Whenever I get stressed, I feel it in two places. One place is my lips, because I’m always worried I’m going to get a cold sore. I do everything I can to calm myself down and remember that the act of stressing is actually not helping take stress away, it’s only adding to it. In my brain, I can usually put the stress at bay and out of mind.

The other place I feel it is my chest. It’s like a heavy weight is sitting above my heart, weighing everything down. This feeling is harder to release. It’s ever present and, if the conditions aren’t fixed, usually grows heavier and heavier until whatever caused the stress is resolved.

Two weeks ago I was told by the University of Iowa that I am not considered a resident of Iowa anymore. I had to wait until after Thanksgiving week to call U of I back to ask about it, and they weren’t able to tell me if my residency would be reinstated upon my return to Iowa. The woman I spoke to said that I need to get a driver’s license and voter id in Iowa – I told her that I already did. Then she said that I need to register my car in Iowa. My mom and I co-own a car, and she has it registered in Colorado because that’s where she lives. So I don’t know what to do about that. Then the woman said that if I graduated from an Iowa high school and my parents still live in Iowa, I’d probably be okay. I said that I did, but they don’t, and she said, well when you are living in Iowa again you can reapply and see what happens.

So basically I could move back to Iowa at the end of this contract, and be ready to start a Master’s program in my state of residence, and have to pay out of state tuition.

I’m not paying out of state tuition for a school in Iowa. I’m just not going to. The truth is that I like Colorado State University’s Master’s in Social Work program a lot better, so if I have to establish residency anywhere, I’d rather move there and do that.

But I won’t even know if that’s what I need to do until sometime next summer. Right before I’d have to start the U of I program.

I also get the impression that it would be better for me to move to Colorado first and at least begin to establish residency there before applying to the program, but I don’t want to be a burden on my references, asking them to write me one now that I might not use, and then ask me to write another one again next year… after which point I won’t have used the first one they wrote for me. It seems rude of me to do that, and I also don’t want all this confusion to reflect poorly on me.

Anyway, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know which way to turn or think or act. I really want to move on with my life, but it’s looking more and more like, unless I get lucky and Iowa changes its mind as soon as I move back to Iowa, I’ll have to put off my Master’s again for another year. At least, if I want in state tuition (which I do, because I just spent three years paying off my BA – I don’t want to rack up a ton of debt all over again simply because I am too impatient to wait one more year).

Anyway, that’s the rub. That’s the stress like a ten pound bar bell on my chest.

Not to mention that this semester NEEDS TO END. If I have one more kid act like I am not an adult who deserves some respect, I might cry.