Author Topic: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future  (Read 5204 times)

djxt3546

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Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« on: April 30, 2018, 02:56:54 PM »
I've been trying to figure out what to do with what I've got going on for a while now and I'm not sure where to ask about it so I thought I might get some ideas here for what I can and will be able to do.

I'm a 21 almost 22 year old man living with my grandparents at the moment. Currently I work overnights for a company that I've been with for 3 years now here in Texas making minimum wage (7.25/hr). This is mostly due to a lot of the medical issues I've had over the last couple of years. I had gout for a time which had progressed to the point of developing large uric acid crystals in most of my joints and for me the pain was severe enough to steer me away from most of the physical labor jobs that I would have willingly gone into.

Now with that mostly under control I've started looking elsewhere for work, however, I live in a small town of around 20,000 people nearly 75 miles from the nearest large city. I don't have any college experience since most of my money has gone into paying for my vehicle, food, gas, and medical expenses. I spend roughly half my monthly income on these things and what I have left over, now that I'm no longer paying for anything besides a bottle of gout prevention pills every 3 months, is roughly 600-700 dollars. I owe around 5,000 on my car, and have roughly 2 years left of payments. It's a 2011 Ford Mustang with almost 100,000 miles on it valued at around 9,000. The tires are almost to the point of needing to be replaced on all wheels, which will run me at the very least 600 not including installation + M&B. I drive roughly 7,000 miles a year give or take a few hundred.

As far as other debt besides my car, I have a credit card which has about 500 dollars towards the credit limit of 1000 used and I make payments on it monthly and plan to have it paid off in the next month or two now that I don't have any more major medical expenses that take up the other half of my paycheck. I currently don't have ANY money put back as everything I've had has gone to paying medical bills and my monthly expenses and thankfully I don't have anything to pay as far as medical expenses go as of today.

I don't pay rent, phone, internet, or anything else while I'm staying with my grandparents, however, I only have until next summer to stay here until I will have to move out due to them wanting me out of the house. I'm not sure where to go from here as I have yet to find a decent paying job with my limited work experience (only having 2 jobs since I turned 18, one being with the company I'm working with doing overnight care for people with developmental disabilities, and the other being a job as a grocery sacker.) I pretty much have no chance of being promoted within the company without either having an LVN certification (cheapest one here would cost around 15,000 and take me a full 12 months to complete and I wouldn't be able to start until August of 2019), and the only reason I'm here instead of elsewhere is because it is very light work which hasn't made me do any heavy lifting. I also don't have any real friends in the area that I can stay with as most of the people I knew pre-high school graduation have either moved or I've lost contact with, and the cost of living here would require me to take a second full time job to be able to pay the rent, utilities, phone, etc.

So I guess I'm asking what I can do in the next 12 or so months to improve my situation, better financially situate myself for whenever I have to leave home, and if anyone has any advice for what I should do once I do leave home, whether it be moving somewhere else and finding a roommate (some advice about how to go about that would be nice), doubling up on jobs, going to online college and what the best avenues for that are, so on and so forth. I'm just not sure where to go from here.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this if you did, and if you do have any advice at all it will be greatly appreciated.

Cwadda

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2018, 04:16:12 PM »
How close are you to a college or university? It seems like getting a higher education could be a good option for you.

djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2018, 04:25:13 PM »
How close are you to a college or university? It seems like getting a higher education could be a good option for you.

There's a private uni about 10 minutes from where I live, a junior college roughly 30 away, and a state trade school nearby as well. My only issue has been cost for the longest time now, the tuition at the private uni is nearly 35k a year, the junior college programs are roughly 5k a semester minimum, and the trade school varies from 2-4k per semester. I've thought about enrolling for an associates program, my only concern with that is if I'm going to be able to afford to continue my education after I have to leave home since I'll have to take on more financial responsibilities (rent, utilities, etc) since those programs are 2+ years and I'm only going to be able to stay here rent free for another year.

Kwill

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2018, 04:41:37 PM »
What do you like or enjoy? What are you good at? Which classes did you like best in high school? Do you like your job caring for people with disabilities?

I would recommend reading 'What color is your parachute?' You can probably find a copy in your local library. If you work through it thoughtfully, you might get a better sense of your possibilities.

One small thing you could do is to teach yourself to touch type, if you can't already. That will help you if you get an administrative job or if you get a programming job or if you go to college and need to write papers or if you hang out on Internet forums. There are plenty of sites to help with typing, and it seems like it would be a good investment of time if you need to look for less physically demanding jobs. You might also want to brush up on grammar, spelling, and punctuation for the same reasons. Again, you can probably work on those online with little to no cost.

djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2018, 05:00:57 PM »
What do you like or enjoy? What are you good at? Which classes did you like best in high school? Do you like your job caring for people with disabilities?

As to the first three, I'm not really sure as it relates to work or potential careers. Most of my free time winds up being spent helping around the house and trying to stay active to help get myself back in shape. Occasionally I'll sit down and play an online game or two with my friends or watch a movie if I have nothing else I need to be doing. I'd have to say I'm fairly decent with picking up new subjects and studying them very thoroughly. It's one of the reasons I was initially drawn to repairing and fixing computers as a hobby in high school. I wanted to see how everything worked inside of something like that. I never really liked very many of my classes but I always felt drawn more towards history and English, but those don't quite translate into any jobs that I've been able to find.

As for my job, I'd have to say that I'm not very happy with it, and I don't really enjoy doing what I do very much. It's not necessarily the pay that bothers me either. I just don't feel like it's something that I want to be doing for any amount of time past what is necessary to see me off to a better career.

I would recommend reading 'What color is your parachute?' You can probably find a copy in your local library. If you work through it thoughtfully, you might get a better sense of your possibilities.

I'll definitely see if I can find a copy at the library here. If there isn't one then I'm sure I can scrap together the 10 to 15 dollars it will cost to get it on Amazon Kindle. Thank you for the recommendation.

One small thing you could do is to teach yourself to touch type, if you can't already. That will help you if you get an administrative job or if you get a programming job or if you go to college and need to write papers or if you hang out on Internet forums. There are plenty of sites to help with typing, and it seems like it would be a good investment of time if you need to look for less physically demanding jobs. You might also want to brush up on grammar, spelling, and punctuation for the same reasons. Again, you can probably work on those online with little to no cost.

I can touch type, and I think the last time I took a test I was at around 100 words per minute. It definitely could have fallen off some since then as I haven't been required to do much copy work or extensive typing where I'm at now. I could definitely use a touch up on my grammar, spelling, etc. I know that I've gotten pretty lax with it lately.

Steeze

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2018, 05:57:58 PM »
My recommendation would be to look at finding a very cheap appartment with other students near your local trade school or junior college. Live close to campus and a grocery so you can walk everywhere. Sell your car and buy a used bike for under $200. If you need to go home carpool or have someone pick you up. Find a job with flexible hours that you can work around school. If you decide on a trade, look for a job at a place related to the trade if possible. Restaurant jobs are easy to get and flexible otherwise. Work with admin to apply for grants and financial aid to make the tuition cheaper. Try to get through your associates with as little debt as possible. Don't party with all the rich kids who are spending thier family's money or going into debt. Go to the library for fun,  hang out with successful people. I am biased, but I recommend going for a STEM program if you decide on the junior college instead of the trade school. Cook all your own food and don't buy things you can get for free, including kindle books.

Plenty of guys at my firm with an associate of engineering, or 2 yr engineering tech degree who get paid 40k or so and have upward mobility if they are great at what they do which is operate AutoCAD for the most part.

You don't have to stop there - if you went for the junior college and went for an associate of science, I would then recommend you go for a Bachelor of Science in engineering or technology if it interests you. Take loans if you have to, always living as frugally as possible. Before you take a single loan for school you should know exactly what you will graduate with, how much it will cost you, how much you will make, and where you will make it. Don't go in blind.

I took the steps above and went from working restaurant jobs in my early 20s living in my car and on food stamps to making 100k at 30. I graduated when I was 25 100k in debt and turned out fine. I am now debt free. I could have and should have done it cheaper, but I was young and dumb. Did I follow my passion? No, I wanted to go to art school. Turns out engineering is pretty creative, I get to draw a lot still. It was hard work, I had to push myself to learn difficult subjects. The pay in STEM is almost guaranteed, I wouldn't go into debt for anything else, but you have to be stubborn enough to finish the degree, it's hard work.

Hard work will get you everything you need. I worked 2-3 jobs every summer and worked full time through college. I still work very hard to this day and it has paid off. I don't watch tv, no video games, no social media. Waste no time! Start reading everything you can, educate yourself on every topic that interest you. Health is a problem? Learn how to be healthy, develop the discipline to be healthy. Eat right, exercise more than you ever have.

You can have the life you dream of. I hope to see your progress over the coming months and years.

Best of luck!




djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 06:21:17 PM »
Thanks for the advice Steeze. I'm pretty interested in one of the programs there at the trade school as they have an associate program for computer networking (one of the few degree programs they have), it's a 5 semester course for around 10k not including books and fees. I'm pretty horrible at math, so I might try to take a course this summer as a refresher if that's possible.

My big issue is with living arrangements as there are only about 7 apartment complexes in the entire city and 6 of them don't have any units available with the last being a brand new set of buildings that are well out of my price range at what I'm making. They only offer 1 bed 1 bath, 2 bed 1 bath, or 3 bed 2 bath units at 850, 1100, 1400 respectively (not including utilities). On top of that, those units are on the complete opposite side of town from all 3 of the schools (roughly a 10 minute trip by car, 15 to the junior college). Most of the people who come here for school, as far as I've heard, typically will stay in rented out houses as they're more readily available, I just don't know how to get in touch with anyone in my area to explore this option so I'm at a bit of a loss there.

As a side note, almost all of the places that I would be qualified to work at are well over a 8-9 minute drive from the schools as the schools are situated in more spread out residential areas and almost all the businesses are in a more commercialized and compacted zone. My place of work is almost 15 minutes from where I live and that's by taking the highway on the edge of town. The nearest place of work to the trade school that has an opening is a restaurant, if they're still hiring, and that's nearly a 6 minute drive from there. I'm only mentioning all this because I'm pretty terribly out of shape and biking wouldn't really be feasible as I'd show up to work/school drenched in sweat. I'd love to be able to bike to work, I just don't think with the distance involved in going from home>work>school in my area that biking would be an option. I'm still trying to get myself back in shape from all that time I was inactive.

I'll keep my eye open and see if any places come up or if I can find a way to get in touch with anyone in the area that might know about a place to rent. In the mean time any advice for finding potential people to room with in my town would be much appreciated as the internet is still a novel thing here and there aren't many people that go to it for much of anything outside of ordering pizza for delivery and checking their e-mail.

jeroly

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2018, 06:52:38 PM »
How close are you to a college or university? It seems like getting a higher education could be a good option for you.

There's a private uni about 10 minutes from where I live, a junior college roughly 30 away, and a state trade school nearby as well. My only issue has been cost for the longest time now, the tuition at the private uni is nearly 35k a year, the junior college programs are roughly 5k a semester minimum, and the trade school varies from 2-4k per semester. I've thought about enrolling for an associates program, my only concern with that is if I'm going to be able to afford to continue my education after I have to leave home since I'll have to take on more financial responsibilities (rent, utilities, etc) since those programs are 2+ years and I'm only going to be able to stay here rent free for another year.

1.  I don't know where in Texas you are, but at Southwest Texas Junior College, students pay full time basis pay 1,368 for tuition and $748 for other fees (thank you Google for search results on "junor college texas tuition"). That's for full time... while many financially-astute high school students go to junior college for a year or two before transferring to a more expensive school at which they'll get their bachelor's degree, most older junior college students are not going full time but take a course or two each semester.  Given that you've been away from school for a good stretch, that seems like the way to go - you'd get to ease into it, plus pay just a fraction of that $2.1k (maybe only $600? just a guess).  So you should be able to fund that in just a month or so of savings - get that in the bank before you have to start paying rent!!!

2. I know that you're motivated to move forward on the credentials front, and that's great, but you're not in a safe position to take on a bunch of debt even if it's at a low-ish interest rate.  If you find yourself liking the schooling, then after a semester or two you can move up to taking three (or four) courses a semester which qualifies as full time usually, making you eligible for financial assistance, work-study employment, and student loans.  Then if you succeed as a full time student at the junior college, you can look to four-year schools to finish up a Bachelors' degree in a total of four or five years.

djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2018, 07:08:09 PM »
1.  I don't know where in Texas you are, but at Southwest Texas Junior College, students pay full time basis pay 1,368 for tuition and $748 for other fees (thank you Google for search results on "junor college texas tuition"). That's for full time... while many financially-astute high school students go to junior college for a year or two before transferring to a more expensive school at which they'll get their bachelor's degree, most older junior college students are not going full time but take a course or two each semester.  Given that you've been away from school for a good stretch, that seems like the way to go - you'd get to ease into it, plus pay just a fraction of that $2.1k (maybe only $600? just a guess).  So you should be able to fund that in just a month or so of savings - get that in the bank before you have to start paying rent!!!

Quite a bit north from there. That's right outside of San Antonio which is about a 4 hour drive from me. I'm pretty isolated as far as major cities and cheaper schools go. The going tuition for the junior college here isn't that high, it's just that tuition + books and fees for any of the 2 year programs comes out to around 3.5-4k average not including any courses outside of the base programs. I could expect to pay anywhere from 3-5k depending on the courses I'm taking there if I go full time. My issue still doesn't come out to the cost of school, it's more so about the living expenses and my inability to find somewhere here that's cheap enough for me to stay at my current salary and still be able to afford school on top of that. The cost of living in any of the places here that I can find that are currently available are over half my current paycheck, and with this being a much smaller town there aren't many online options to finding a roommate to stay with.

2. I know that you're motivated to move forward on the credentials front, and that's great, but you're not in a safe position to take on a bunch of debt even if it's at a low-ish interest rate.  If you find yourself liking the schooling, then after a semester or two you can move up to taking three (or four) courses a semester which qualifies as full time usually, making you eligible for financial assistance, work-study employment, and student loans.  Then if you succeed as a full time student at the junior college, you can look to four-year schools to finish up a Bachelors' degree in a total of four or five years.

Personally I'd rather do online courses than classroom taught if I'm going part time just because of the flexibility with my current schedule (me working overnights). If I was to transition to a full time student at any point I would have to swap jobs due to the irregular hours I work (midnight to 8AM weekdays, and midnight to noon weekends with a rotating schedule of 4 days on 2 days off). And I don't know if swapping jobs is my best bet since I'm not currently enrolled, don't have my own place or any prospects for getting one in the near future, and no plans outside of 'wanting to get some sort of education.' My issue comes down to being able to find some place manageable to be able to afford to live while going back to school, and I'm just not sure how to remedy that in the area I live in.

On another note. What about of debt would you consider to be manageable in my situation though? How much would be too much if I was going back to school full time?

Steeze

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2018, 07:52:51 PM »
I had great success with Craigslist with finding roommates when I first started out. My very first roommate was a faculty member. Eventually moved in with friends from class. Never could afford my own place, but lived in some houses with 5-6 people in a 4 br fairly cheap. Did 4 people in a 2 br for a year also. Post an ad in the roommates wanted, say you need a bed for cheap, 400 a month or so, no more than 2 weeks pay. Sleep on the couch if you have to. Say your willing to split a bedroom. With so much class, work, and library time you won't be home much except to cook, eat, shower, and sleep.

Also, I encourage you to consider the feasibility of walking and biking around. Get out and walk everyday. Start biking while you are still at your grandparents. A 6 minute drive should not even be a consideration. No one should drive to somewhere that is only six minutes away when they could bike there in 15 or walk in 30. Even if it takes some hard work, pain, and practice, you can get in good enough shape to do these things in no time. The only way to not be in good enough shape is by avoiding them! No worries on being drenched in sweat in class. You are there to become the best version of yourself possible, sometimes that version will be a sweaty version. Work, well that's another story, but hopefully it's not far from home.

My full time job in college was the closest restaurant to my house. I could see it from the end of my street. Started out at minimum wage and ended up a supervisor making double that within a year. All possible.

Ps. Don't spend money on your credit cards. If you are tight on money hit the food pantry, soup kitchen, donate plasma, apply for food stamps, etc.

I would say that the total amount of debt should be no greater than 1x your annual salary when you finish with the program. The payments on that debt should be no more than 1 week salary, and you should be able to pay it all off in 3-5 years. You should be able to cover those payments with your food and housing taken care of with the job you have.

Also, where is the job you want to get with this education? Why not consoder a move to that city where there are more options for housing, more jobs, more education options, and more opportunity in general. I don't know much about Texas, but have a friend in Midland, and visited San Marcos, Austin, and Houston on a roadtrip once. All great cities in my opinion.

I grew up in a town of 3000 people, went to community college in Colorado, university in Wyoming, and got a job in NYC. If I stayed in my home town I would still be living at home working 3 jobs probably.


djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2018, 08:15:30 PM »
I'll try and see if craigslist has anything today or tomorrow, I don't plan on needing a place for another 11-12 months so it's not super pressing but I'd rather have it figured out in advance so I know what to do. I'm going to try and get into shape and there is a local gym that I go to which has showers so I might consider that and taking a shower there and walking the rest of the way to work if I can find somewhere close to that.

But the total cost of my school if I went to the program I want to do would be roughly 10k total over 5 semesters and the end goal would be a position in IT, maybe in network security. The closest city that I could move to here would be Abilene, maybe Austin/San Marcos if I could find somewhere cheap. The cost of living there is just so high.

The town I'm in right now is around 20,000 people, but it's a really tight community in terms of job availability. I'd love to move somewhere else, that just seems like such a huge leap.

Freedomin5

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2018, 08:26:34 PM »
No one has mentioned this yet, so I thought I would mention it.

SCHOLARSHIPS!

It sounds like you have no parents/no parental support or any other support. It sounds like you have had to deal with a debilitating medical condition. It sounds like you are low income and wanting to better your life. You live in the US. There are a TON of scholarships for people in your situation. You don't even have to have good grades for some of these scholarships -- some of them are NEED-based, not merit-based.

So go online, search US scholarships + whatever conditions you have had to overcome (e.g., poverty, having no parents, medical illness, living in a rural area, living in Texas, faith-based, etc.). You may be surprised what comes up.

My point is: Don't pay for your own education if someone else is willing to pay for you. Sure, you may have to apply to several small scholarships, but after a while, you'll find that the applications ask generally the same questions. And every $1000 - $2000 helps!

jeroly

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2018, 08:37:37 PM »
1.  I don't know where in Texas you are, but at Southwest Texas Junior College,

Quite a bit north from there. That's right outside of San Antonio which is about a 4 hour drive from me.
That's not the point, it's that that's probably a typical Texas JC cost.
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I'm pretty isolated as far as major cities and cheaper schools go. The going tuition for the junior college here isn't that high, it's just that tuition + books and fees for any of the 2 year programs comes out to around 3.5-4k average not including any courses outside of the base programs. I could expect to pay anywhere from 3-5k depending on the courses I'm taking there if I go full time. My issue still doesn't come out to the cost of school, it's more so about the living expenses and my inability to find somewhere here that's cheap enough for me to stay at my current salary and still be able to afford school on top of that.
Once you've gotten to a place where you have confidence in your ability to pass courses, you can build up to full time, when you can then fund your education from financial assistance, work-study (which may even pay more than minimum wage), and you can fill the gaps with loans.
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The cost of living in any of the places here that I can find that are currently available are over half my current paycheck, and with this being a much smaller town there aren't many online options to finding a roommate to stay with.
What about the old-fashioned ways - bulletin boards at supermarkets? asking coworkers? asking friends/relatives?
2. I know that you're motivated to move forward on the credentials front, and that's great, but you're not in a safe position to take on a bunch of debt even if it's at a low-ish interest rate.  If you find yourself liking the schooling, then after a semester or two you can move up to taking three (or four) courses a semester which qualifies as full time usually, making you eligible for financial assistance, work-study employment, and student loans.  Then if you succeed as a full time student at the junior college, you can look to four-year schools to finish up a Bachelors' degree in a total of four or five years.

Personally I'd rather do online courses than classroom taught if I'm going part time just because of the flexibility with my current schedule (me working overnights).
[/quote]
You should be able to manage one in-person course.  Once you pass that, you should be able to quickly progress in just a semester or two to being a full time student and you'll leave your current job behind. 

Regarding online courses: In my opinion, there are basically three kinds of online programs...
 - Cheap/free (e.g. Coursera) that are awesome for learning all kinds of college-level stuff, but not degree-granting and of limited use in getting higher-paying jobs
 - Expensive and from good/okay schools (https://www.collegechoice.net/rankings/best-online-bachelors-in-computer-science/), usually in conjunction with a portion of the program done in person
 - Expensive and from degree mills (e.g. Univ. of Phoenix) which will leave you with a degree worth not much except where a degree of any kind will do - e.g. a teacher who is required to get a master's degree to maintain employment.

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If I was to transition to a full time student at any point I would have to swap jobs due to the irregular hours I work (midnight to 8AM weekdays, and midnight to noon weekends with a rotating schedule of 4 days on 2 days off). And I don't know if swapping jobs is my best bet since I'm not currently enrolled, don't have my own place or any prospects for getting one in the near future, and no plans outside of 'wanting to get some sort of education.'
That's why you shouldn't go into an expensive program like the trade school you had mentioned.  If you start with just one course, it won't rock your world (schedule-wise or budget-wise), and you can take things from there... at some point you'll have a personal level of confidence in your ability to get through a program, and that's the point you should quit your job, and go to school full time.  You're leaving a minimum wage job after all, and with an associate degree or higher, you'll be in more demand and will probably command a higher salary.
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My issue comes down to being able to find some place manageable to be able to afford to live while going back to school, and I'm just not sure how to remedy that in the area I live in.
Another idea - try social media e.g. Facebook - if you get your friends to share your interest in sharing an apartment you might find someone looking for a roommate.  I know a bunch of folks that have found places that way.  (Edit:  I just noticed that Craigslist exists in your area.  It's an excellent resource for shared housing.)
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On another note. What about of debt would you consider to be manageable in my situation though? How much would be too much if I was going back to school full time?
Until you have high confidence that (a) you will be able to finish the degree - so that your investment in tuition etc. has a high chance of payback, and (b) that you are in a program that will pay off when it's finished, $0 debt.
So let's assume (a) and (b).  Let's also assume that you are taking out as little student loan debt as possible and at the lowest possible interest rate(s).  So you need to take into account how much your earnings will increase as a result of the degree, the loan amount, and the interest rate. If you are looking at it from solely a financial perspective, you should ask yourself how much your earnings will increase as a result of the degree.  Apparently a rule of thumb (https://www.bankrate.com/finance/college-finance/how-much-college-debt-is-too-much-1.aspx) is that your debt should not exceed your starting salary after graduation and to be able to pay it off in ten years.
No one has mentioned this yet, so I thought I would mention it.

SCHOLARSHIPS!

It sounds like you have no parents/no parental support or any other support. It sounds like you have had to deal with a debilitating medical condition. It sounds like you are low income and wanting to better your life. You live in the US. There are a TON of scholarships for people in your situation. You don't even have to have good grades for some of these scholarships -- some of them are NEED-based, not merit-based.

So go online, search US scholarships + whatever conditions you have had to overcome (e.g., poverty, having no parents, medical illness, living in a rural area, living in Texas, faith-based, etc.). You may be surprised what comes up.

My point is: Don't pay for your own education if someone else is willing to pay for you. Sure, you may have to apply to several small scholarships, but after a while, you'll find that the applications ask generally the same questions. And every $1000 - $2000 helps!

I had mentioned financial aid, of which scholarships are a significant element, as a source of funds for college once you're looking at attending full time. It's true that there are some which must be separately applied for, but most scholarship applications go through the college's financial aid office.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2018, 08:48:22 PM »
It's one of the reasons I was initially drawn to repairing and fixing computers as a hobby in high school. I wanted to see how everything worked inside of something like that.

My son got an associate degree from  a community college in networking. His initial job was doing something with medical transcription. He now works for a hospital, in their networking dept, and makes 70-80,000/yr.

He worked at the college to help with expenses
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 08:51:23 PM by TheWifeHalf »

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2018, 08:55:46 PM »
No one has mentioned this yet, so I thought I would mention it.

SCHOLARSHIPS!

It sounds like you have no parents/no parental support or any other support. It sounds like you have had to deal with a debilitating medical condition. It sounds like you are low income and wanting to better your life. You live in the US. There are a TON of scholarships for people in your situation. You don't even have to have good grades for some of these scholarships -- some of them are NEED-based, not merit-based.

So go online, search US scholarships + whatever conditions you have had to overcome (e.g., poverty, having no parents, medical illness, living in a rural area, living in Texas, faith-based, etc.). You may be surprised what comes up.

My point is: Don't pay for your own education if someone else is willing to pay for you. Sure, you may have to apply to several small scholarships, but after a while, you'll find that the applications ask generally the same questions. And every $1000 - $2000 helps!

Saw this on tv today:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/college-tuition-why-bill-and-melinda-gates-put-20000-students-through-college/

They are looking for people like you

djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2018, 09:18:10 PM »
Well thanks for all the replies, I think I'm gonna hop off for now as I've got to get ready for work, but I do have an idea of where to start looking and seeing where I'm going to go at this point. I'm gonna try and find out what courses are readily available for me to take at the junior college and the exact cost, maybe I can take one this summer and see how that goes.

What about the old-fashioned ways - bulletin boards at supermarkets? asking coworkers? asking friends/relatives?

As to this, I've looked at the 2 local supermarkets where I shop that do have bulletin boards about 2 weeks ago and none of the ads that were on there were recent, let alone for housing. Most were coupons and the like to shop at different places and some news articles.

Currently I have 2 coworkers that I see on a day to day basis and rarely see anyone else in the company outside of company gatherings which I rarely go to (this is due to me working overnight, I rarely even see my boss).

As far as friends and relatives, most of my friends that I keep in touch with live out of state now or are going to college in larger cities. The few that do stay here I've already asked and they said they'd let me know if they found anything but that they didn't have anywhere that I could stay in the mid/long term. Most of my family is scattered as well, outside of my grandparents there isn't anyone else that I can stay with within about 200 miles and I'm pretty sure most of my family wouldn't take me in for a long period of time either.

But I'm definitely going to keep looking and I'll check craigslist and look again in a couple weeks and see if I can find anything close to the college.

Another idea - try social media e.g. Facebook - if you get your friends to share your interest in sharing an apartment you might find someone looking for a roommate.  I know a bunch of folks that have found places that way.  (Edit:  I just noticed that Craigslist exists in your area.  It's an excellent resource for shared housing.)

I actually don't have a facebook, twitter, snapchat, or any of those things. I never really got into it in high school and I keep up with the few friends I've kept in touch with via texting.

No one has mentioned this yet, so I thought I would mention it.

SCHOLARSHIPS!

It sounds like you have no parents/no parental support or any other support. It sounds like you have had to deal with a debilitating medical condition. It sounds like you are low income and wanting to better your life. You live in the US. There are a TON of scholarships for people in your situation. You don't even have to have good grades for some of these scholarships -- some of them are NEED-based, not merit-based.

So go online, search US scholarships + whatever conditions you have had to overcome (e.g., poverty, having no parents, medical illness, living in a rural area, living in Texas, faith-based, etc.). You may be surprised what comes up.

My point is: Don't pay for your own education if someone else is willing to pay for you. Sure, you may have to apply to several small scholarships, but after a while, you'll find that the applications ask generally the same questions. And every $1000 - $2000 helps!


I've tried applied for financial aid before whenever I came out of high school and got denied for pretty much everything, but a lot has changed since I applied, especially regarding my family and parents so who knows. I'll definitely look again and see what's available and scholarships are something I'm going to be looking into and applying for whenever I can, I'm just not sure what I qualify for and I'll talk to the financial aid officer there at the college.

But thank you all for the replies. They really helped put some things into perspective and I'm gonna see what I can find out. I'll try and update my progress with how I'm doing as I go along and see where everything takes me. I'm hoping I can find some type of apartment/room for rent close to the junior college and go that route as it's a lot closer to the commercial part of town and would make it easier to get to work, school, and home and I could think about selling my vehicle and opting for a cheaper form of transport.

Freedomin5

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2018, 11:16:16 PM »
Look outside of the government/school's financial aid office. That's what I mean...don't go through traditional means because every Tom, Dick, and Jerry will go the easy route and look at the student financial aid website of the college/university.

The financial aid officer doesn't know everything about financial aid. They can probably help with anything that is administered through the university or government, but there are a lot of scholarships out there that not many people know about. There are several Privately-Administered scholarships or external scholarships that don't show up on the financial aid website. They tend to be smaller. Your public library should have a big book of scholarships along with application information/criteria/deadlines. There are also similar websites that aggregate scholarship information -- you'll need to Google it. I did this over 10 years ago when applying for grad school, so I know it exists.

Think outside of the box.


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2018, 05:38:13 AM »
Is the military feasible? Not for everybody of course, but theyíll take care of your health care needs and fund education.

Wayward

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2018, 09:36:20 AM »
I would consider looking to move to a different area in Texas* that may have better opportunities where you can live, work, and go to school nearby ASAP (even if you don't need to move out for 11-12 months).  There are some jobs that pay for college while you work, like UPS or Amazon.  There are also plenty of scholarships and financial aid out there. 

I would also suggest finding 1-3 roommates to keep your living expenses as low as possible.  As for majors, it sounds like you have an interest in Computer Science/IT.  If you donít want a physical labor type job this might be good for you.  Also, look up Data Analyst or Data Scientist or GIS type jobs, they make a great salary!  As for the car, that depends on where you end up.  Preferably, move somewhere you are close enough to work and school that you can bike and get rid of the car completely.  If that's not possible, then get rid of the car and use the left over money to buy a cheap, reliable car with cash (Toyota Prius or Corolla, Honda Fit or Civic, etc).

The military is also a great option Reserve or Active Duty if, of course, your medical conditions allow. 

* Or even a different State if you want, the point is donít be stuck on continuing to live in your current area.  Once you move out you will have a lot more freedom, push your limits, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  You will make mistakes, but they will make you stronger, donít be afraid to pursue your dreams.  Time is on your side, do not give or take any excuses.

I really wish you the best of luck, itís wonderful you found the FIRE community so young!

https://www.jobs-ups.com/earn-and-learn
https://www.amazoncareerchoice.com/home

djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2018, 09:56:13 AM »
Look outside of the government/school's financial aid office. That's what I mean...don't go through traditional means because every Tom, Dick, and Jerry will go the easy route and look at the student financial aid website of the college/university.

The financial aid officer doesn't know everything about financial aid. They can probably help with anything that is administered through the university or government, but there are a lot of scholarships out there that not many people know about. There are several Privately-Administered scholarships or external scholarships that don't show up on the financial aid website. They tend to be smaller. Your public library should have a big book of scholarships along with application information/criteria/deadlines. There are also similar websites that aggregate scholarship information -- you'll need to Google it. I did this over 10 years ago when applying for grad school, so I know it exists.

Think outside of the box.

I plan on looking online a lot as well and seeing what I can apply for through any avenues regardless of what path I do decide to take. I know that I really will need all the help I can get.

Is the military feasible? Not for everybody of course, but theyíll take care of your health care needs and fund education.

Due to my pre-existing medical conditions and the fact that I've had to have surgery twice in my joints they won't let me join. I'm not eligible for active duty or reserves.

I would consider looking to move to a different area in Texas* that may have better opportunities where you can live, work, and go to school nearby ASAP (even if you don't need to move out for 11-12 months).  There are some jobs that pay for college while you work, like UPS or Amazon.  There are also plenty of scholarships and financial aid out there. 

That's something I was considering whenever I first started really looking at my options. I'm just not sure where it would be feasible for me to move to. I'd love to go over close to Austin as the community colleges there are cheaper than the junior college here and they have several more programs that fit more in line with what I would want to do. It's just that I'm not sure how much more it would cost for me to live there. I'll have to look into it.

Quote
I would also suggest finding 1-3 roommates to keep your living expenses as low as possible.  As for majors, it sounds like you have an interest in Computer Science/IT.  If you donít want a physical labor type job this might be good for you.  Also, look up Data Analyst or Data Scientist or GIS type jobs, they make a great salary!  As for the car, that depends on where you end up.  Preferably, move somewhere you are close enough to work and school that you can bike and get rid of the car completely.  If that's not possible, then get rid of the car and use the left over money to buy a cheap, reliable car with cash (Toyota Prius or Corolla, Honda Fit or Civic, etc).

If I do end up needing a car I'm hoping to sell mine and buy a civic or a corolla. I've driven both before and I really enjoy the both of them, especially the gas mileage. But I think I might start exploring the option of moving and looking to see if there are any rooms available that are near the community colleges there in Austin. I'll just have to try to budget everything out and see what's available to me and also look and see what job opportunities there are.

Quote
The military is also a great option Reserve or Active Duty if, of course, your medical conditions allow. 

The 2 surgeries I've had disqualify me, otherwise this would have been a much easier option for me.

Quote
* Or even a different State if you want, the point is donít be stuck on continuing to live in your current area.  Once you move out you will have a lot more freedom, push your limits, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  You will make mistakes, but they will make you stronger, donít be afraid to pursue your dreams.  Time is on your side, do not give or take any excuses.

I really wish you the best of luck, itís wonderful you found the FIRE community so young!

https://www.jobs-ups.com/earn-and-learn
https://www.amazoncareerchoice.com/home


I'm glad I found it as well. My mother had always told me that I needed to have a plan together and after I got sick everything just kind of fell apart, so now I'm trying to get back on track, I just needed a little help with some ideas and getting started. So really, thank you all for the advice, and I'll see about what jobs are available in that area and keep my options open, if it seems like the better option of the two then I will definitely consider moving to a larger city.

Spiffy

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2018, 11:00:53 AM »
Everywhere close to Austin has gotten so expensive. If you are going to move anyway, maybe try a different location. I am in Waco and we have MCC and TSTC. Living is still pretty cheap near both of those campuses (despite Fixer Upper nonsense) with lots of cheap apartments being shared by students. May be something to check out? Good Luck to you. Without helpful families, it must be so hard to get a start in life. Thanks again Mom and Dad!


Lady SA

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2018, 11:55:18 AM »

If I do end up needing a car I'm hoping to sell mine and buy a civic or a corolla. I've driven both before and I really enjoy the both of them, especially the gas mileage. But I think I might start exploring the option of moving and looking to see if there are any rooms available that are near the community colleges there in Austin. I'll just have to try to budget everything out and see what's available to me and also look and see what job opportunities there are.


Everyone else has the job situation well covered. I just wanted to ask, what is stopping you from selling your car right now? You'll get $3-4k out of it (sell for $9k, pay back the $5k you owe), which is more than enough to buy a used corolla, and then you wont have the monthly car payment anymore which will enable you to save more each month. It would give you some much needed breathing room, and then in a year when you move out, you'll have built a solid cash cushion to get you through moving and pay for a few classes.

djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2018, 12:07:42 PM »
Everywhere close to Austin has gotten so expensive. If you are going to move anyway, maybe try a different location. I am in Waco and we have MCC and TSTC. Living is still pretty cheap near both of those campuses (despite Fixer Upper nonsense) with lots of cheap apartments being shared by students. May be something to check out? Good Luck to you. Without helpful families, it must be so hard to get a start in life. Thanks again Mom and Dad!

I'll check out Waco as well, I only mention Austin because I wouldn't need a vehicle and could take public transportation or bike the distance rather than needing a vehicle, thus saving me the expense of buying a vehicle outright and the insurance. I'd have to see how it would be down in Waco.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/

My only issue here is that a lot of the jobs listed either require certifications, or ones you would obtain on the job, and for those they're very physically demanding work (which in my current condition is not something I can readily do for long periods of time). And the others that aren't directly tied into heavy physical labor are very 'creative' jobs which require a lot of dedication to the work and the process and you need to enjoy it. But I'll keep those tabbed if I need something to fall back on if all else fails. Thanks for the links.


If I do end up needing a car I'm hoping to sell mine and buy a civic or a corolla. I've driven both before and I really enjoy the both of them, especially the gas mileage. But I think I might start exploring the option of moving and looking to see if there are any rooms available that are near the community colleges there in Austin. I'll just have to try to budget everything out and see what's available to me and also look and see what job opportunities there are.


Everyone else has the job situation well covered. I just wanted to ask, what is stopping you from selling your car right now? You'll get $3-4k out of it (sell for $9k, pay back the $5k you owe), which is more than enough to buy a used corolla, and then you wont have the monthly car payment anymore which will enable you to save more each month. It would give you some much needed breathing room, and then in a year when you move out, you'll have built a solid cash cushion to get you through moving and pay for a few classes.

I've had my car listed for about a month now at 9.5k with the price negotiable with no replies, cars don't sell very well near me unless they're coming out of a dealership and even then all I would get for selling it there would be around 7k which isn't worth it at all. I'm gonna try listing it on a few online selling services and see if anyone replies there. I've just had it posted to craigslist and told pretty much everyone I know that I want to sell it.

MudDuck

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2018, 12:21:50 PM »
Why do your grandparents want you to leave?

I'm wondering if it is because they feel you are dependent for no reason. If that is the cause of them asking you to leave next year, would they feel differently if you were enrolled in a college or training program?

And along those lines, could you work out some arrangement where you're contributing to the household an amount that is less than you'd need to live on your own but more than the $0/month you're paying now?

djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2018, 12:41:19 PM »
Why do your grandparents want you to leave?

I'm wondering if it is because they feel you are dependent for no reason. If that is the cause of them asking you to leave next year, would they feel differently if you were enrolled in a college or training program?

And along those lines, could you work out some arrangement where you're contributing to the household an amount that is less than you'd need to live on your own but more than the $0/month you're paying now?

Because as of right now I'm sleeping on their couch and they have people coming over regularly. So they don't want me to stay in the house since that's the only room I can sleep in. I don't have a super great relationship with them or any of my family really. As to me being enrolled in courses, they honestly really didn't care. I had offered to pay rent, told them my plans to go enroll in some type of courses, and talked with them about any other alternatives and they were completely adamant about me leaving next year in April/May.

They've just let me stay for 2 reasons which are:
1. Me being in and out of the hospital for a time and having surgery.
2. My mother asked them to look after me until I was 'back on my feet' before she passed away and they decided that meant a year after I'd been cleared by the doctor which will be next May.

haflander

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2018, 12:57:05 PM »
Plenty of cheap community colleges around Dallas. You'd have to find roommates as others have mentioned. Rent would not be cheap but it would be better than Austin. You may or may not be able to find cheap apts around campus because the suburbs are sprawling, so you'd be more likely to need a car. My lease is up in December btw...ya never know ;) The ones in my area that I'm familiar with are NCTC (took a few summer classes here), Northlake, CCCC, Brookhaven.

Kwill

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2018, 01:19:16 PM »
I can touch type, and I think the last time I took a test I was at around 100 words per minute. It definitely could have fallen off some since then as I haven't been required to do much copy work or extensive typing where I'm at now. I could definitely use a touch up on my grammar, spelling, etc. I know that I've gotten pretty lax with it lately.

Typing quickly is a real skill, especially if you are also comfortable with office software and computers. Most people are doing well to get 50 words per minute. Are there any temp agencies in your town? It was many years ago now, but I worked via a temp agency in my parents' small town. They tested my typing speed and gave me a test to make sure that I could use Microsoft Office and so forth. They placed me in a part-time job at a college there, which I had for about five months. I think that helped me get my next job.

djxt3546

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2018, 01:29:26 PM »
Plenty of cheap community colleges around Dallas. You'd have to find roommates as others have mentioned. Rent would not be cheap but it would be better than Austin. You may or may not be able to find cheap apts around campus because the suburbs are sprawling, so you'd be more likely to need a car. My lease is up in December btw...ya never know ;) The ones in my area that I'm familiar with are NCTC (took a few summer classes here), Northlake, CCCC, Brookhaven.

Yeah, I'll just have to look around and see what I can find in different cities and see what's available. I plan on pricing out all my options before making any major decisions and going with the one that makes the most sense economically.

I can touch type, and I think the last time I took a test I was at around 100 words per minute. It definitely could have fallen off some since then as I haven't been required to do much copy work or extensive typing where I'm at now. I could definitely use a touch up on my grammar, spelling, etc. I know that I've gotten pretty lax with it lately.

Typing quickly is a real skill, especially if you are also comfortable with office software and computers. Most people are doing well to get 50 words per minute. Are there any temp agencies in your town? It was many years ago now, but I worked via a temp agency in my parents' small town. They tested my typing speed and gave me a test to make sure that I could use Microsoft Office and so forth. They placed me in a part-time job at a college there, which I had for about five months. I think that helped me get my next job.

As far as I know there aren't any (outside of this one I know of that directly works with some of the oil/maintenance companies in the area), and I've looked through almost every job posting in the area and called a few places I thought might be hiring but hadn't posted anything. The only jobs in my town that even remotely relate to using office/typing skills are ones in banks, and all the current openings I found required around 2-3 years experience in the field, they said they wouldn't even consider me without at least 1 year.

With that being said, it's seeming like more and more of a smarter option to look elsewhere for school/housing/employment as there aren't all that many opportunities where I live.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 01:31:01 PM by djxt3546 »

historienne

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2018, 09:08:46 AM »
Have you gone through the process of filling out a FAFSA and seeing if you are eligible for Pell Grant funding?  If you are thinking about education, that should be one of your first steps.  You mentioned that your mother passed away.  Is your father alive?  If so, you may need information from his tax returns, or evidence that someone else has been assigned as your legal guardian.  Your situation is somewhat non-standard, but there's probably someone at the junior college who can help walk you through it.

life_travel

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2018, 05:59:54 PM »
You are doing great giving the circumstances , don't despair , you have a long life ahead of you to get things better.
I'm not even from USA so I can't give you a specific advice BUT to me it feels like your best bet will be moving to a bigger city with more job opportunities, study options , people to meet , etc.

Would you qualify for any unemployment benefits , disability payments , anything like that if you move and don't have a job straight away ?
As to being unfit . Start walking as much as you can. Seriously . It's free unlike gym and can be done while you do your normal errands. It will be hard at first but keep doing it. It doesn't have to be all or nothing either , you can drive your car part way , park and walk and increase that difference over time.









koshtra

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2018, 08:21:58 PM »
I would really, really urge you to find a way to do without a car. I know transit is really crappy in much of Texas, but there's always some kind of transit running to colleges and usually at least near workplaces -- the trick is to find a place to live that's close to the line. I know you're not up to tons of walking yet, but if you pay attention to where the lines are when you're finding a place to live, you can make even an infrequent line work for you.

Cars just destroy the "get off the ground" phase of building yourself up financially. They'll eat you up. And of course, if you chose a place to live where you *need* a car to get to work, or to school, or to buy groceries -- then you're stuck, paying your 50 cents per mile total operating cost (or whatever it is -- it'll be something like that) every damn time you do anything at all.

Living without a car means planning ahead, but that's a plus, not a minus :-)

Kwill

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2018, 02:20:20 AM »
Are there any temp agencies in your town?

As far as I know there aren't any (outside of this one I know of that directly works with some of the oil/maintenance companies in the area), and I've looked through almost every job posting in the area and called a few places I thought might be hiring but hadn't posted anything. . . .

With that being said, it's seeming like more and more of a smarter option to look elsewhere for school/housing/employment as there aren't all that many opportunities where I live.

If I were you, I would go ahead and talk to the temp agency that works for the oil companies. Let them know you are exploring career paths and looking to gain work experience. Big companies tend to need lots of different people in lots of different roles. They may not worry so much about experience for temporary positions if they are in a pinch and need someone at short notice.

That said, I wouldn't quit the main job for a temp job. I don't know how feasible it would be for you to try out a daytime job while you are working overnight, even part-time for a couple weeks. Do you get to rest at all in the overnight job?

Editing to add: I forgot I meant to say that, yes, relocating sounds like a good plan long term, especially since you need to move anyway. But it would be good if you could get a little more work experience and confidence and sense of direction before you relocate.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 02:54:45 AM by Kwill »

Villanelle

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Re: Not Sure How to Proceed With my Future
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2018, 02:31:01 AM »
Plenty of people recommending college.  Since there isn't something specific you want to do, from the sound of it, I'm not sure that's the best option.  It is expensive, doesn't guarantee a great job, and takes abotu 4 years.  In your shoes, I would look in to some sort of trade.  Ironworking, plumbing, electric work, construction, etc.  Here's just one article about the lack of skilled tradespeople. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/04/25/605092520/high-paying-trade-jobs-sit-empty-while-high-school-grads-line-up-for-university

Generally, the biggest downfall of these types of job is their physicality.  Doing them until you are 60 can be rough.  However, since you are on this site, I assume you intend to retire before then, so it is far less of an issue. 

I'd look for a program willing to take you and move just about anywhere to get started.