Tags: college

Sierra the Shinobi

(no subject)

So I've decided to attend UW-Madison. I believe that often times you get what you pay for and that every bit of money that I put into that prestigous degree will pay me back after graduation. I've also decided that I can afford to live on my own if my mother goes back on her offer. I'm thinking that there's a possibility that she will because she is really reluctant to move.

So even though apartments in Madison are outrageously priced, I did find a few decent looking apartment complexes. All of the buildings were less than 20 minutes from UW-Madison, and all of the buildings were on the bus line, so I wouldn't hav eto use my car often. All of the buildings included at least, air conditioning, water, sewage and trash disposal in the cost of the rent, but my favorite was $620 for a one bedroom apartment, but all of the amenities were included. These are the types of deals that I am aiming for. If you're interested, here's the math:

First, I would need a new job...
With my new job, I would expect to "work" 30 hours per week. 25 hours would be spent massaging, the other 5 hours/week are hours that I spend on break. If I am paid a gross amount of $30/hour massage, I can expect to take at least $25/hour massage home after taxes. That's $625/week -or- $1,250/pay period -or-$2,500 month net pay, not including tips. I expect to haul in roughly $500/month in tips, give or take. This is far from impossible working as a massage therapist, unless of course one works for Massage Envy =:( My income would looks like this:

  • 25 hrs/wk hands on
  • $25/hr net pay
  • $625/wk
  • $1250/pay period
  • $2500/mo.
  • --------------------------->$500/month in tips???

Continuing, these are my regular bills. I think that I got them all listed here except for the cell phone bill which is covered by my mom under the Family Plan. I tried to over estimate rather than underestimate what I will have to pay. This is what I have come up with:

Bill------------------Cost---------Total---------What's left of my paycheck
car payments------$200
car insurance-----$100

Parent Plus-------$100
Lakeside loans----$300
School savings----$250----------$700----------$1300

  • $4000 /semester; this is roughly what it will cost me to attend Madison each semester
  • -$3000 from financial aid; I can milk both FAFSA and Parent plus for $3000, or $1500 each.
  • $1000 /semester; this is what I have left to pay out of pocket after financial aid kicks in.
  • $250 /month; a semster is roughly four months. $1000/4 months=$250/month that I need to save.


savings-----------$200 plus tips

If there's no error in my math, I would have $1000 left to live on after I pay for my regular bills and tuition. I can either find a place with a room mate, or find my own place.

RENT (in general w/ a room mate)
utilities-----$200 (I'd have as many included as possible)
$700; $1000-$700=$300 left over every month, not including tips.
* With the extra money, I could put more towards tuition, rent, food, savings, etc. or I could cut back on the hours that I work per month to help free up time for studies.

RENT (at my favorite location w/o a room mate)
utilities-----all included
$720; $1000-$720=$280 left over every month, not including tips.
* Looks like I could still afford to live off campus. This would allow me more space and more freedom.

So that's that.
Sierra the Shinobi

The educational dilemma

As a small recap, I have recently been accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the state’s premiere university. I now have to choose between attending UW-Madison or UW-Milwaukee. If my decision were based on the quality of education alone, the decision would be simple. It’s no mystery as to which school offers a better education: that would be UW-Madison. As you probably already know, I plan on studying International Relations with a focus on Politics (as opposed to a focus on economics) as well as Chinese language and culture. I can get a PhD in Chinese at Madison where as I can only get a certificate in general Asian Studies coupled with Chinese language from Milwaukee. The language classes at Milwaukee aren't even as intense as the classes at Madison. What the hell?

Unfortunately for me, the decision is not that easy. Though Madison is somewhat more expensive than Milwaukee, it is not out of my price range - or at least it isn‘t until one considers that the extra cost of living on campus coupled with the price of a meal plan at Madison would run me a couple thousand more in tuition per semester, where as these things would be free to me if I attended Milwaukee. This would firmly place Madison out of my price range, which would also quickly make my decision as to which university to attend.

Things however are not this simple. The reason that room and board and a meal plan would be free to me if I attended UW-Milwaukee is that my mom would move to the Milwaukee area, and I would live at home instead of on campus. My mom wouldn’t be moving just for me though. Her family lives out that way, and now her oldest daughter/my sister lives in Milwaukee too. This is where things get tricky: recently, my mom said that she’d be willing to move closer to Madison if I chose to attend that school. I don’t think that it is right for her to move in the opposite direction of every one who she knows just for one daughter, and I would feel guilty when she quickly became lonely to say the least. However, her moving towards Madison would make it possible for me to live at home, in which case I could afford the better education. Besides, even my mom will admit that no one really comes from Milwaukee to visit us anyway, and we’d only be moving thirty minutes further away from the MKE than we are now. That would be an hour and fifteen minute drive versus a forty five minute dive to Milwaukee.

My mom’s really pressuring me to give Milwaukee a chance, and believe me, I am. I’m trying to consider both schools, pros and cons. To encourage me to choose Milwaukee so that she won't "have to" move towards Madison, my mom keeps saying really depressingly desperate things like, “The mayor is trying to get more Chinese business to come to Milwaukee,” and “I’m sure that Milwaukee will get a lot more classes soon. I bet that they will over haul their program so that it will rival Madison’s! Just give them a chance, you will see.”

Her saying these kinds of things makes me slightly disheartened about the possibility of attending UW-Milwaukee. First off, business is leaving Milwaukee. Second of all, the last time Milwaukee tried to improve their education system, they tried to add a nursing school, but Madison took it. Even if Milwaukee were to randomly choose to over haul their Chinese education out of all of the other educational opportunities and programs available for remodeling, I’m sure that it would take at least a few hundred thousand dollars that the UW system doesn’t have. Even if they were to pursue such a thing, it would take years. I’d already have graduated by the time anything happened, and besides, I don’t think that Milwaukee has it in them to rival Madison in anything anyway. Hell, Milwaukee’s known as “The Brew City,” with more bars per square city block than other city in the US and they can’t even rival Madison (“The Mad City”) as a drunken party school. Furthermore, most of the breweries aren’t even left in Milwaukee; they sold them to South Africa. There goes some more business. Now do you see what I mean by “depressingly desperate” and “disheartened”?

I’m not sure what to do, though I feel like the decision should be so simple. Do I tell my mom to move just for me so that I can pursue the better education? Do I attend Milwaukee whose over all education isn’t horrible, just vastly inferior, especially as far as Chinese is concerned because it makes things easier on the family? I realize that most parents wouldn’t relocate for their kid’s education, so I am completely at my mom’s mercy on this one, and I can’t be anything but grateful that she is even considering moving to help me…but I know that she doesn’t really want to move (though she’s offered to move), and I’m not sure that I should suggest to her that she do so. I'm not sure what to do...