I’ve been waiting for, oh, six months or so to make this public. It’s finally time. It’ll be a relief to no longer be keeping this on the (somewhat loosely enforced) down-low.
In a month, at the beginning of August, I am moving to Lawrence to go to KU.
This has been kept a little bit quiet, at least online, because my employer was not to know about it until today. I’ve told a few people in person who I trust. Now that my employer knows, THE WORLD CAN KNOW! JOY!
Shhhh, stop. Don’t even ask. I have read your mind telepathically and I will answer your question, which is: “Why don’t you stay here and go to WSU?”
I’m trying to figure out why this is the question that every single person, without fail, immediately asks when they find this out. Maybe people think WSU is the obvious, practical thing to do if I want to go to school, or maybe people are haters because I have the balls to actually leave this town. The real truth is probably closer to the former, though I can’t really know for sure. In any case, the answer is bigger than just “I want to finish school.”
I do want to finish school, obviously. That’s why I’ve jammed three full math classes into the Spring and Summer semesters this year (yes, trig is whipping my ass right now. I’ll live). I got my associates degree from Butler after the Spring semester, so I’m ready to go. The real question is, why KU, why Lawrence, why not here?
It’s a fair question. If I stayed here, I could possibly keep my current job, and even if I didn’t, I have a network of people who could help me find another job that would work with a school schedule. Additionally, I have family and friends around here, a support network. Being a full time single dad isn’t the easiest gig in the world and it will certainly complicate my endeavors to go to school full time. There are benefits to staying here.
However, there are also benefits to leaving. First, my brother lives in Lawrence and also attends KU. He and I will be entering our Junior years at the same time, and we’ve already signed a lease on a place we’ll be sharing up there. He’s not a live-in babysitter (as he has loudly proclaimed), but it will be good to at least have someone else up there. Besides, Lawrence is only two hours away, it’s not THAT far. It’s not an impossible distance. Second, WSU is a very good school, there’s nothing at all wrong with it, but KU is a better school. I’ve waited this long to get around to getting my degree (I graduated HS in 1994 you guys, I’m a decade late to the party), I want it to mean as much as it possibly can. KU has pedigree, it’s a research school, it’s just a nationally recognized major institution and to me, that’s important. Not to mention I’ve been a KU fan for most of my life, which doesn’t hurt. It’s a school I’ll be able to have a genuine sense of pride in attending and graduating from. Again, there’s nothing at all wrong with WSU. I just feel KU is my preference, if I can swing it, and it appears I can. Actually a better way to phrase that is that I’ve decided to make it so. Not sure on all the details yet, but I am determined to make it happen. Third, I’m a little bit scared to move out of Wichita, to leave my comfort zone, which to me is a huge indication that that’s exactly what I need to do. I’m a townie. Raised in Wichita since I was two and if I get any more comfortable here, I will NEVER leave and NEVER experience anything outside of Wichita. Moving to Lawrence is a first step in overcoming that, and is possibly the most important reason to me for doing it.
My financial aid is substantial. I will still have to work, but my school schedule, at least for Fall, is OPTIMAL: I’m out of class every morning by 11AM, and Thursdays by 9AM. This leaves me plenty of time to work a part time job in the afternoons and do homework in the evenings.
There’s also, “What are you going to school for?” The answer: Computer Engineering, if I can hack the math. Or possibly Mechanical Engineering, or maybe somehow both. I want to get into the automotive industry, and if I’m lucky, motorsports. I want to build and program the things that make fast cars faster.
The other question I get is, “Sara’s going with you, right?” Well, no. Not at this moment. Sara has put a lot of sweat equity into her job search here in Wichita and she isn’t just going to abandon that. She is currently looking for work both here in Wichita, and also in the Topeka/Lawrence (possibly KC if the job is right) area. Her immediate future will depend on how that job search turns out. If she finds work up there, she’ll get a small apartment in Lawrence. In the mean time, or if she finds work here, the plan is for her to come visit on the weekends. Of course, I’m hassling her endlessly about whether or not she’s found work up there yet because I’d rather have her up there sooner than later, but realistically it just depends on how the job search turns out.
Yes, this is ambitious. Yes, this will be difficult. We know this. We have had endless hours of conversation on this topic (remember, I’ve been lining this up for six months). I’ll spare you those details, but our relationship is solid, it’s very strong, and we have the willingness and determination to put in the work necessary to make this work. I’ve got Kai all lined up to attend a good private school in Lawrence.
That’s what this whole thing is about, really - determination. I have to be able to make these kinds of moves with the confidence that even if I don’t have every single detail planned out in advance, I can still make it work, and I will. This is going to be a great adventure in stretching the boundaries of my comfort zone and ultimately making me a more capable person.
OKAY. SO. This could potentially mean a few things for you guys.
First, I need someone to take over my job. I work as the Internet Manager for Mike Steven Automotive group. That means web development, domain name maintenance, and working on back-end stuff - inventory systems that power the database the websites use, etc. Everything I’ve written here is php/mySQL. Basically any php developer with some experience who can chop a photoshop file into a website ought to be able to swing it. It’s now my responsibility to find and train my replacement, so please spread the word, and if you know anyone or are interested, please get with me.
Second, my house is going to be available. My landlord is the best kind - I never ever hear from him. Also, he is a contractor and knows how to remodel and do plumbing and everything else, so he fixes stuff himself. He owns the house and isn’t a professional landlord, so he has a stake in the house being maintained. I’m getting one hell of a good deal on it: It has no basement, but it’s 3br, 2ba, big den in the back, 1 car garage, fenced yard and a shed, all for $600/mo. I was paying that for a small 2br apartment in Riverside. The only downside is that it’s a bit out of the way to the south, but it’s right by the highway so it doesn’t take long to get places. Again, if you’re interested, let me know.
Third, there has been talk of a going away party. I don’t know anything about it except that there are no firm plans in place at the moment. I’m open to suggestions. Set ‘em on fire and chuck ‘em at my head.
And finally, again, for the record, WE’RE NOT PREGNANT.
Rock Chalk :-)