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#Actualfrob

Posted 03 August 2013 - 02:14 AM

Interesting biography. You are in a very rare position. I worked my way through school which was hard enough. I have known a few people both as colleagues and as close family friends who have taken the harder step you have described. You have returned to school after time in the work force and starting a family that you are the breadwinner for, which is much harder. And it is very commendable.

Since you are already a good way along in your schooling, I recommend you stick it out. You have excellent grades meaning you should qualify for many scholarships and grants. Your family situation will likely qualify you for even more scholarships and grants. Even if you need to get a few thousand dollars in debt beyond what grants and scholarships can cover, completing the degree will be worth it and repaying the money after you graduate is not as hard as it seems.

For advice...

Make friends with the department head or academic advisors, and if you haven't done so already, ask if you can test out of coursework or get credit for life experience. Many schools are willing to do this for a small fee.

The last year or so of undergrad courses focus on the topics you enjoy, so often while it is still an effort, it can be more enjoyable than when you began. While it is more effort it may feel like less.

I wouldn't be too worried about the gap in employment, especially if you finish the degree. It is very easy to explain: "I had seven years in the work force, during the economic depression I went back and finished school." There is no fault or problem in this. Make your decision grid, and if that includes leaving the job to finish school that is not a career limiting move. It is a career enabling move.

I would not spend the effort on the side game projects. Your brief summary says 2.5 years at a game company, working at a startup until it went bust, 4+ years at a stable job, plus getting a degree on the side. I look at that and think "I want this guy, he is a dedicated hard worker." I do not need side projects to prove that you can work.

If you have religious or social groups you can rely on for support, seek them out. This can be anything from needing help with plumbing issues or emotional support for yourself or your family.




I want to really emphasise this one:

Emotional stress is a very real thing. I have seen it many times in my life and in other people. It can grind even the strongest man down into a pulp. A strong support network for emotional stress is important. Most schools have free or low-cost psychological counselling sessions. Your health insurance probably has similar, but more expensive, benefits. If you are feeling heavy emotional stress, seek that help. If you are beyond your personal support group or are feeling overwhelmed (your post implies that you might) then get help. You don't need to reach the point of being suicidal or homicidal to get great benefits from a good counselor. Some people equate psychologists with insanity or weakness, but that is invalid. Emotional stress and pain are very real, and can be more painful and damaging than a toothache or broken bone; would you not visit a dentist or seek medical care for either of those? A good counselor can help you reduce and manage the emotional difficulties of your situation. You are in an amazingly difficult time balancing a full-time job and school, possibly one of the most difficult times of your life. If you have any difficulty managing your emotional stress levels, any difficulty at all, take advantage of clinical counseling services.

Again, manage your mental and emotional health. If you lose those it can impair you just as much as breaking your hand would impair your typing ability. Injuries to your psyche from stress are just as real and can be just as permanent as injuries to your physical body. If you feel yourself slipping, being crushed, or just want the equivalent of a mental or emotional painkiller, free and inexpensive resources are available.



I would finish the degree, doing everything you can and pulling strings to make that easier. Being friends with the department head, especially if they know your history, can help you get shortcuts not normally available to the teens who proceed directly through the program. I would leverage that if possible. Also enlist help in searching for scholarships and grants. That 'free money' can lighten the burden significantly.

Be friends with and talk with your boss. It sounds like they have done some to help you already. Heavy crunch times are hard enough when that is your full daytime life; adding school to the mix makes that insanely difficult. A good boss will recognize this and help make your life easier; an overworked and overburdened employee is less productive and has more errors, so a smart manager will help you.


You are doing a very hard thing. Your post implies you are doing the hard thing very well; keeping your grades up very high while also keeping your employer happy. That's double-tough and impressive. It will have life-long benefits to you both directly and indirectly. Since the topic is a passion for you, I recommend you follow it if you can. You have less than 24 months of it left to endure. Once it is completed it can be a badge of honor, especially to those who understand what it really means.

#1frob

Posted 03 August 2013 - 01:49 AM

Interesting biography. You are in a very rare position. I worked my way through school which was hard enough. You have returned to school after time in the work force and starting a family that you are the breadwinner for, which is much harder.

Since you are already a good way along in your schooling, I recommend you stick it out. You have excellent grades meaning you should qualify for many scholarships and grants. Your family situation will likely qualify you for even more scholarships and grants. Even if you need to get a few thousand dollars in debt beyond what grants and scholarships can cover, completing the degree will be worth it and repaying the money after you graduate is not as hard as it seems.

For advice...

Make friends with the department head or academic advisors, and if you haven't done so already, ask if you can test out of coursework or get credit for life experience. Many schools are willing to do this for a small fee.

The last year or so of undergrad courses focus on the topics you enjoy, so often while it is still an effort, it can be more enjoyable than when you began. While it is more effort it may feel like less.

I wouldn't be too worried about the gap in employment, especially if you finish the degree. It is very easy to explain: "I had seven years in the work force, during the economic depression I went back and finished school." There is no fault or problem in this. Make your decision grid, and if that includes leaving the job to finish school that is not a career limiting move. It is a career enabling move.

I would not spend the effort on the side game projects. Your brief summary says 2.5 years at a game company, working at a startup until it went bust, 4+ years at a stable job, plus getting a degree on the side. I look at that and think "I want this guy, he is a dedicated hard worker." I do not need side projects to prove that you can work.


I would finish the degree, doing everything you can and pulling strings to make that easier. Being friends with the department head, especially if they know your history, can help you get shortcuts not normally available to the teens who proceed directly through the program. I would leverage that if possible. Also enlist help in searching for scholarships and grants. That 'free money' can lighten the burden significantly.

Be friends with and talk with your boss. If they are the friendly and compassionate kind who understand life balance, they may give more leniency to help you finish your degree. Heavy crunch times are hard enough when that is your full daytime life; adding school to the mix makes that insanely difficult. A good boss will recognize this and help make your life easier; an overworked and overburdened employee is less productive and has more errors, so a smart manager will help you.


You are doing a very hard thing. Your post implies you are doing the hard thing very well; keeping your grades up very high while also keeping your employer happy. That's double-tough and impressive. It will have life-long benefits to you both directly and indirectly. Since the topic is a passion for you, I recommend you follow it if you can.

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