Last days of summer

Do we need to wait until the equinox to declare it over? Sometimes, usually depending on the weather I’ve thought it could end early or late, by a few weeks or more either way. Likely, a slightly different interpretation for everyone- with some similarities and likely some polar opposite responses. Some people love summer for their hobby or the work it brings on, while others might feel the same at its passing.

For quite some time, summer has been something to look forward to with the eager anticipation of the pure bliss to come. I’ve always loved the summertime with my boys when they were young, was never one to look forward to their return to school and for our time to end. For the last six years or so, summer faded into fall campaigns. One weekend, then another never knowing if there might be one more weekend that could be called ‘summer’. Now, there is a clear certainty: this is the last weekend of summer.

Four full-time classes already, plus a PT class for one credit, and one more class I’ve requested too. It will be a full load and probably a couple of weeks before I “get a handle on it” I think, figuring out the flow and cycle of getting all the work done by deadlines each week. Hopefully, I will make use of my time between classes (the same as how I can fit in my Personal Fitness classes at any time during the week.) No classes on Tuesday, a two-hour gap on Wednesdays, and no afternoon class on Thursday- I hope to use that spare time to complete the homework, and I could always “go early” and work out consistently each morning too (I suppose…)

I’ve never done this “college thing” actually, so I’m not really sure how it’s going to go. I could drive out there (or another study location,) Monday through Thursday from 10 to 4:30 and fill in the gaps with the studies, as that block would contain all my current classes (the one add-on request is for a Monday evening movie night an “Intro to Film” class.) I’m told it’s an easy 3 credits and a pathway into some other theater classes.

I received an email today that I would not be able to receive Federal Student Aid. I was aware and did not plan to receive the Pell Grant, however, I also am aware that the State of Michigan Reconnect Program will pay my tuition- just not my books and fees. Now that I think about it, that’s what held me back in ’21. Close to $500 or maybe a little more if I recall correctly- in any class, I knew it was coming and now have the funds waiting to pay the bill- after, the great state pays its part for me first.

As it stands now, my account is due -3719, and some change. Previously I thought I was all done with the Pell program as I was at “125%” usage. However, apparently, I’m allowed to go up to 600% usage before it caps out (if that’s what it takes to earn an associate’s degree,) if I otherwise qualify. From the email I received today, I gathered the Feds were not happy with the ratio of classes I complete compared to the number I attempt. Until my ratio is up, I’m cut off. No Pell Grant, which I expected, and no Federal Student Loan, which I had been expecting to use.

With a $9550 interest-free loan (for as long as I stayed enrolled at least half-time,) that made the next twelve months’ budget work, work easily in fact. Now, that will not happen until the ratio improves. This is why in ’21 I dropped out before I even “attempted” the classes, such that it would not worsen my ratio even more, as I was not feeling fully committed to the decision then.

Now, with no federal support, I at least have the state paying my tuition and I’ll have to pay the rest of the books, fees, and room and board out of pocket. With five (or six,) classes all attempted and completed this semester, that will improve my ratio enough that I will be eligible for the Pell Grant and student loans next semester. With the two of them combined close to thirteen thousand dollars per year- of which I would receive approximately half in early January; it is worthwhile to complete all my classes so that I do qualify.

As I have no higher priorities for my time at the moment, I can apply myself to the fullest to this endeavor for the next four months. Aside from the basic hygienic and sustenance responsibilities, which will likely be encouraged if not enforced by the culture at hand, I can devote myself fully- and I must. I made a short-term and long-term budget the other day, the long-term budget is now bust. The short-term budget will last until Christmas.

So, if I keep my chin up and my “nose to the grindstone” for four months, just fifteen weeks of classes I will then be able to receive the 6,422.50 for the next semester- and if I’m correct- that will be in addition to the State of Michigan still paying the base tuition ($185 per credit hour, I think) leaving me to pay only the same five to seven hundred, or less, that I’m expecting to pay now with the rest ($5500 ?) being disbursed directly to me for “room and board” in my off-campus house.

Of course, $4500 of that would be repayable- so I would still have to work on income to repay the loan while still staying in school for as long as possible to keep the loan interest-free. I wonder how far I can go in life with a free government-paid (and hopefully, one day, loan forgiven,) liberal arts degree? What say we? Do we need another Psychologist? or a Political Scientist? perhaps a Master of the arts and one day a doctor of the mind?

I may have to start applying for more grants. Kind of like an educational gofundme, which who knows- maybe that is an option still in addition to all the conventional routes. And, if I do see a pathway to MSU, I don’t think I actually have to wait until I finish a degree at JC, I could be dually enrolled at the two institutions, and as long as I checked with MSU first to make sure everything would transfer.

Of course, cognizant of the amount of student debt I accumulate (the amount of current minimum living expenses not covered,) which likely will have to be paid back someday (unlike the 25k in CC debt, which I do plan to officially ‘write-off’.) At least ten years of an income-based minimum due and the rest can be wiped clean, is what I read on some page or another.

Is this day four or five with no nicotine? Was that Sunday that was the first day? Idk, I want to say that I’m getting used to. The extra Vyvanse has helped, also, I did restock the cannabis- so I’m still smoking something. That needs to go soon- getting hard for me to tolerate it. Was way too hot, 81 degrees at 9:30 am (predicted 98 by 5 pm,) to go out and finish the tree- that pushes it into the last three days of summer.

Spent the the early afternoon analyzing my budget, and ending up going back over to the bank to open a new savings account. Apparently, their base ‘share savings’ account only has a 0.03% interest rate with a $5.00 minimum balance. The next savings account has a minimum balance of $100 and pays 2.25% interest. The checking/debit account that I opened yesterday is also a nice 4% interest (on the first 100k,) if you have at least 15 transactions/card swipes and one direct deposit per month.

As I won’t meet those requirements, the account would pay me 0%, hence the reason I went to open the new account today. Although I will have to move things around manually using their website, I can easily keep my money earning as much interest as possible (especially, once it’s money I’ve borrowed interest-free,) until I spend it on my mortgage, tuition, books, or food or have stockpiled it, while accumulating interest on it until my moment my loans first become payable and I drop the saved chunk on them (hopefully, paying them off?)

After the bank, I played with the new software a bit more. It is simple, yet I think it will be perfect for what I need, not much more than a checkbook register really, plus a few charts, and a budgeting feature. It was exactly what I was looking for, GreenBooks, other than the cost. Thirty dollars one time only- plus $35.99 per year for the ‘killer feature’, flawless and seamless online integration with all the accounts I currently use.

Quite simply, if this app can help me make more financial decisions (even just the basics, like planning and sticking to a budget,) it should be able to save me $60 a year in poor decisions. Not sure why I’ve been putting it off, yet I went shopping today. Real shopping, over at Kroger. It would have been $97 except once I typed in my ‘alternate id’, that knocked off just over $18 dollars. Hopefully, I planned this well and I’ll have a week’s worth of groceries- I expect to be busy next week, no more trips to the store two or three times per week.

Also, I have to make sure I feed myself well. If I can keep up the sleep… improve my diet… and stay in school… lol

Time to rest.


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