01/16/2007: "yes, this is my final decision"
I have officially terminated my upcoming enrollment in MBET.
Jannette and I had a talk on Sunday, agreed that our finances are in no shape to permit us to plunge headlong into debt, and thus decided that I will NOT be attending MBET come this September, or at any point in the forseeable future. I have already told the school and my parents - the only thing left for me to do to make it "official" is send in a letter of withdrawal to the school. That will make it official for them, but it's already a done deal with me.
Don't get me wrong, I still think the program is great and would dearly love to absorb all the good knowledge, skills, and contacts that it would give me. The simple fact of the matter is that it's a one-year full-time program, and an expensive one at that, and we are just not in a position to be able to afford for me to take a year off work.
It's not like I don't have financial assistance. My dad very kindly offered to take care of the 5-figure tuition for me. (Good tax write-off for him, too.) My mom was prepared to gift us with a huge chunk of cash to help keep us liquid while I wasn't working. And the director of admissions for the program even offered a non-insubstantial bursary to me just yesterday after I informed him of my decision.
It all helps, but with a line of credit that needs attention and feeding, a mortgage, a leased vehicle, insurance, RESPs, and all the usual bills and expenses, we're pretty solidly addicted to our income. Going cold turkey for 10 months will put us in a deep, tight bind that would dog us for a long time. Even if the current state of my career sucks, I can't justify deepening our financial state on the hope of recusitating my career with MBET.
Additional education may be what my career needs, but a full-time Master's program isn't a good fit right now. It's swatting a fly with a Howitzer, I've come to realize. Yes, MBET would very quickly give me a whole array of new knowledge and skills to rebuild my career on, but at what cost (mentally, let alone financially)? It is much saner instead to take part-time classes or seminars or workshops at a few hundred dollars a pop over the next few years, allowing me to learn AND earn at the same time. So that's what I'm going to do.
First stop, LEED-Canada. I have my materials, now I just have to set myself a timeline and work out a study plan. If I can knock that off in a couple of months (which shouldn't be out of the question) I can then move on to other things; leadership workshops, straw bale building workshops, maybe even becoming a certified installer for certain green products. Who knows? Taking this route, my options are always open, and there will be no shortage of ways to keep improving.
So, no MBET. I'm sad to see it go, but at the same time, glad to have that mental fork in the road wiped away. Now I can finally focus on building on the career I have, and taking care of the debt I'm already carrying.