Project Montana: What’s next, Universe?

John Muir - quote about mountains and nature

I had been calling this “Project Leave Chicago” for a while now. But that name doesn’t really fit any more. Previously, it’d been about wanting something more for my life — something I wasn’t sure I could find in Chicago. I need a change. But now it seems like I have some direction. That the universe has said, well, here ya go. So, thus, Project Montana.

I left a lot of this up to chance. Applying to MSU on a whim. I got accepted and moved up to the next hurdle: tuition. And then I got my financial aid award. With that award, I also got the information that I could receive the full amount and still only take 6 credits — which was something I had been considering because 1) I haven’t been a student since 2007*, and 2) if I only take 6 credits per term for my first 12 months, I can apply for a change of residential status which would cut my tuition costs in half. So there’s another couple hurdles out of the way.

And then it hit me. This is all extremely possible.

My next hurdles are simply: getting myself, my cats, and my belongings out to Montana, and finding a place to live once I’m there. (And possibly getting a car if campus and groceries aren’t within walking distance — which thanks to 7 years in Chicago, walking distance is something I’m prepared for.)

The problem with these next hurdles is that since being laid off last summer, I’ve yet to find full time employment and thus haven’t been able to save any money. Now, granted, if I had found full time employment, maybe I wouldn’t have even stumbled across MSU. I wouldn’t have applied. I wouldn’t be in this situation. But I am. And I won’t be able to afford the means to get over those hurdles until a week before classes start.

I’ve asked my parents for help, but in all honesty, I’m not sure they’re in a place to do so. I love them dearly, but they’ve all got a lot on their plate too. So I’m back to yelling at the universe. “OK. You’ve gotten my this far. What are we going to do next?”

A moving van. An apartment. My own means of transportation. That’s what stands between me and this dream. I’ve got 24 days to accept my financial aid offer. I have no idea how it’s going to happen. I just know it’s obtainable.

*So technically I was a student for the writing courses I took, and as well at the portfolio school.. but it wasn’t rigorous academics like this will be.

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