It’s been nearly 10 years since I made the crucial decision to leave my unsuccessful marriage. At the time, I was the clerical manager for my husband’s small mechanic business, a work at home job that had no real personal income. All the money was controlled by my husband and even though keeping track of papers and receipts is an important job, it was not a job that transferred well into the work force. Certainly, it wasn’t a job that would support two children on a single income.
Going back to school was the single most important and valuable decision that I could have made. It was a difficult journey, but ultimately the most rewarding choice there was. I could have gotten a job at entry level, working 40 hours per week, living in a frightening apartment and send my children to day care. I tossed around freelance ideas: photography, writing (pre-blog era) or even breeding purebred German Shepherds. However, my dear friend, Alice, had already gone that route. She worked at unstable clerical positions, lived with her family until she could move into a small house in a neighborhood that experienced high crime. She worked every day at a job she hated, and at night she picked up her children from day care. When Alice learned that I was getting divorced she was very stern with me. “Dee,” she said, “You cannot make a living off photography or selling puppies, you have to get a REAL job. Go back to school.” Having witnessed how difficult it was for her, I decided to take her advice.
10 years later, I am finally a teacher with a masters degree. I earn $60k a year and I love my job. I have summers off with my own children, and my schedule corresponds to theirs perfectly. It wasn’t the most profitable careers I could have chosen. But, if I couldn’t pursue my passion of photography and puppies… working with children to make the world a better place makes up for any monetary difference there may have been.
Was it easy? Hell no. But the lessons that I learned to through the uncharted waters of public assistance, financial aid and all the steps it took to become a teacher were worth the struggle. For a long time, my motto was: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… And that was the way of it for a long time.
There are steps that I took that got me here, and mistakes I made that might have saved me some time and money. If you find yourself, or a loved one in a similar position, I hope that what ever I have to share will help you as much as my friend’s experience and advice helped me.
Everyone’s experience will be different, but in my next posts I will write about my experience with finding an apartment, grieving my home, deciding on a career path, applying for college and helping my children cope with the divorce. Additionally, I will share college hacks for getting into classes, buying textbooks, taking notes that lead to high grades, navigating the generation gap and surviving group work.
Love and light.