Journal Entry: Gary Goulin-02/27/2024-BACK TO SCHOOL

Journal Entry

I’m still awaiting my formal orientation process as I’ve not yet been assigned a job.  Many inmates spend significant time in the gym. Looking at my chicken legs and arms, you immediately know that I’m definitely not one of them.  So I’ve been spending as much time as I can in the amazing Education Center here.  I’m taking advantage of the wide variety of Adult Continuing Education courses here, offered on DVD, and that upon successful completion (including passing a test) one gets credit which is shared with the unit team.

I promised myself and others I would emerge a better person than when I entered here.  Expanding my horizons is one way I can achieve this goal.  I’ve never taken an economics course; I knew nothing about the financial market, investing, any of that.  The only thing I did was balance my checkbook.  I leave all my money in the hands of others, and trust blindly that my money will be competently managed.

I am currently enrolled in a 12-hour course entitled “Financial Literacy:  Finding your way in the Financial Markets”.  This course will likely take me far longer than the 12 hours, because I’m starting with absolutely zero knowledge.  The terms and concepts are very foreign to me.  But I am slowly plodding along and am learning a great deal.  It’s actually quite fun.

I’m learning budgeting, which is not something I’ve had to really do much of in my life.  I’m very fortunate in that respect, and I know it.  But here, we can only spend $90 per week in the commissary, a maximum of $360 per month.  It really forces me to prioritize which items I need first.  I estimate it will take me one and a half to two months to purchase those items I most need.  It’s quite different than going to the mall and purchasing everything all at once.  Other than basic hygiene items (toothbrush, “real” toothpaste, floss, hair brush, soap, shampoo, razors, shave gel, chap-stick, body lotion), I’ve thus far purchased a sweatshirt and sweatpants.  I’ve purchased no food.  The food provided here is more than edible and plentiful; wasting money on snacks when I still need other items, just isn’t logical to me.  I need sunglasses, sunscreen, a water bottle and book light.  I still eventually need to purchase a radio to replace one my bunkmate is graciously letting me use – as well as earbuds. I’m using borrowed gym shorts; I’ll eventually have to purchase a pair.  I also will need to purchase athletic shoes.  The used ones given to me won’t last much longer.  This whole budgeting experience is new to me.  A bit frustrating, but I’m growing.  Slowly but surely.