Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gotta start somewhere!

money college

So I'm 36 and I'm going back to college.  Or going TO college, period.  See, I was an high school drop out.

Sure, I went back as a young adult and got my "equivalent" high school diploma.  I even did something like a month of accounting diploma in my early 20s before I realized working full time and going to school full time wasn't working out for me.

Life had its ups and downs since.  And I found myself with a good job for over 5 years at a reputable banking institution here in Canada. I even got a promotion through hard work and got transferred to the HR department. So awesome. So great. When suddenly, POOF, my position was eliminated.

I received a kick ass severance package. Absolute golden. I even had the option to get my pension in cash or transferring it.  I took the cash.

I took the cash and I spent it all. Foolishly. I went on a fun trip, bought expensive furniture, an iPad, a new laptop, I was using UBER to go everywhere and anywhere, I was having takeout and food delivery 3 - 4 times a week...

And while I was receiving my severance package, I wasn't putting any money aside.  Big fat 0. Barely made a dent in my debts too: while they didn't increase, that's a good thing I guess, it didn't get any smaller.

Okay I lied.  I did close one credit card that had a balance of $1,000 so I guess I have that to show for.

So come along the awesome Ontario government and their Second Career program. For those of you not familiar, if you find yourself in a similar position without a job through no fault of your own, her gracious majesty the Queen might, through the powers she invested in the Ontario education system, pay for you to go to college and get a diploma.

I had lots of hoops to jump through and the application process was almost a full time job on it's own but it was worth it as I got accepted. I'm studying web development at a private college.

My tuition is entirely paid for by the Second Career program, except the tiny bity sum of $79,50 that the college was charging for books that went above what the maximum the government was allowing.

I'm even getting a living allowance and they pay for my bus pass!

But sadly that allowance, as awesome as it is cause it's FREE MONEY that I don't have to pay back, is far from enough to cover all my living expenses.

So I applied to OSAP.  And long story short, I'm not eligible for OSAP.  This gutted me, as I was really counting on that money to bridge the gap between my expenses and the money coming in.

I was sitting in the financial assistance lady of my school when she told me that news.  I was holding back tears.  I went to class and I was having a hard time focusing.

Can I even afford to stay in school at this rate?  I'm missing somewhere between $750 and $1000 each month to be able to balance my budget.

I went too far to give up now.  I mean I'm getting a FREE RIDE TO COLLEGE.  There is no way I am turning this down. I'm fed up with call center work.  It's a soul sucking career and I've been there, I've done that, I want out.

And here comes the Adult Student Guide to being Poor.  In hindsight, it's a bit of a misnomer as I'm more blogging about my experience as a poor adult student than writing an How To Be a Poor Student And Succeed in Live Anyway Guide. But that's the title and I'm sticking to it!

So stay along for the ride as I try to live more frugally, try to get a bit of money wherever I can and try to balance it all out with good grades!  I have a 94% average so far so I work hard to keep that up!