October 2014

Trev-MUNils_trevmun wrote
on October 19th, 2014 at 09:56 pm
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So Now I'm 31 ...

Hey guys,

It's been a long time since my last update; I didn't mean to leave you all hanging, and I'm really sorry to have worried the people who've expressed their concerns.

Life's been a roller coaster of ups and downs since the Spring 2014 semester. A lot of things have gone right, and a lot of things have gone wrong, the consequences of both which have left me little time to really pursue anything I want to do in my spare time. Going into detail about the the past half-year would make for a really long story, and some of it I'd rather not get into. I can share some of the good (and bad) though:

The good things I'll cover first. Medically ... So far, I seem to still be in remission. So far, there's been no sign of any lethal side effects of chemotherapy (the secondary cancer, heart toxicity, or pulmonary fibrosis). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that nothing happens.

Academically I've been keeping the course. I got out of the Spring 2014 semester with straight A's, but more importantly, I entered into the CGI Federal 3D animation competition with my final project for AP & 3D Video Effects. I had a series of false starts with that one, leading me to spend a week sleeping very little, chugging down a lot of coffee and energy drinks to fight off the effects of chemo while I worked on my entries. The competition this year had several categories for entries: Team Animation, Solo Animation (in which you must create a video using audio from a provided clip of sound), and Modeling (anything you want, but it had to fit within a tight limit of polygons).

The end result wasn't really that good compared to my absolute best, but! I won the Modeling category. The CGI employees were impressed with how I much detail I was able to cram into a model with such a comparatively low poly cap. My main regret is that, because I had to start over multiple times to get it right, I didn't leave myself any time to properly skin and texture the model as I would have liked. Still, though ... winning the competition won me several prizes, including an interview for a summer internship with CGI Federal. A paid one!

That was one big reason why I hadn't had anything to say over the summer; up until June I was doing a lot of paperwork post-interview considering CGI Federal is a government contractor. It was also, practically, a full-time job. The internship really helped make back some of the money I'd had to spend over the previous two semesters. Not all of it, not by a long shot, but enough that, if I didn't have anything else to worry about, I would be set for at least two more semesters in terms of paying university fees, tuition, and books.

Which leads me to the bad stuff ... the financial stuff. On August 7th, I received a notice from my university that they were canceling my health insurance. I had gotten coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield through Academic Health Plans, which Cameron University handled. Now, I have no insurance. When I received the notice I went to Student Development to find out why; I was told that the health care had gotten "too expensive" for the university to maintain (but by law they are forced to provide coverage for foreign students).

I was instead directed to talk to a health care agent, who quoted me insurance plans from the Healthcare.gov Marketplace (AKA Obamacare) whose monthly fees (premiums) were all three times as expensive as the Academic Health Plans coverage at their cheapest, and much less beneficial. These plans would have done little to help pay for the actual costs of health care while extracting thousands of dollars out of me per year. If I had taken one of those health care plans, combined with the university fees and costs of living I would be forced to drop out in a year at most.

I'm in the process of trying to reapply for the Uncompensated Care Plan with my hospital and the Cancer Center. Over the summer, I also applied for (and was granted) financial assistance from the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, so I have a little buffer against the raw cost of health care (my most recent visit with my oncologist last month, plus a blood test, already added a few hundred dollars to my debt). In the meantime, I continue to struggle with creditors. The company that handled my bone marrow and lymph node biopsies last year, NeoGenomics, billed me $10,500 recently for that work. I'm currently trying to get that sorted out, and I hope it all goes in my favor. If not, well ... I'll DEFINITELY not be in college for more than another semester.

In the meantime, I'm continuing to look for scholarships (I've applied for dozens and have not been granted any) or further part-time work (no such luck) to help cover the cost of higher education. I've been having some really frustrating dealings with Student Housing which have proven to be a highly time-consuming and unpleasant distraction from both this, addressing my creditors, and keeping on top of my school work.

And this semester has been keeping me extremely busy where school work is concerned. Because my concentration for my Multimedia Design major is Animation, I'm required to take two classes from the Art department: Drawing I and Figure Drawing. While Drawing I has been useful in helping me improve my techniques (since I've never actually been formally taught how to draw), it's been EXTREMELY time consuming (as well as annoyingly expensive, for students must spend well over $100 in supplies in addition to paying a $50 fee). Students are expected to spend tens of hours' worth on assignments outside of class. All my other classes are also heavy in the projects department, which (combined with everything else) has kept me from putting much work in on anything I personally want to do.

Nevertheless I've tried to put in some time to actually finish some things I've wanted to post for years. Almost a decade, in some cases. I hope I'll be fortunate enough to get them up in due time.

Until next time, folks.

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

[User Picture]From: whomper
2015-02-20 06:43 pm (UTC)

It's been a while.


Hey Trev. I tried to post something long ago, prior to this, but I couldn't remember my password to save my life. On a whim, I thought I'd try today; lo and behold, it somehow came back to me.

I hope you're doing well, and I'm glad to see that things didn't end up as rough on you (physically) as they could have. I wish you the best of luck in getting the financial assistance you desperately need; it seems like the healthcare system has become worse instead of better.
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