Update: July 2nd 2015

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted about school. I’m experiencing a lot of stress, and have been struggling to commit to my blog. However I plan to reboot my state of mind and get back on track…

Today is the first day of my 3rd week this term. That’s what, my 12th week? Including the 1 week break between terms I guess it’s my 13th week at UoPeople. already!

This term so far has been very easy for me. Which is a good thing, because the rest of life has been stressful. I was really hoping that by this time of year I would have figured out what I was going to do for money while in school. My wife and I were also originally expecting to have a little over a year for me to figure everything out.

New events have taken place that have changed the situation.

Let me unjustly summarize life in the last 5 years. My wife was in a car accident over 5 years ago, that has left her suffering from chronic pain and a slew of other issues. Because of her disabilities she is not able to work, and we don’t get compensation until the law suit settles.

2 and a half years ago, we had an unexpected, but welcomed child who we both love very much. Love him as we do, he has still had a very big impact on our lives. My wife is not physically able to care for him for adequate periods of time. When he was 6 months, I lost my job as a CNC operator due to having to take time off work when she almost paralyzed herself lifting our son.

The insurance company then approved for her to have somebody help her take care of our boy while I worked (even though I had already lost my job…). This helped me out when I ended up landing a decent paying job as a labourer for a high-voltage electrical distribution company.

Since the time I started that job – which was last February – my wife has had the support worker taken away, and a few other things taken too. Luckily by the time she lost her help, I was making enough money to afford to pay for full-time daycare. This still left my wife doing way more work than she is physically fit to do though, as I worked on the road during the week, far from my family.

For those who haven’t been following my blog the whole time, I was laid off from my job in January. I had spent the previous 21/2 years or so dedicating a lot of hours towards programming, while working full-time. I was hoping that one day eventually I would have accumulated enough skills to get a job as a developer (don’t even care what kind).

When I got laid off I thought it might be a good idea to look into school. I came across UoPeople during my research and applied! My other option was to enroll in a program called Programmer Analyst at a local collage.

Obviously I’m much more excited about getting a degree than a diploma, but I’m fearful of what our living standards are going to be like. If I would have gone through with the collage program I would have already found out whether or not I’m approved for student loans to help me while in school. But since I went with a distance education institution, I’m still waiting. It could still be the case that I don’t get approved.

I’m scared about what kind of job I might have to work, because;

  1.  I don’t want to be doing something that isn’t inline with what I’m going to school for.
  2. I don’t want to end up working so many hours to make ends meet that I don’t have the time to keep up with my school/personal studies.
  3. I don’t want to repeat the same crap I’ve been through.

I’ve gotten stuck in the trap of 60+ hour weeks enough already and I can’t imagine adding 30-40 hours of school to that, and trying to be a good husband and father on top of it all.

All of this is only part of the stresses in my life right now. I have no time to see my friends or family as often as I wish I could, and I’ve been secretly battling depression since my lay off. I’ve worked so many different jobs, not because I meant to, but because everywhere I work ends up laying people off, and I’m always at the bottom of the seniority list.

I keep getting jobs, and meeting new people, getting close with them, working as hard as I can to prove myself… and then I get canned.

The last lay off affected me badly, because I really loved the people I was working with, and the job gave me a lot of purpose and confidence. Although my dream job at the time was to be involved in Computer Sciences, I still really, really enjoyed what I was doing. I was proud of my work, and proud of the guys I got to work with. I also thought becoming an electrician would lead to so many things related to CS, and it certainly would have. Such as SCADA, fiber optics, electronics and electrical engineering etc. But again, I got canned.

It’s hard to live day to day with no real job security. I can’t even plan for retirement because I can’t predict what my income is. That fact alone is gnawing on the back of my neck constantly. It feels like I’m loosing too much blood from the bites, like all of my energy is just falling out of me. I fear I won’t be able to provide for my family, and I fear even more that my wife’s law suit wont even come close to covering the cost of her long term health expenses.

I try so hard to keep learning more and more about web development every single day. But I sleep so poorly that I’ve been having a hard time retaining everything. I just keep trying as hard as I can to make stuff, but nothing ends up being impressive enough to use in a portfolio.

There are other things too, however they involves private matters and it’s not my place to share those stories in a public space. There just seems to be a lot of shit that won’t quit.

I’ve overcome more challenging times though. The struggle never seems to change, but my state of mind does. I know this post sounds really disheartening and sad – maybe like a cry of pity – but I don’t mean for it to be.

These are just the real challenges I face these days, I want you to know that I’m keeping my head up no matter what. It’s better to keep moving forward than to just stand still and rot. I’d rather keep fighting and lose, than give up not knowing if I would have won.

Like I said I’m not asking for cheese with my wine. I just want to share my struggles – both external and internal. I plan to one day share a story with you that will look back on days like this and see them only as stepping stones that lead to a much better life.

I appreciate you reading this far, and I hope that any challenges you may be facing right now are overcome. I hope all of your hardships procure successes and that they help you grow stronger.

Below is myself giving advice to myself, and to anyone else who needs it.

If you are facing similar, lesser or perhaps harder challenges than me right now, just keep your head up, and your chin tucked. Don’t let yourself go down yet, you still have fight in you. For every hit you take, throw back twice as hard. Don’t let the blood and sweat in your eyes take your goals out of sight. Don’t let the fear of pain keep you from stepping forward.

What is success without a challenge? What is winning if there is no chance of losing? Don’t fear the risk of failure but embrace the idea that every time you fail, it’s one less time before you succeed.

Stand for your right to prosper. Take possession of your mind and control it, don’t let it control you. You can not achieve what you can not conceive, so you must believe in what ever you’re fighting for. Don’t just think about what you want to become, be what you want to become.

Any challenges standing in your way are edible, and you should start eating. Tear those teeth into everything you fear. You’re a lion! A machine!! A mechanical lion!!! You’re a mechanical lion with jet packs on your back, x-ray vision and laser beams running at the speed of sound toward your goals!!! NOTHING CAN STOP YOU!!!!!

… Except Batman. He can stop you. He has literally every gadget for absolutely any situation including you. He killed superman once, true story. There is nothing you can do about that.

OK, so I got a little carried away, and maybe a little weird at the end there. But I think it’s time you and I cheered up. What ever we’re all fighting for, it’s not time to quit yet. Keep fighting.



4 thoughts on “Update: July 2nd 2015”

  1. Hi Dan,
    Just to reinforce Oliver comment, I hope some of the struggles that you shared in July are now solved. I got into your blog from the UO official Google+ page and it inspired me a lot to start the CS course there.

    It’s amazing how the Internet can make your voice reach very distant places. I’m from Brazil, for example. UO in many aspects is a wonderful chance for people in developing countries like here to get in touch with high quality education and on top of it all with amazing people around the world.

    Anyway, I hope you are still keeping your head up. Good luck and keep up with the blog.

    All the best!

    1. Hey Renato,

      First, as a student ambassador I have to tell you to use UoPeople instead of UO or any other abbreviation. I know, UoPeople takes long to type, but it’s to ensure other readers don’t mix us up with another school.

      Second, thank you so much for your words! Many of the challenges I was facing in July have been over come, thanks for asking 🙂 I ended up getting a temporary contract position at Khan Academy as a computing curriculum consultant. My family moved into my dads place, which has it’s sacrifices, but it’s a huge benefit for us in multiple ways – financially being a main one.

      I’m also still working away with the CS program, I’m about to start my 5th term here at UoPeople as a 4.0 student, so I’m very happy about that too!

      I’m so glad to hear I inspired you to come join us at this school. Hearing those words means a lot to me.

      Best wishes,


  2. After reading your posts you seems to be a great guy Dan, I like people who take responsibilities and work towards their goals as hard as they can, even if they are not on a “traditional way” and has to go through mountains, I think these type of people deserves respect…and as you said, keep your mechanical lion head up and head towards your goals no matter what…you will be fine, but until it happens, just keep going.

    Your kid will also be proud of you, when he will be old enough to understand your wars for his well being.

    Best wishes,
    Oliver, a reader from East Europe, Hungary

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Oliver. Sorry I’m only getting back to you now, for some reason I didn’t see this comment in my inbox.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to leave such an encouraging comment. It’s great to hear feedback on my posts. It really does help to keep me motivated!

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