Begging for School and Career Advice

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So this quarter is almost over and I’m once again stuck trying to decide what to do with the next quarter.  I know this is a decision I have to make for myself but peoples feedback and input is always welcome.

My current situation is this.  I have 2 AA degrees from Santa Rosa Junior College.  One in Religious Studies, and the other in English.  I transferred last Fall to UC Davis with the hopes of getting a BA, and then a Masters, and then hopefully a PHD down the line, with the intent of writing for enjoyment, and teaching to pay the bills.  I had a very bright future ahead of me when I started down this road.  I saw myself writing academic papers for Biblical scholarship/myths and joining in on panels.  Unfortunately I became deathly ill in 2009 and had to be hospitalized.  My body and my mind have never completely recovered.  I only took six courses last year and was only able to complete three of them.  I am currently on academic leave to try to to complete those, but I have only managed to complete one thus far.   Best case scenario I can be a part time student for the next several years and still hope to complete a BA in Religious Studies from UC Davis, which I don’t think I can do much with.  The worst part of school now is realizing just how much isn’t sinking in. It takes so much longer for me to grasp ideas, and instructions that were once much simpler.  A lot of the time I feel like I’m wasting my time being there, even though I have managed to keep a 3.3 with the classes I have completed.

Part of why I wanted to teach was because I wanted to stay immersed in the academic life, and partly because I wanted to give back. Teachers have been very influential to me.  My Religious Studies professor Eric Thompson at SRJC helped me realize I was an atheist and that I wanted his job, and I quickly made him my mentor.  I am a much happier person for having had him in my life.  I can never give back to him what he has done for me.

The last two years, I have helped organize teams for Light the Night, and I believe I have helped revive the Agnostic and Atheist Student Association at UC Davis.  I enjoy helping other people, and I want to be a part of the secular movement.  I’m wondering if the Foundation Beyond Belief or the Secular Student Alliance hire people with only two year degrees with any hope of moving upward to maintain a modest living.

I have been out of work since August of 2011 at my Dr’s advisement. He had diagnosed me with something he thought would get better with time and rest but it has not.  I still feel just as horrible, and yet my test results look better.  I am currently working with a disability lawyer to receive benefits for the last year that they should have been paying me.  I believe my Dr will release me back to work whenever I ask him to.  Every day is a struggle for me.  I am not well.   I am constantly in pain, but it’s also extremely harmful for me to stay shut up at home with no goals or purpose.  Currently the Agnostic and Atheist Association is my reason for getting up and living.  This might just be some really wishful thinking on my part, but I think even though it would probably be very difficult, that I might be able to go back to work if I felt like I was helping to make a difference for a cause that is important to me.   I can endure a lot for the sake of others.  Besides this I find little value in my life by sitting around.

I have enrolled in Winter courses for UC Davis, but my financial aid has been suspended due to my lack of academic progress, I would have to take out more student loans, or if I withdraw, I must start paying them back.

I realize that most of my friends know how strong willed I am, and usually just tell me not to give up on my dreams, but I need to be realistic about what I’m capable of so that I can plan my life accordingly. I have felt for a long time now that I no longer have control over my life.  My invisible illness is holding me hostage. I am losing sleep over this, and don’t have much time to decide with financial deadlines coming up.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Q-Rai
    Dec 05, 2013 @ 23:04:22

    You’re in a very tricky situation and I don’t think there’s an ideal way. I suspect you still enjoy studying, although it’s a lot harder for you than it used to. If you gain more happiness from your studies than frustration from the difficulties you now have to face, I would tend towards continuing your studies. You’ll be slower, but I’m sure you will make it given enough time.
    About financial aid: in Germany, there are organisations which support people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. I have no idea if there’s such a thing in the US but if there is, that may be a way for you to afford your studies more easily.
    That said, I hope to get to know your happy old self one day (rather sooner than later).

    Reply

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