222:Being at Peace in Your Own Skin

You know, there are days when I wake up just pissed off at the whole world. Usually,that happens when more than one of the balls I am juggling (school, personal, spiritual, financial, family, career, etc.) hits the ground at the same time. I can cope with things going to hell in a handbasket with one area of my life, stressful as that is, but when two or more of them go south, than I usually really have problems coping. Here lately, I seem to be having difficulty keeping ANY of them in the air. Period. And you know what? It’s just OK. I am not sure why, but it is just OK.

I read a blog once from a lovely person who is really suffering with anxiety, illness, death of loved ones, mental illness, abandonment issues – made me offer up a genuine and sincere prayer for them. Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself. I have also dealt with the death of loved ones (one I was responsible for), depression (clinical depression, not just the blues), surgery, menopause, spousal infidelity, a defiant, oppositional, drug-taking child, and a number of other items including being in debt 35 thousand dollars for a doctoral degree that I cannot finish at the school where I started, due to their negligence (I have a perfect 4.0 GPA in the program with one class to finish), and I have very little recourse for that except to suck it up and to pay up.

But you know what? I am at peace within my own skin. I know damn well that I have done my best. I have worked like a dog. My conscience is clear. I am at peace within myself.

BTW- Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket???

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137: Decisions, decisions!

Well. Darn it. Ding dong, dag nab it. Shoot, fire, flood, and famine. Hell-fire and damnation. Fart. (*&^$$%#@!@%$%^)(*&*&^#$#$@&**&. POOP.

I broke down and finally read the letter from the Provost at my former on-line University, which FINALLY arrived, six months after my complaint letter. Against all hope of an amicable compromise, they have made absolutely no concessions to me regarding the sub-standard employee/professor who set me back a year+ in my doctoral program. Their response amounts to “suck it up, girl, and pay your money like everybody else.” They had the gall to brag about their employee vetting and training program that “ensures quality and professionalism.” As if – I already proved to them that at least one professor skipped the lessons they were supposed to teach her – and that’s the one they assigned me to, of course.

They expect me to re-enroll (fee), register for more classes (tuition + fees), and start all over again: because I cannot just take up where I left off. They already told me that the idea for my Concept Paper won’t do (a year after initial submission of the document), and to fix it, I must have more participants – which I cannot manufacture out of thin air, or pull out of my……backpack.

So, it is time to decide whether I want to throw good money after bad, and add to the 34 THOUSAND dollars’ worth of student loan debt I already have, which was supposed to pay for the entire program of doctoral degree courses – by their calculations – and didn’t. I am still one course short, out of loan funds, and now, with this additional Concept Paper problem, just one more course will NOT complete the degree. So, I am looking at at LEAST three thousand more dollars, and probably it will be more like five thousand more.

I have twenty-two years of teaching experience, and this degree (if completed) will add dollars to my salary on a yearly basis. However, I have at most, fifteen more years to teach, if I want to continue teaching that long. I could retire after just eight more.  I wanted the degree for myself, AND for the extra cash. Now, I get to decide if it is worth it to me, or NOT.

Would I recommend this online University to anyone else (www.ncu.edu)? As if. Are you seriously kidding me? I have already warned multiple students away from this money-hungry, unprofessional, non-consumer-and-student-un-friendly place. And, of course, I will file a complaint with the accrediting body who says their educational programs are up-to-par. As if.

Sounds like my decision is made, does it not?

134: What Matters

For several years now, I have been working towards a doctoral degree in Education, specializing in Distance, or Online, learning. I have completed every course but one, with a perfect 4.0. However, I ran into a snag. Due to the University hiring and assigning me to a faculty member who was obviously not up to par, I never got my concept paper for my doctoral dissertation study approved, and because this person left the University rather abruptly, I was never informed of this fact. So, nearly a year after the Concept Paper I thought was approved (and wasn’t), while I am diligently working on 180 pages worth of doctoral dissertation proposal, I am informed that my original idea was never approved under this less-than-competent professor who is no longer there, and has serious problems that I cannot fix on my own.

Not having unlimited funds to continue paying for additional courses while this little glitch (to hear THEM talk about it) was resolved, I withdrew, one course short of the goal, and 34 thousand dollars in debt for the loan I took out to pay for the entire doctoral program, now rudely interrupted. It has taken nearly six months for the University to answer my letter of complaint. I got the letter this week, and I still have not read it. I am afraid to read it.

Sitting here writing this, one of my lovely ten felines (Humsa, number five in Arabic) came to sit in my lap, and to chin bump me with his head, asking for back rubs down his glorious orange-striped back, and gazing up at me adoringly with his rich, golden pumpkin orangey eyes as I comply with his unspoken request. There are more important things than degrees. And far more important things than money. There is the love of an incredible creature that owes me nothing – and loves me anyway. Thanks, Humsa, for reminding me that I am more than the sum of my degrees – I am your cat mom.