Just thinking about my finances today, I am overwhelmed. From loans for graduate school to the car note (my car was totaled last November when I got rear-ended) to surgery bills to regular old “life” bills, it feels like I don’t even know where to start. After graduate school, I moved back home to help my parents with a lot of much-needed, much-overdue work on their house and yard. I felt they more than deserved that help, and after how miserable I was during my time in Missouri, I just needed to be able to work with my hands and be near people who love me. We’ve made wonderful progress on that on renovations and organization, but it has been a real challenge to my identity. I hadn’t lived at home since high school, and my tendency toward financial independence at a young age and working ridiculous hours had been big parts of who I was.
Although I’m coaching, transcribing and copyediting, and working promotions, that still doesn’t feel like “enough.” I’m not working a full-time job at one office that provides me with all my insurance, retirement benefits, etc., and as a result I have begun to question whether I should have even pursued what I did in graduate school. I suppose it was a bit of a bait-and-switch, since I had planned to complete my PhD there…but I don’t regret leaving after my master’s for one minute (and my assistantship, which was completely outside my degree program, was absolutely wonderful). There’s a reason (well, plenty of reasons) every one of us in the cohort left. The ethical practices were shoddy at best, and many of us ended up with debt that we shouldn’t have to couple the lack of advising and the poor academic standards. I know that I am exactly where I should be right now, and in all honesty I am happier than I have been in years, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy place to be, either.