove my case.
I received a letter about three weeks after I applied, saying that I was denied because I was in the age gap, not disabled, not blind, not pregnant and not taking care of anyone who needed medical care. Plus, they’re “not enrolling right now”.
I called my caseworker and left her a voice mail. A day or two later, I sent her an impassioned email saying that I need my meds, therapy, etc., because I’ll be going back to square one (without the meds, at least) and be back to the misery that started on October 23! I called her again this past Wednesday and she said that the decision wasn’t hers and my only other option–outside of disability–was applying for the Barry-Eaton Health Plan.
So I called the health department and get jack shit on BEHP. I’ll spare you the details, but I seemed to run into a major dysfunction of the phone system. (Only thing I learned was that, as of November, they have limited spots open each month. So my chances of getting in were probably slim there, too.)
I had one more chance (I thought). When I got out of PR, my counselor gave me the name of a group called the Justice in Mental Health Organization and told me they could help me with things that I couldn’t get elsewhere. I called JIMHO after struggling with BEDHD for a while and the woman they transferred me to said that they prefer to stay out of the mess that is Medicaid. If I wanted their help in filing an appeal, that was fine, but otherwise, they’re just there for housing help and that sort of thing.
I was crying by that point. All I want is the continued assurance that I’ll be able to get my medications and survive in this life that I’ve carved out for myself since leaving Pine Rest, but I get balked at every turn. I’m twenty-six. Do you really think I want to file for disability? Do you really think I want to proclaim to the world “I can’t work” (even though I can [as long as I’m taking my medications] and this is actually the only option I have to get continued health coverage)? Even though I keep telling myself, “This is your chance to try to make it as a novelist without having to try to make a living in the meanwhile”¹, it feels like the end of the road for me.
I was all ready to go in and reapply for Medicaid, this time marking the box claiming disability (because that’s what my caseworker said to do). And this time, I was going to go in armed–files from my counselor, a copy of the paperwork Pine Rest sent to her, a copy of the part of my doctor’s file saying she treated me for depression back in June, a copy of the hospital files saying that they treated me in the ER for a panic attack…whatever it took. (Sadly, nothing from my psychiatrist…I’ve seen her “a la carte menu” and it’s something like $300 for her to help you file for disability. And insurance doesn’t cover it.) But my counselor told me that she wanted to discuss it next session, especially since she’s had a lot of experience helping people file for disability. So I wait for Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the thing on top of my mind is school.
I’ve been thinking strongly of dropping out, because there’s no sense in training for a career if I won’t be allowed to work.
But it occurred to me that I might want to see the semester through, because with LCC’s new refund system, I might not get all my money back otherwise. And I want my money…I want/need a new laptop, I want to get my car painted (the replacement hood is red and there are places on the front bumper where the paint was stripped off in the accident), I want to go to the eye doctor next month (and may need to get a new prescription for my glasses) and I go back to the dentist in May. (Among other things.)
As I’ve been working on this post, however, I think I might come to a compromise and drop all but one of my classes. There’s no sense in re-certifying in CPR/BLS if I’m not going to become a nurse, I don’t think I’m getting pharmacology and I don’t think my grasp of microbiology is all that great, either. But I wouldn’t mind staying in Human Growth and Development. It’s a psychology class, after all, and I do enjoy my psych classes. (And I just remembered that staying in class will keep the student loan people off my back, as well. Double bonus.)
I don’t know why I’m hesitating to drop my classes. Even if my counselor helps me get healthcare without filing for disability, I’m still leaning away from continuing my nursing studies. I’d love to practice medicine, but once again, I’m facing obstacles–I think I’m going to fail pharma (either via the math portion [which can kill your whole grade] or via theory…or both) and I’m unsteady on my feet with micro. I’m starting to think that medicine is just like going into the military–it’s something my heart wants, but there are far too many obstacles for me to reach my goal. So if I am able to work, I might become a paralegal instead. Yahoo keeps listing it as a high demand field, after all. (I thought about medical billing and coding, but I’d have to take med terms over again, since I failed them at JCC–and that class was hard enough the first time!)
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the gods have planned for me…
¹ I realize you can get your disability taken away if you work too much/earn too much money, but hopefully that will correlate with me making enough money between advances, royalties and everything else that I feel that I can afford healthcare on my own. Believe me…if I find that I can eventually make it as a novelist, I’ll get off disability…I have no intention of cheating the system.
I wish I could say that this blog is just about my writing. But it’s not.
I tried that once, you know…a blog for my writing and a blog for my personal life. But I got tired of switching back and forth and it often seemed like I hardly posted in the writing blog, so I just cut down to one.
I’m back to the tablet races, as it were.
Originally, I thought I’d never have much money for a tablet…I probably wouldn’t be able to afford one for many years to come; maybe after I set up my midwifery practice or got a sizable book advance. I figured the best I could hope for would be to buy a Nook and jailbreak it so that I could have an economical Android tablet for around $150 less than the cheapest tablet from any other brand.
Now I find out that I might be coming into a little more money than I expected, which means I can probably shell out for an actual tablet. The question is, which one do I choose?
I researched several models earlier this year and decided that, if I had the money, a BlackBerry PlayBook would probably be my best bet. CNet seemed very favorable in its review and I own a Bold, so I could easily bridge from my phone to the tablet. But I re-read CNet’s review this evening and the PlayBook doesn’t seem appealing as it once did.
So my mind automatically turned to the iPad 2. The iPad seems to be the most popular out there (everyone I see with a tablet seems to have one) and having had an iPod Touch 4G last fall, I thought I’d probably like having an iPad. But when I posted a “wonder” to my Facebook wall, my friend Amber said “not an iPad…I don’t recommend it”. She didn’t go into details, so I wrote back and asked why…still waiting for an answer.
If a PlayBook isn’t all that fabulous and iPads aren’t great either (despite seemingly everyone on the planet having one these days), I guess that leaves me with the Galaxy Tab from Samsung. But CNet’s review wasn’t very favorable on the Tab, so I don’t know what to think.
Actually, I do know what to think. Verizon sells all three, so I think I’m going to march my ass down there when the time comes and say, “Which one do you recommend and why?” That’s the best way.
I loathe medical terminology and ask myself every week why I bothered to take it–outside of the fact that it was recommended to me last fall and I needed another class, of course. I can never seem to remember what I’m supposed to remember every week and I hate having a class where you have to spell your answers perfectly or it’s marked down.
A friend on another site asked what the point was in taking such a class, seeing as I was studying alternative medicine. First, I had to correct her on what I was studying. (I already have a degree in alternative medicine, as you might know, and am now working my way into nursing.) Second, while heavy on terms dealing with tests, surgical repair, etc., med terms also deals with illnesses of various parts of the body. So in reality, I probably should’ve had this class as an undergrad–despite the fact that it wasn’t offered by my school.
Nothing wrong with introduction to diagnostic medical imaging, though. The quizzes are short and untimed, the material is fascinating (and mercifully brief) and I have (or shortly will have) an A in that class. How can I complain?
Work, however, is in a holding pattern.
I won’t specify where I work, despite the fact that I’m only holiday help. Never know when I might want to rant…and I wouldn’t want to get into trouble.
Well, it should probably be “where I will work”. See, I got hired after my interview on Thursday, but the business manager (or whatever she is) who is in charge of scheduling orientation and training was gone by the time I walked out at 5:30–despite the fact that I heard her say she wasn’t leaving ’til six.
So I waited patiently all day Friday, thinking that she would call when she came into work the following day. No call.
Monday afternoon, I called and reached “T”, who said that the computers had gone down over the weekend and that her assistant wasn’t able to fill out the necessary requisitions for the holiday help. The holiday associates can’t be oriented until they’re in the system and T had a conference call coming up at three, so she hoped to get it done later that afternoon, that evening, or sometime on Tuesday.
Today is Wednesday. I spoke to “C”, who told me that T would call me Friday and tell me when it was I would be oriented and trained. Friday. More than a week after I was hired.
I hate being in that nasty little spot where you’re not technically unemployed, but you’re sure as hell not drawing a paycheck, either.
Where the hell did my writing abilities go? Did I finally burn out? I mean, I wrote a pretty decent poem the other day, but what the hell happened to my novel? I’ve worked on it maybe once in the last two or three weeks!
This morning, I talked to my new friend Jamie until 1:45, so I was too tired to even think about writing.
Tuesday morning–mercifully–I wrote. Almost the entire front of one piece of paper.
Monday morning? I had a fresh sheet of paper with the chapter header on it and the date that chapter took place up in the corner and nothing. No words, no thoughts…nothing. I can’t tell you the last time I stared at a blank page and nothing came. It just doesn’t happen to me! (I think the only reason I was able to write yesterday morning was because I looked at a…certain set of pictures for inspiration.)
Before that? Two, two and a half weeks since I’d written.
Being sick was a legitimate excuse, but I’m in a lot better shape now. In fact, if it wasn’t for the occasional food stuck in my throat and the fact that I think my stomach would raise holy hell if I tried to stop taking Prilosec, I’d say I was all better. But that’s beside the point.
Did I finally burn out? I suspected it was heading in that direction. It’s like that epic fit I had when my mother criticized me just blew away all my desire to write and that was the end.
So much for becoming a famous novelista…
I know I should be working on my homework…and then my admissions essay for Michigan State University…and then my novel…but doing whatever the hell you feel like is just so much easier. *chuckle*
I’m sure I’m not the only one who can see certain faces on “People You May Know” on Facebook and start thinking about…whatever. So tonight’s topic is my Greek experiences at OC. (I probably covered this in depth last fall, so if you read that, please feel free to skip this.)
Note that the names and identifying symbols of each sorority have been changed. If I think a certain event might make that particular sorority identifiable, I’ll just leave a blank space. I’m sorry if the spaces take the fun out of things, but I don’t want any problems from anyone, either.
There are four sororities at OC: Tau Gamma (“Tau”), Kappa Lambda Pi (which is known by another, non-Greek name that I’ll simply refer to as T), Xi Delta Omicron and another that I can’t remember the name of. (It looks like it was turned into a colony after I left, because I no longer see it listed on the school website. I’ll just call it “Rho”.) There is also a co-ed organization, Beta Mu Zeta (“Beta Z”). In fact, Beta Z was once a national organization, but their charter was revoked when they began admitting men.
I’ll admit straight off that I had no association with the Rho sisters, save for the one or two I had classes with. I thought Rho was for “women of color” and by the time I was disabused of that notion, my heart had already been given to another sorority.
T, I only visited once. Even though one of my coworkers at the library was a T sister (and a friend of mine), I kind of got the impression that the T sisters were a bit snooty. I must have been one of the few that thought so, however, because the night I was there, T had the most sworn sisters present, (possibly) the most visitors and several alumnae. And, after I left OC, I learned that T had gotten the second-most pledges.
I visited Tau a couple of times, but they were a bit wild for my tastes. I was used to the national organizations at Western, with their talk of philanthropies and everything else, so I was surprised on my first visit when the Tau sisters (possibly) spent the whole time playing drinking games. (I use the qualifier because I left after the second game.) The second time, the alcohol wasn’t pressed on anybody, but the Taus invited _____, which shocked the shit out of me. Worse? Finding out that the Taus had had _____ along for the ride for many years. One of my friends at the library had been involved in the Greek system for a long time and when I told her about the _____, she said, “Oh…I was hoping they didn’t do that anymore.” (You knew that I was going to a Tau party, you knew the sisters were fond of having _____ in, but you didn’t warn me ahead of time?! Thanks, J!)
In the end, I gave my heart to Xi Delta Omicron. Something about them caught my eye from the very first. Maybe it was because their mascot is a _____, maybe it’s because their colors are _____ and ______, but I knew that Xi Delta was a sorority I wanted to know more about and whenever they announced a new event, I’d be sure to jump on it.
And I did. I had a lot of fun, too. It’s true that things fell apart in the end, but I cannot deny that the fact that I showed up for all but one Xi Delta event (including the final, pre-bid interview) means that I was committed and I knew that was where I wanted to be. (My mind had definitely pledged Xi Delta by the time homecoming was over…I was describing stuff that I had done with them over the weekend to a Greek-involved gentleman I was friends with and I kept saying “we”!)
The reason I decided to write this entry was to talk about Beta Z…because it was a Beta Z that came up in “People You May Know”.
Everyone I met had nothing bad to say about Beta Z. They were nice. They were fun-loving. They were all-inclusive. (They attracted a boatload of people from my hometown, as I eventually discovered.) They threw great parties. Once again, I seemed to be the only one who had problems.
The Beta Z “family” (for lack of a better word) had us go around to different rooms and each room had a theme. The theme of the third and fourth rooms run together in my mind…but that’s probably because they kind of ran together in real life, too. At some point, the family got started talking about rumors–especially initiation rumors. I won’t go into the rumors (they’re pretty nasty–and probably completely unsubstantiated); nevertheless, I think what bothered me is not that they wouldn’t stop discussing the rumors, but that they wouldn’t assure us that they would never engage in any such thing. It was all “we can’t tell you…wait and see”. Now I don’t know about you, but any group that won’t comfort you by saying, “Oh, we’d never do anything like that…don’t worry!” even if it is a lie, is not a group I want to associate with. Instead, the family members involved in the discussion hid behind their oaths and refused to budge a centimeter. It was like running up against a wall–frustrating and insanely scary all at once.
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, but I remember getting extremely annoyed with the family–to the point of tears–accusing them of using their dues to buy friends and storming out of the house. I was so upset by what had happened at Beta Z that I swore off sororities forever…or at least up until I received the next invitation from Xi Delta Omicron, anyway.
As a Priestess of the Goddess, I can tell you that my Order, like so many other orders, traditions, clans, etc., has its secrets. And I, like so many other Pagans, am oathbound to keep those secrets. But I will never, ever hide behind my oath. If someone asks me, “Do the Priestesses push Neophytes down the stairs as part of their initiation?” I’m not going to say, “I’m not allowed to tell you. Wait and see.” because the seeker will think, “That probably means yes” and there is no way in hell that they’ll think for a milisecond about joining. But if I say something like, “I can’t answer that specifically, but I can tell you that we’d never do anything to hurt you.” then the seeker will be comforted.
I guess I’m kind of rambling here. I was going to add another part about a certain Beta Z sister, but that might lend to even more trouble.
Let’s just say that Beta Z has a sister that, if people I went to school with could see hir now, they’d think s/he was even crazier than s/he was before.
And I was pissed that when I saw hir at Beta Z, s/he treated me very coolly, as if I was a complete stranger. I almost started a coven with hir, for fuck’s sake…how can s/he treat me like a stranger?!
I bet s/he doesn’t even practice anymore, though. If s/he does? S/he’d probably give me some line about experiencing the duality of the gods better than ever. Because that would be just like hir.