You’re Good Enough.You’re Smart Enough & Doggone It, People Like You!

Kinda’ corny, I know! Those words are from Al Franken’s alter ego, Stuart Smalley, from Saturday Night Live.

stuart_smalley.jpgTo lighten the mood when I was blubbering and just being a crying fool, those are the words that my husband used to comfort me. I had myself a good ole’ cry; one of the biggest ones that I’ve had in a long time.

The feelings of unworthiness began earlier in the year when I found out that I didn’t get into Teach for America. I didn’t understand why I didn’t get in. I had the perfect success story. I returned to school after a long absence. After which, I excelled in my program, earning straight “A’s”, except for my bible class which I got a C+ in. At the time that I applied, I had a cumulative g.p.a. of 3.6; yet I didn’t make the cut. The one thing that I don’t like about Teach for America is that they don’t respond. They don’t let you know the reason why you didn’t make the cut.

Well, after so many months of feeling unworthy, I finally found out why I didn’t make the cut. I didn’t make the cut because of a simple misunderstanding. (I have to go back and change my older post regarding AmeriCorps. ) I don’t understand how I could have been so wrong! I thought that I could do T.E.A.M.S and Teach for America for two years each for a total of four times. That is incorrect. The total amount is two times.

This is what it breaks down to: If I would not have chosen my current AmeriCorps program, I could have been in Teach for America (TFA). I couldn’t get in because I was already in one AmeriCorps program, which used up half my time that I could participate in AmeriCorps programs. Since a two year commitment is required for Teach for America, I could not have joined.

If I would have known that, I would not have chosen T.E.A.M.S. Don’t get me wrong, T.E.A.M.S is a good program, it’s just that Teach for America offers a little more. They offer a 40% discount on tuition at certain universities; they find you a teaching job and a lot more.

Anyway, I was crying because for my boot camp, there were a couple of TFA people there. I was a little intimidated for a bit because they got in and I didn’t. I was also crying because since I did make the choices that I did, I am not going to be receiving that 40% tuition discount. I have to find my own teaching job… blah, blah, blah. I was basically holding my own pity party. I didn’t need anyone else in attendance- just three people- me, myself, and I. After a little while, I began to say, “Hey, we’re all in this room together, regardless of what program we’re in or not in”.

However, I still felt bad because in one fell swoop, I realized that I will not be getting the $18,900 from AmeriCorps like I thought it was. It is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $9,000. (It would have been more, but it was prorated because I didn’t have all the hours that I needed.) Not only that, but I don’t qualify for the Teacher Forgiveness Loan (TFL) because I’ve received AmeriCorps $$.

What upsets me the most is the fact that I thought that I had done all the research necessary. I read and I read and I read. Yet somehow, I didn’t get an understanding. I misunderstood. How did that happen? How could I have been so wrong? I feel like I’m damned if do and damned if I don’t. But, so I wouldn’t dehydrate myself, I stopped crying, because at this point there’s nothing that I can do about it.

Because I misunderstood, the thing that I was most afraid of happening, is happening. Barring a miracle, I am going to come out of school owing about $45,000 in student loans. Let me see… let’s do the math. It’s not as bad as it sounds though because,-$9,000 for AmeriCorps, and -$19,000 for the A.P.L.E. grant, and -$6000 (@ $3,000/yr. for the next two years) for the L.A.U.S.D. scholarship, that brings the total to about $-$34,000 once everything is said and done. That’s only about $11,000 and some change. Which, when you think about it, is excellent for education at not one, but two private universities.

Now that everything is put into perspective, it’s definitely worth it. I was just being a big fat cheapskate. Well, actually, I thought that it was more until I did the math just now. So now I don’t feel so bad. I’m actually feeling better. I don’t have to begin paying back until the end of 2009. Not bad. Not bad.

There’s a price to pay for everything— $11,000 for two universities is an excellent price to pay for the priceless gift of an education which is an investment in myself.

Now that I know that I could have made it into TFA, I don’t feel so bad because I know that I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone, people like me!