I am deep in the thick of my third semester of coursework that will, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, lead to a doctoral degree in higher education administration. I am a part of a cohort of students who are typically already working in the field and who are part-time students. Some of the cohort are lucky enough that they get some level of tuition remission from their home institutions. I am not so lucky (though my work is very supportive in terms of time off to attend school, which is no small thing) and am, aside from a small scholarship, paying for school myself.
As I type this tonight, I am sitting in a hotel room, where I have decided to camp out for the next two nights in order to get caught up on school work. I have been struggling with procrastination this semester and have not been managing my time well. I keep thinking I’ll get work done at night after the kids go to bed or over my lunch hour at work, but I don’t. So here I am, away from my family for a few nights, up to my intellectual elbows in Victor Turner and liminality. Good times.
When I checked in this afternoon, I had a brief moment of thinking “hmm, this is one of the grad school expenses they never tell you about…” and then I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out what this whole nerdy exercise has cost me so far. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far (I attend a public university):
– tuition: about $12,000
– fees, fees and more damn fees: Nearly $1000, I think? Between online fees and technology fees and “student you are alive and breathing and we charge you for that” fees, it adds up fast.
– books: $700. I’ve lucked out to get some books from folks who are ahead of me in the process. I have paid for a least one book that I never cracked the spine of because I just didn’t get all the reading done. This delights me as much as you might imagine.
– gas, lunches and snacks: $450-500. My program is about a 45 minutes drive away and tends to have classes that meet all day, so I usually end up needing lunch and regular Diet Coke infusions to make it through.
– hotels: $200…so far. I’m anticipating more in this category, especially when it is time to write the dissertation.
– retail and actual therapy: $500..so far. I’ve been struggling with some anxiety lately and have been using a three prong approach (Target, Zulily and trained professionals) to deal with it. It is getting better but I did have to unsubscribe myself from some online shopping websites because I was straying a little far from our budget and entering into the territory where I was concerned I might be spending enough to actually have to have uncomfortable conversations with my husband about the number of boxes arriving in the mail. I don’t like uncomfortable conversations.
– school supplies: $25. I like pretty folders.
I am about halfway through this program so let’s do the math on what the total will be…actually, let’s not. It will just make me want to go to Target.