I Am Stupid
What I Did
I got laid off in February of 2009 and took the severance package which gave me a small financial send-off including a couple of weeks of pay and the promise of tuition reimbursement good for four years towards a two year degree from a technical/two-year college. It was too late for me to start taking classes immediately so I took my first class in the summer. I got reimbursed after the class was over and I continued taking classes afterwards.
The thing is that unemployment benefits don’t pay all that well. We were also unaware we were going to have my unemployment benefits extended for as long as they were (they just ran out a few weeks ago because congress decided to not continue extending them). We are also putting our daughter through college and she has two babies—meaning we don’t ever have much money on hand. In order to take the classes, I have to pay up front, meaning I could only afford so many classes per semester. I took one at a time; it’s all we could afford.
What I Could Have Done
I could have simply sat on my ass and do nothing, not taking any classes and collecting unemployment and hope it keeps getting extended until I find a job. I found a job, weeks after my unemployment benefits ran out, but it was dumb luck. The company that laid me off in 2009 is working on a new manufacturing process which will make them able to pump out more product with fewer workers; I got hired to help inflate their inventories in for the transition period.
What I Should Have Done
I should have filed my FAFSA, gotten student loans, and paid for more classes per semester—and get the reimbursement. If I had done that, I should have been able to keep paying for my classes with the reimbursement money and shouldn’t have to worry about paying back the loans until I finished school. I should have taken more classes which would mean I would be almost done with school and already starting my nursing clinicals—meaning I could have already been working part-time as a nurse, even if at a nursing home, and should have been able to get my Associate’s of Science degree in Nursing.
I just now figured this out.