Talking Numbers

Suddenly, I  feel like I have the headache of planning out my nursing school budget for the next few months. I am starting the four class nursing clinical sequence in the fall. Registration is in a few days and I have to figure out how to pay for the bill. In the past couple of years of schooling, I did not really have to worry about a budget because I chose to take classes slowly.

Taking classes slowly meant that my tuition was covered by the financial aid I received from the federal government student loan program. I pretty much qualified for 9500 each year of school. That was enough to pay for the classes. It was enough because I went to a cheap community college for my science prerequisites. Any leftover bill, I covered by working mostly fulltime and dipping into my savings.

Now that I am starting the first nursing class though, I am a bit nervous about money. The cost of living in the Boston area is high. I don’t think I am going to be able to work full time while taking nursing classes. Plus, I transferred to a new school and my tuition is now higher. The 9500 that I qualify for the year now only cover approximately half of my tuition. So, I am still on the line for books, health insurance which I have to get from the school and other costs of living.

I am choosing to invest in myself to build a career that is rewarding

I have known since I started this journey that this moment would arrive. I have been playing with the nursing school budget numbers in my head for a while. Still, finally sitting down and writing on paper, it is a huge number. I am trying very hard not to become anxious. Every time I look at the nursing school budget number and how much I might have to borrow, I remind myself that this is an investment. I am choosing to invest in myself so that I can build a career that is rewarding.

Sometimes when I ask myself why I chose to go into nursing, I feel ashamed to admit to even myself that I like the fact that it is a growing field with good earning potential. A lot of the nursing conversations we have focuses a lot on how it is a field of service. I personally like to talk about my journey to nursing as a calling.

However, as much as I feel like my transition to nursing is a calling, is it shameful to admit that my earning potential is also important to me? At the age of 31, I am not a naive young person for the most part. I understand that I will greater financial burden as I get older and build a family. I understand that I will have to save for retirement. I understand that I want to have a decent standard of living.

I understand the reality of my financial lifespan. Yet, I still feel ashamed to admit that money is important in this process, including how much money I have to borrow to pay for school. Calling my school’s financial aid office today, I felt nervous. Will she judge me if I ask her about how much money I can borrow?

There is a popular narrative about on tuition and other related expenses that focuses a lot on making sure you don’t borrow money. I get that there is a financial aid crisis and I am trying to be cautious. I don’t graduate with unbearable loan burden. I also don’t want to underestimate my needs so much that I spend the rest of the school year stressed out about money.

The perfect scenario eludes me in this situation. What I do understand is that my goal is to become a registered nurse. I am just not sure what the right price to pay is yet.

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