Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Cost of our Dreams

Oh man.  I am in so much trouble.  Well, not really trouble, per se but it could get to be trouble I think.

I met with the college sales consultant last night.  Technically he is probably an admissions advisor/counselor but he was really making the hard sale on me towards attending this school.  And to be honest, he didn’t have to really do the hard sale on me.  Just looking over what they offer as far as a major in digital photography goes makes me want to sign on the dotted line right this very minute.

What surprised me is that their digital photography program is a 4-year BS degree.  I thought it would be a 2-year AA degree, but no.  The sales guy (SG) said that most likely I wouldn’t have to take any generals due to my extensive college path and I could just jump right into the core of the program.  If that’s the case, I would really consider getting a second BS.

The other thing that surprised me is the cost of this school’s program.  The full 4 year program (which I hope I would not have to do) tuition costs $67,000!  Yikes!  After I recovered from my sticker shock, SG told me that the cost of the tuition not only includes the instruction and education of digital photography but also includes a 12 mp Canon Rebel XTI digital camera with lens, bag, tripod, and flash.  It ALSO includes a Macbook Pro with all the software (Photoshop!) needed for the program installed!  Drool.

I have to talk to Bob about this.  He couldn’t make the appointment with me and since the cost is so high and the commitment so great, we really need to make this decision together.  I don’t know how we can do it but I really, really want to.  I feel like my dream is so close I can taste it and yet I can’t reach it because of costs and logistics.  We could take out student loans but we are already paying so much on my loans already.  Still, I just can’t stand that I could be THISCLOSE to doing what I really want and love to do and can’t quite get there.

We talk about me starting my own photography business all the time and I would LOVE that.  While I admit to knowing a thing or two about taking pictures and admit that I am passionate about it, the things I don’t know about doing it for a living could fill an ocean or two.  I would love to have more confidence about lighting, portfolios, Photoshop and editing software, and business things like contracts, invoices, receipts, taxes, etc.  Going to this school would give me these things and I think it would be money well spent.  I don’t think I could take a business loan for $60,000 and make my business successful.  I DO think I could put $60,000 (probably less) into school and come out with far more knowledge and confidence and really make my business take off.  I really do. 

In other news not related to me going back to school, Bob received the first proof copy of his book.  It looks so very nice.  We met at Kinko’s last night and we made minor changes to the layout and saved them.  Bob took the updates and uploaded them to the publisher.  He is now waiting to hear if those changes have been approved and if so, the publisher will send what we hope is the final proof copy to us for review.  If we review it and approve, Bob lets them know and they go ahead and publish the book.  It is so close.  Bob’s long-standing dream of being a published poet is nearly here.  He is so excited he can barely stand it.  It’s been a good lesson for him in patience but not one he has enjoyed learning. 

If you are interested in following Bob’s dream and reading his book, here is the link to the book’s webpage:  We update it as we go. If you have any questions about it, leave a comment there and one of us will get back to you.

So, I guess this post is about our dreams and what we are willing to do to make them come true.  Are they worth the blood, sweat, tears, time, and cash?  Bob thinks so now that one he’s had for nearly 20 years is finally coming true.  I am still on the fence about the cost but if someone gave me $40,000 I would immediately apply to that college’s digital photography program so fast it would make your head spin.


Laura said...

Wow - I'm sure this is really tempting, but I give you credit for thinking it through and not just jumping at the opportunity to leave the job you hate. For what it's worth, I would just say -- make sure you have a concrete plan for getting a job when you're done. Do they have a career placement service that will help you find something when you're done? Or will you open your own business, in which case will you need another, business, loan to make that work? Is there an alternative available where you can work on the weekends as an unpaid apprentice for a local photographer?

Mary Jo said...

Do you have to sign up and pay for the whole program? To me it would be a lot more palatable to take a class at a time and pay for each class, piece by piece. Just a thought... fingers crossed!

Mary said...

I vote for taking the individual classes too. That's a ton of money. Some of it, like taxes for instance, you can get elsewhere for a lot less. I work for a major tax firm you've heard of -- if you came in and brought your records, we'd do your taxes and talk you through the process for a couple of hundred dollars. A second degree doesn't mean a lot to most employers. Your skills and experience do.

Liz said...

I agree with Mary Jo. I would just take the courses you think you need and forget about going for a degree program. You already have a BA and nobody hires a digital photographer based on what degree they have; they look at their portfolio. The colleges and universities I'm familiar with do not use such a hard sell program. You are smart to be wary of it. I would look into other digital photography programs in your area or try to apprentice yourself with a photographer as Laura suggested. There might even be an online course that would fit in with your schedule much better and be much cheaper as well. :-)

Joan65 said...

Laura and Mary Jo have given some good advice. $40K is a lot of money to pay back. I wish you well in making your decision! Search around, maybe you can find something that is equally as good for less tuition.