If you’ve followed me on any social media or browsed through my blog at all, you probably know that I’ve been trying to go back to school. It’s a topic I’ve been extremely excited about and talk about it often both online and in person. Foolishly I believed applying for college at 22 would be just as easy as it was at 18. I’ve learned through this process that it is ten times more difficult and I wish I understood why.
The first difficulty I had was with my residency status. When I first moved to Florida, I made the mistake of not getting a new drivers license right away. Jumping through hoops to get official documents proving my employment and lease payments was annoying, but it wasn’t impossible.
The second was (and still is) proving that I’m an independent student. This is the part that completely baffles me. As far as federal money goes, if you’re under 24, single, childless, and have living parents, you’re still a dependent. So while I’m 22 and 100% financially independent, I still have to have mommy and daddy involved in my education or I won’t be able to get any loans or grants. I’ve been living on my own for two and a half years, and have payed for 80% of my bills for that entire time. A few months ago I became 100% responsible for all of my expenses. I haven’t lived under my parents’ roof in years, yet somehow that isn’t enough to be independent.
Never mind that turning 18 brings the label of “adulthood” as far as the government is concerned. As a 22-year old I can join the military, vote, buy a house, buy cigarettes and alcohol, have sex with another adult, gamble at a casino, drive a car, own a gun, and more. But god forbid I don’t feel the need to include my parents financially in my education. In that situation I might as well be 14 years old with no rights again.
Having a degree isn’t everything. I don’t feel as though it’s the end-all be-all of life, however I was looking forward to it. I’m not sure where my life will take me, and I wanted to have a piece of paper with me that might prove to be useful. If I want to pursue something that isn’t front-line, I’m not going to get there until my thirties now.
I’m just really frustrated and disappointed. By the time I’m 24, I could be halfway through with school. Instead, I’ll just be starting. I’ve already taken two and a half years off and feel far enough behind as it is; now I’m set back another two years. 2016 is not my year and I’m really discouraged in how things have been going so far. I’m not going to give up, of course. Knowing the setbacks and failures of so many now-successful people has taught me more than enough to keep me working hard to achieve my goals and to be something useful.
You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.