The Great Unknown…Returning To School and Career Change At 30.

The time has come to stage my coup.

I’ve been accepted into The American University’s Kogod School of Business, and I can’t wait to get that ball rolling in the fall.  Further, the time has come for me to transition out of aviation (for now) and into a subject that I began focusing on and learning about over five years ago now:  Real Estate.

Business and Real Estate–two things I have no formal experience or education with yet.  I’m leaving the comfort of showing up to work every day at 8am (or 7, or 5, or 6pm), punching the time clock, working on tangible, mechanical things and seeing tangible results…the truth is that I have no idea what will happen in the next couple of months.

It’s both exciting and terrifying.

But you know what?  Nothing will happen if I don’t do it myself, right?  I’m ambitious–sometimes too much so, according to some–and I’ve been waiting for five years to be able to act on this.  I only put it off that long so my wife could properly finish her graduate degree in Arizona, and we lived on my salary alone before we moved out here to Virginia.

Frankly, I’m nervous about how we will survive here while I’m in school.  Our bills aren’t exorbitant, but our cost of living here is.  A nice place in a relatively safe area has been running us nearly $1700 per month in rent, and that isn’t unreasonable out here.  We have basic cable, two sensible, reliable vehicles, and some credit card debt to deal with, but otherwise, we aren’t spendthrift.  We had smartphones (which I got us for cheap during a free upgrade period with our provider), but we downgraded them to save $60 a month on the (required) data plans.  We’ve held off on buying an iPad, despite how handy we would both find one to be–and how much we salivate every time another iteration of it comes out.  We’re getting rid of cable, because it makes more sense to rely on Netflix or Hulu than to pay out the nose for three hundred channels of “WasteYourTimeHere.”  We’re trying to find a cheaper place to move, but we don’t want to dig up $3400 to break our lease early–and that’s if we could even find something.  The occupancy rates at apartments are so high out here that we didn’t even bother looking at several of them because we simply couldn’t find parking near the leasing office.  It’s a great time to own an apartment building.

We’re downsizing as many of our expenses as possible to keep our bills within my wife’s salary alone, in anticipation of my starting school, and the income lag from starting in real estate.  I’ll pick up a job to get through it if I have to, but I’d prefer to have the ability to focus my energy on schoolwork, internships, and networking opportunities if I can.

And then there’s the real estate.

I plan on being a licensed Realtor by September, when school starts.  I figure it will pay off because I’m pretty decent at networking, I talk to everybody, and being in classes with hundreds of students every day gives me the chance to build a friendly rapport with a captive audience.  This will let me capitalize the most out of my time there, because look at this:  The average price of a home in Muncie, IN is something like $185K.  The average price of a property here in the DC area is nearing $400K.  Some of the contacts I have figured out that it would take literally three times as many homes sold in Indiana as it would to make the same money here.  DC will treat me well, if I can wiggle my way into it, and figure out what makes it tick.   As it stands right now, though, almost no one knows me, and I have but a few people in my address book here in the area.  That, of course, is up to me to change, and I intend to; it’s just that everything takes time.

I’m excited about my prospects, though.  I’ve been doing my homework on these choices for years now, and I’m confident they are the right way for me to go.  In five years, I expect to have achieved my goals.  I am standing on the precipice of a turning point in my life.  I know I’ll do it–I know I need to–but it doesn’t stop me from being consumed with trepidation of the unknown, and frustrated by the constant juggling I’ll have to do until I cross the finish line.  I guess that just means I’m human.

Enough about me–what’s new in your life?  What’s the next Great Unknown project you are tackling?  Has it gone according to plan for you?  Did you anticipate the issues you ran into, or were you blind sided by some of them?

    • Chris
    • July 3rd, 2012

    I returned to school last semester. I have a year and half left (aggressively) to finish a bachelor’s in business admin (finance), at which time I’ll find a grad program in healthcare administration. I’m really looking forward to starting a new career in a rural hospital, and if all goes great, my sister (MD) and I will be able to start a private practice in the next 5-7 years.

    Good luck with your new direction. Fortune favors the bold!

    • Thanks, Chris! I appreciate the comment, even though we talk regularly anyway. I like your comment, too–fortune DOES favor the bold. My problem sometimes gets to be that it’s just so damned easy to be shy about things. Luckily, my wife holds my feet to the fire when I get wimpy or unsure or frustrated. Keep me posted on you and your sister’s practice–if I can refer anyone there, I will–same as I send people by Jeg’s wife Robin’s Chiropractic place (I’ve had the opportunity exactly once). A rising tide lifts all ships!

      And Berly–I have to check out this Rob Dyrdek guy…we’re getting rid of cable soon, so I’ll see if he’s on YouTube or something. And hey, I’m glad I could surprise someone–I think some people are destined to be but a warning for others, but hopefully I’ll be on the good side of surprising when it’s all over 🙂

    • bubbles44
    • July 3rd, 2012

    You continue to surprise me… I wasn’t kidding when I compared to you Rob Dyrdek, you both are so charismatic and have so many ideas floating around in your heads. I can actually see you doing really well in real estate. Nothing but luck being sent your way. I really hope it all works out for you in these 5 years.
    I wish we had the financial stability to put one of us at a time back to school. But the only way that will happen is if we can find some flexible night classes and if we find a really cheap house. I hate feeling stuck in the job you’re at and I know we both feel that way at the moment. But that’s what pays the bills so it’s not a good time for us to switch careers.

    Oh and the IN vs DC comparison- I’m sure it takes a quarter as long to make the same money in IN buuuut cost of living there is way less expensive and that money goes a lot farther, so it’s kind of all relative. We witnessed that going from Chi burbs to Iowa back to Chi burbs.
    You can do anything you set your mind to do, you just have to be in it 110%. If I can help you in any way, let me know! Good luck!

  1. August 21st, 2012

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