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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

School choices and dogsitting

I'm still wrestling with school, although it's in the background a bit now.  I'm trying to decide if I want to take a full degree program, or just a few classes to get me up to speed.  Both have their pros and cons, and I'm gonna lay them out here.  I'm going to create my first HTML tables, and we'll see how I do, lol.  They're more complex than images or links or lists, so I'm hoping to get them right, but we'll see.

Pros and Cons of Going Back to School for a Degree
I'll have a degree, which will make it easier to get a job>It takes longer than just taking a few classes, and will keep me out of the job market for longer.
It will give me a larger base of knowledge than just a few classes.If I start a degree problem, and don't finish, it looks bad.
It makes more jobs available to me than just a few classes would.It may make me over qualified for what I want to do, making it harder to get a job.
It proves to employers I can handle the longer haul, and I'm not just there for the short term
I get coop experience, which helps employers see that I'm qualified for whatever job I apply for.It's more expensive than just taking a few classes, so I'll owe more.
Job placement assistance is available to me.
Pros and Cons of Going Back to School for a Few Classes Only
It lets employers know I can handle the structure of a work environment after being on disability for such a long time.I don't have a degree at the end of my education.
It gives me a good background in Help Desk functions, which makes training me easier. Not finishing a degree program could leave employers to wonder if I can truly hack it over the long haul.
It's cheaper than a full degree programIt gives no coop experience.
There is no job placement assistance without a degree program.

If you can think of anything I've not thought of, please feel free to enter it in the comments section. I'm aware that I'm not the best critical thinker, and therefore may have missed something important. Thanks for everyone who leaves a comment (even if it's just an opinion on what I should do). I welcome your thoughts, especially when I'm struggling with such an issue.

I have some dogsitting coming up too. My brother is going up to his parents-in-law's place for the weekend (with Amy, of course), and then the next weekend, they're going up to the parents' farm so Amy can spend some time with a childhood friend who's home from Arizona for a short vacation. I'm not sure which weekends they are though. I know there are two of them, but when I can't remember. I have the dates written down... Somewhere. So that'll be fun, and lots of stitching time. Maybe even a walk, if the weather cools down enough. We'll have to see how it goes. Today wasn't too bad. It got up to eighty nine outside, but in here it was much cooler. I'm not sure why. I had the AC on last night while I was in here, but I turned it off when I went to bed. It's just now starting to creep up a little bit in here. According to Google's weather add on, it's eighty one outside, but I was cooler when it was eighty nine out there. Weird... It's like the heat is just now coming in. Anyways, hope you've all had a good week so far. Happy hump day!! (And pretty please, leave me a comment about my schooling pros and cons. I'd really appreciate it.)


Astrids dragon said...

Wow, that's a big decision to make! How long will the degree program take? Are you sure it's something you want to do "forever"? Maybe taking a few classes will let you know if it is. Can you take some classes that will count as part of the degree program?

Oh boy, something else to think about! Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Claudette497 said...

Well, you know I have an opinion, lol. This isn't either/or. You can take enough classes now to feel good about your skills and get the help desk experience, land a job, and later see if a degree makes any sense. It seems like you're thinking of having one employer, in a 9-5 situation, but you may be happier and make more money freelancing; you control your schedule, if your boss is a jerk it's only for one job and then you drop him or her, and you keep your flexibility with your schedule. If you have the gift with computers, get some schooling but also try putting yourself on craigslist, or on a bulletin board in the laundry room, or wherever, and see what happens - I've had students who were making money just fixing the neighbor's computers - stuff like making the printer connect to the computer and making their recipes format correctly. Small businesses always need people who can make their websites look right and work correctly (in my past life as a tax lady I would get asked to fix a bug on their site, I guess on the principle that hey, I had a laptop) but word of mouth will be more important than a degree for that. I think you're right that a degree could make you overqualified for a lot of positions, and what's a lot worse, you'll lock yourself in for years of education that may or may not be relevant when you finish. And you can't get out of student loan debt; heaven forbid you end up needing to go back on disability, but depending on the kind of disability check you get, they can take a 15% cut until you pay off your loan, and disability isn't famous for letting you live large to start with.

Astrids dragon said...

Oh, I also meant to say - GOOD FOR YOU!!!

mdgtjulie said...

Thanks for the opinions ladies. I may look into that, Claudette. Right now I know just enough to be dangerous. Hopefully, I'll be able to make a decision soon. Or maybe I'll work while in school. You can work part time (really part time) on disability, so we'll see what happens.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I'd advise going for the classes to start with to build your confidence and stamina gradually. You may find a full-time degree is alot harder work than it seems having been out of school for some time.
The "over-qualified" point is worth looking at more, what is the entry-level qualification for the job you want to do?
Also, how easy is it to get into a degree course in the States? In the UK it is very hard unless you study with the Open University at home. To actually GO to a university you have to fill all the applications, get an interview, beat off all the eager 18 year olds and persuade the Uni they really want you on their course!
Claudette makes some good points esp about the loans. Here you have to be earning above a certain amount before repaying it. It would never be taken off your benefits. Don't tell our Government that or they might start doing it LOL.
Good Luck whatever you decide.

rosey175 said...

I'm not sure if it's a pro/con but with a degree, you have to take certain classes for that degree with little choice on your part (other than electives of course). Even if you despise the course, too bad, you must stick through it to achieve the degree. With random classes, you get much more freedom to choose what it is you want to learn.

As for a website for learning HTML, a pretty good one is! I use it for "testing" basic code since it has little boxes where you can type it in and see how it'll look.

Ewa said...

There are, of course, pros and cons but I'll just share my own experience and if that helps then great! If not then just ignore me.

I have three degrees right now. Two bachelors and an associates. I'm also working on my masters. I have found that jobs, even in this market, are really easy for me to find. Granted, I also have work experience, but I don't think I would have been able to get that without my education.

However, you have to decide what's best for you. What kind of job are you looking for? In what field? The only reason I'm going back for my masters is because the work I want to do requires it. I basically cannot get the job I want unless I do the full masters program. It's going to cost me, but it will be worth it to me in the end.

Also consider financial aid options. Is financial aid right for you? Is it a better option than paying it all right away? I chose to pay for my masters program all as it comes without taking out loans because I'm allergic to owing people money and it's something I CAN do, but that's something to consider as well - the full cost vs. the benefit and how you want to handle paying for it.

Hoping I helped and didn't just muddle!

mdgtjulie said...

Thanks Jo. Honestly, for what I want to do, you can basically come in off the streets and they'll train you. However, I think it will be better for me to get the degree as a way to show that I CAN do the job for an extended period. I've never worked anywhere for longer than a year and a half. So I think the degree would help them see I CAN hack it in the long run. Thanks so much for the site, Rosey. I've already found it though, lol. I do a lot of testing on another site too. You can type in your code and it tests it for problems. I've only used it a couple of times, so I don't know what happens if your code isn't right, sorry. You're great, Ewa. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it. I've been thinking about the financial end of it, and I've got several things in the air, so we'll see how it goes...