If anyone can help me with words of wisdom I would greatly appreciate it. I’ll try to be quick.
I’m a recovering cancer patient set to go to school full-time next month. I’m pursuing a civil engineering degree.
I’m also a single mom, mid-20s, living at home with my parents. For the past three years I haven’t been able to work mostly due to cancer treatments. I’m now on a clinical trial that seems to be keeping my health under control.
It appears I will not have enough money to cover all my bills and expenses throughout the semester. My parents will be able to help financially but I suspect it will be at least somewhat of a burden to them. I don’t want to get help from the government. Last time I relied on social security (SSI) there was some miscommunication on their part and now I find myself paying them money each month. I just think the government can be too much of a hassle at times, but perhaps I’m being too prideful.
I guess my question is, would it be imprudent for me to try getting a part time job? Even working about 15 hours a week would help a great deal with my finances. I just fear I may not be able to handle working, going to school, and taking care of two children all at once. One child will be in full-time kindergarten, the other will be in preschool at least part time.
I am considering doing freelance (writing) work as well.
My parents think I should just focus on school but I feel very uneasy about not having enough money to get by.
I would do whatever is least stressful for you. If you will be unable to sleep because you are worried about money, then maybe you should get a job or try social security again. If you get ten new gray hairs whenever you just think the words ‘social security’, however, then maybe just rely on your parents or get a job. If a job exhaust you beyond any known description of exhaustion, then don’t get one and go with the other options. Main point: avoid stress, because as a recovering cancer patient you can’t afford it.
Also, before you get a job, check if it will affect your FAFSA and consequent grants. You don’t want to get a job and then find out your financial aid is negatively affected. Maybe they can put you on a work-study job to help you out.
Also, I used to get part-time work at my school, like during registration, and helping disabled students through the health clinic place. That sort of work might be more helpful because they’ll be more understanding of your being a student.
Just reading your post made me tire, there is so much going on there! Single parent, cancer survivor and now a student!
My gut instinct is that you have too much going on right now. From a very practical point I would suggest part time work and a reduced school load. If you are honestly eligible for some type of aid I would take it.
Your desire for independence is admirable. Don’t let it drive you into biting off more that necessary.
Look into grants & scholarships. Student loans can get tricky when its time to pay them back. Don’t borrow a cent more than you have to. Talk to a financial aid counselor at your school.
Although it was more than 20 years ago I was in your shoes, minus the cancer, raising kids on my own, and needing an education. I took advantage of every program I could to make it through with as little debt as possible. I graduated three years later with only $10,000 in student loan debt. I did work study, was able to find a paid internship and lived as frugle as I could. I would have lived with my parents if we had lived in the same state.
The fact that your parents suggest you concentrate on school for now is an encouraging sign. I agree with them and the other posters that you should try a semester first, then re-evaluate if you have time, self-discipline, and physical strength for a part-time job.
Don’t get me wrong, I worked in college and I love your passion to do the same … but I didn’t have either cancer or children. Cancer treatments kill off some of the good cells to get to the bad cells. If it turns out that you tire easily, you haven’t overextended yourself, but if you don’t tire easily, then you can always take on more later. I expect the little ones will take up a bit of time too.
You didn’t mention life insurance. I would recommend some coverage so that your parents would be repaid, your children would be provided for. Alternately, enough that they could combine the two goals if you choose your parents to care for their grandchildren. Yes, it won’t be as cheap as it would have been for someone who has never had cancer, but it’s still a smart move. You just need a good agent. I think it also will be a relief to your parents, and will reassure them that helping you won’t ruin them.
Also, as much as I dislike lawyers who advertise, you might look for one who handles Social Security matters. Maybe they can straighten out this mess for you. Some of them claim you’ll pay them nothing unless you win.
Yes about the life insurance. I have often heard that there are small policies available without screening. They’re not a good deal for a non-cancer survivor, but it might provide a little extra security. (Don’t overpay, of course.)
Thank you all so much for your suggestions. It helped to put things in a clearer perspective.
I’m getting a couple grants plus student loans and will be able to use some of the loans to help pay some of my bills and expenses. I don’t want to drop below full-time status because then the grants will be pro-rated and I’ll get even less money.
After looking at numbers and options again, things are starting to look a little better. I’m looking into assistance for my daughter’s preschool costs and will look into other forms of assistance as needed.
I prayed about social security and feel that God wants me to hold off but I’ll continue to keep an open mind. One of my biggest monthly bills will be paid off by December so I at least have that to look forward to as well
I haven’t thought about life insurance (truth be told I don’t know much about it) but I’ll read up about it and discuss it with my parents.
I think I worked myself up into a mental/emotional frenzy yesterday :o but thank you all again for your help. I’m gaining more faith and confidence in God’s plan, slowly but surely
While I wasn’t fighting cancer (my goodness, that is something to go through!) I did find out I was expecting my third child only a couple of months after I started my first semester in a Major I had been dreaming of getting into.
Then my husband was laid off.
I was totally beside myself with grief and worry.
It took awhile to get my head screwed back on and just accept God’s will.
We haven’t given up…we just got more creative and persistent when it came to bringing in income and making tough decisions when it came to childcare.
I told my midwife everything and she basically said…“You can do this, just don’t give up!”
I won’t give up and I hope you don’t too!
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