So I really did intend to write more often than this… ugh.  It’s been another month since my last post and here’s what’s new:

I wonder if school will be the death of me…  At the end of October I reached the milestone of 1,000 hours at school, officially halfway done for the students who have to attend for the full 2,000 hours.  Being already licensed as a nail tech I have been given 400 hours worth of credit towards those 2,000 hours, allowing me to graduate after attending just 1,600 hours of school.  The first 1,000 hours were fine, I received the full amount of the Pell Grant and Student Loans.  But apparently, because I’m not attending school for another 1,000 hours I don’t qualify for the full Pell Grant or Student Loans.  I only qualify for 1/4 of the money I would have received if I didn’t have 400 hours credit.

One-fourth of the money for missing less than half the hours, how is that right?

Oh, and did I mention that I have to pay for the full 2,000 hours?  That I don’t get any discount whatsoever for not needing 400 hours of a teacher’s time?  So I’m being charged for 2,000 hours but only receiving financial aid for 1,600 AND I’m getting charged overages at the rate of $6 a hour for every hour it takes me to complete my time after 1680 teacher hours.  I will be close to $1,000 in overages by the time I graduate even though I’m paying for a 2,000 hour contract and won’t come even close to reaching 2,000 hours in the end…

Knowing this ahead of time would have been helpful but oh no, the school owner and newly hired school accountant/financial aid adviser (also a former school owner herself) kept telling me things without knowing what they’re talking about.  When I first questioned the lesser amount to the accountant on Tuesday she said “My mistake, I’ll fix it”.  The next day from the owner it was “Nope, the numbers are right because of your 400 hour credit but if you change your contract and attend for the full 2,000 hours you can get all the money”.  This was Wednesday and I asked to have until Friday to make my choice.  I was so upset that I vented to other students in the break room.  There are cameras throughout the school, I’ve always known that.  What I didn’t know was that the one in the break room and possibly all of them record audio as well.  Everything I said was truthful but I did say it while I was quite unhappy and trying to process everything I had just learned.  We’ll come back to this…

I took the next day off of school to crunch the numbers and see if I can survive off of the smaller amount of financial aid or if I will need to go to school for the extra 400 hours to receive the full amount.  After some mathing I realized that my income will still be short almost $500 a month and I won’t receive enough financial aid to cover that deficit for the next 4 months so therefore I must do the full 2,000 hours to receive the full financial aid benefits.

School is so stressful for me, my depression and anxiety have jumped into overdrive since I started attending there.  After two years of being off of my antidepressant pills I had to go back on them 3 months after starting school and they just don’t seem to be keeping up with my emotional stability needs so deciding to attend an extra 400 hours of school is A Big Deal.  I feel like I’m being forced to chose between having financial peace and my sanity.  But the numbers don’t lie and I just don’t see how I can do it on the fraction of financial aid I was expecting so I accepted that the decision to stay was the best thing for me, I made peace with my choice and made some plans to try and survive the longer time at school.

Today, Friday, I went back to school and asked to change my contract to the full 2,000 hours so that I could have the full financial aid.  The owner and her husband, who had previously handled the financial aid adviser position, sat me down and he explained to me that it wouldn’t make a difference if I went for the full time or not because the government wasn’t going to pay a second time for hours I’ve already done.  “It’s fraud”, he said…  The owner then told me she listened to the recording of me venting to the other students, told me I was “unprofessional” and because I did that she isn’t going to forgive my overage charges that she had agreed to not charge me for when I spoke with her on Wednesday…  I have a feeling that it wouldn’t have matter if I had vented or not, I would still be paying for my overages, it’s just too much money to forgive.

A classmate brought it to my attention that recording anyone without their knowledge and consent is illegal.  Well then.

Recognizing that I am fully and completely screwed and there’s no way they will show me any kind of grace I apologized for being unprofessional and turtled.  The owner then went on to say she could expel me for my outburst in the break room but she “wouldn’t do that to me” and went on for another 10 minutes about how much she wanted to help me graduate and how I deserve it more than anyone else in the school – and then she went on another 10 minutes after that about all the nice things she’s done for other people (both in the school and in the community) and repeated over and over again that if I need financial help to please come to her and ask her for money.

I think I would rather freeze, live out of my car and starve to death first…

I finally escaped her office and felt numb for the rest of the day.  I couldn’t even cry.  I just feel empty.  I’m grateful I can still graduate in early March instead of June but I don’t know how I’ll make all my bills – although God has taken good care of me so far, I know He will continue to provide, I was just hoping to be done with 14-hour school-then-work days but I guess not.

I’ve been advised to take all of this up with the State Cosmetology Board and I probably could do something petty and trivial about the illegal recording but I’m afraid that she will expel me for real and then I would have to move across the state to find the next nearest beauty school to finish my hours.  I’m afraid that it’s best if I just keep my head down and push through until I am done and then approach the Board about her school policies…  we’ll see just how many enemies I want to make after I’ve graduated.

To further complicate things, the beautiful, long-haired, Jesus-looking man at my waitressing job has become an important part of my life (that will be the next post) and his father was admitted to the hospital yesterday and died today.  There’s just so much going on right now.  I really think I’d just like to quit everything and live off of welfare for a few years, no more adulting please, I’m over it…

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