Sunday, May 15, 2011


That's how much my first year loans are going to be -- also can I mention that whenever I think about the amount of money I hear it to the tune of "Seasons of Love" from Rent?

Tuition is only about half of that. The rest of the money covers health insurance (which I am actually declining since it makes more sense to stay on my husband's insurance), technology fee (Duke issues all of its PA students a laptop with preloaded relevant software - I wish I knew what kind though), parking fee, random other fees and - what most of the other money is for - living expenses.

I am going to be poor. It isn't just that I won't have a recurring biweekly income, it is that any money I do have to spend isn't really my money. It is money I have borrowed. Also I will have the kids with me, so I will have 75% of the people in my family on something like 25-30% of what our current income is.

I'm going to take the maximum loan amount for at least the first year. The husband and I are trying to completely split our finances for now since there is a lot of uncertainty about what actual expenses will be for the two different households we will be maintaining. He will continue to pay all of the current bills (mortgage, my car payment, car, home, and health insurance, my cell phone, utilities on the house, etc) but all of the additional expenses that come from the apartment will be from my loans. Of course his food and utility outlay will be significantly less than it is now and our $800 a month daycare costs are going away (hooray!). But at the same time he'll be spending some money on home renovations (who knows how much that is going to end up being!).

After rent I will have around $800 for utilities, gas, food, clothes, and activities for the kids (my dad is contributing enough to the household to cover cable TV and internet. My mother has budgeted more than that, but the remaining money will be for his entertainment and food expenses. Because I already feel incredibly indebted that he's moving with us to begin with, I don't want to also add a financial aspect to the equation.).

It sounds like it should be enough, but I don't know. Our currently monthly food budget is $500 a month, but my husband consumes a big part of that. It is a large apartment so I don't know if my electric bill will be $75 a month or $180. Etc, etc, etc. I guess I will find out how much life actually costs once I get there.

Meanwhile I've been sorting through my and the kids' clothes as a preliminary packing thing and shopping for things for the apartment (I'm striking a balance between saving money for the move and spending money while I still have it). I get the apartment in Mid-July so that I have plenty of time to start moving things before classes ever start, which means I have two months until I deliver my first load of boxes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More of the waiting and some progress

Still in waiting mode :-) 3 months and 1 day until classes start.

The good news is that I officially have an apartment in Hillsborough, NC. I ended up with a 3 bedroom ginormous 1443 sq apartment because they had one available on the first floor (which I absolutely have to have because my dad is living with us). I am leaning towards having my bed and the kids' bunkbed in one bedroom, my dad in the second and having the third bedroom as an office/reading room/quiet place my dad can get away from the kids.

Also, a couple weeks ago I finally sent an email out to the rest of the class so we could introduce ourselves. One person didn't respond but the rest of us all at least now know basic facts about each other. I've learned that Duke really likes PA students with clinical lab experience. I think at least 3 of us currently work in pathology.

I have to get the kids enrolled in school, I should call about that tomorrow-ish. And see about soccer and boyscouts for the fall... Of course I don't know what my schedule will really be like. I know my dad is on board for taking the kids places, but I would like to think I will get to be somewhat involved with their lives as well.

My sister made it through med school and still managed a social life. I think I would be less nervous if our classes weren't all the Duke medical student classes, but until I'm actually in class and can see how the material is presented and tested I think I'll just stay being nervous. I know I did well in my senior science classes, graduate biochemistry, and on the GRE so I should be able to handle this but I just worry because... well, I really want to do well at this.

I know I can gross and do solid dictations, I do that all day at work. So the only thing left to be insecure about is being able to hack the classes. Which are still three months away...