Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Holy Grail

I think everyone has a Holy Grail that they aspire to get sometime in their lives. Mine just happens to be a piece of paper and acceptance into the Licensed Professional Counselor club. I am a Substance Abuse counselor, not by choice, but by necessity. In 2006 after I graduated from my Master's program at Prescott College I applied for the LAC. They lost my application and money order. I reapplied. They found me deficient. I appealed with all my supporting documentation I could muster. They still found me deficient.

I took out private student loans and took most of the classes that I was deficient in then ran out of money and did not have the heart to re-apply for more private student loans. It was exhausting keeping up with Satan's own lender, working full time, going to classes 2 nights a week for 6 hours a night and doing homework. I also was really irritated with the other students. So I applied for the substance abuse license. I took the test, passed, and got a nice piece of paper with my name and license number on it.

I was satisfied for a time.

So this past fall I made the decision to return to school and get those damned classes I am deficient in. I was accepted into a Doctorate and celebrated.  I now have a major case of sticker shock. The school I was accepted into is charging me $370 per credit hour in fees. I guess this is paying for the fancy new buildings they have built or will build. Who knows! They say its for contracts and supervisors....Maybe, but I don't feel that that is my responsibility to pay their contracts when I am not going to be a part of said contracts and I have my own damned supervisor.

So I went on the hunt for a school that had minimal fees. There are 2 online schools that do, they are CACREP accredited, the tuition is a good price. Yipppe! Then a dear friend of mine slaped some sense into me....She suggested I  sit down and total out the length of time it will take to get this shiny new degree and the Holy Grail. What do I want it to do for me? Where do I think or want it to take me? Is it going to be better than what I have now? Am I going to be moving to another state?

Their programs take 3-4 years to complete, then I apply for the Associate Holy Grail. I then work another 2 years as an associate and then I actually am worthy enough to have my own Professional Holy Grail.  The amount of time it would take just for that is approximately 6 years. It will not help me to move up in the company or in life. Only time and good decisions do that. The Holy Grail itself will give me a 6% increase at work. I don't plan on moving anywhere although I do fantasize about it often.  My life will be no better after this new degree then it is now. Hell, it could be worse...I'd have more debt and perhaps struggle to find a job in the National Health Service Corps.

This brought some clarity to my self imposed crazy making.

I am not 20! I am not a kid anymore. I haven't even really given a real thought to having kids because I never thought I'd stop trying to reach this stupid goal.  Who the hell cares what kind of license I have as long as I have one! I have been practicing as a counselor in a community mental health setting for 6 years. I love what I do even if sometimes the clients scare the bejeezus out of me. I owe a shitton of money to student loans as it is, why on God's green earth do I want to spend more money and time on this when I have a life to live. I am not going to live forever and I don't want to waste my life seeking out this Holy Grail . It is not going to get me the corner office and it sure as hell is not going to get me any closer to paying off my debts I already owe. So I am doing something drastic (for me) I decided to get real and cough up the money every month to pay my student loans debt off and forget about the Doctorate.

I have not ruled out taking those 2 classes and applying to get said Holy Grail one last time . But I am not going to enter into a program and waste another 5-7 years of my life on this craziness. It really is not worth it.

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