Friday, July 30, 2010

If You Wait Long Enough . . .

It's funny how sometimes situations have a way of resolving themselves. I asked my ex-husband, "Are you sure your health insurance benefits don't extend for the next 30 days?" He checked and we still have health insurance for the next month - just enough time for everyone to get back to school and switch over to the school policies. Whew!

I am a procrastinator by nature. That is something I am having to fight on a daily basis, especially now that I am a single mom, because if I don't do it, it's not going to get done. I do not advocate waiting in all situations, however, there are some situations in which it is better to wait than to act immediately.

Situations such as financial aid and scholarship deadlines, registration for classes, advisor approvals, taking the GRE, MCAT, GMAT, and other tests, and admission applications are obvious situations where time is of the essence.

I have learned to "trust my gut". Call it "women's intuition", "the leading of the Holy Spirit", etc. There is something inside me that says, "Hmm - hold on just a minute . . ." or "Ask that question again in a couple days." Sometimes, there is wisdom in waiting - to ask the initial question, to ask the question again, to seek the answer. It has been my experience that some situations, when left alone, have a tendency to resolve themselves.

How does one know when to act and when not to act? As a nontrad, the three biggest areas of our lives are: school, family and finances. I need to go back to school to finish/get my degree, but how am I going to pay for it and how much time will it take away from my family? When deciding when to act or not, sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil. Make three columns on the paper. Head one column "school", one column "family" and one column "finances". Take something simple like filling out your FAFSA (which you should have done by now). In the finances column, write "fill out FAFSA". Now, on a scale of 1-5 (1 being the LEAST and 5 being the MOST), determine how great of an impact doing that would have on your schooling and your family. Did you put a "5" in the school column? Your FAFSA determines your financial aid which in turn may determine if you do indeed return to school. A "5" means you act now. If you have money set aside specifically for your education, perhaps it's not going to be a big impact on the health and well-being of your family if you don't get your FAFSA done. However, if your wife is freaking out that you going back to school is going to take money out of the family budget, that's a "5" and you'd better get your FAFSA done now.

Act or wait? Three columns, trust your gut, life experience, wise counsel. What works for you? Stay tuned . . .

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