Eh, I just popped into this thread, so yeah I am a bit on the late side putting some change into the bank
I skimmed through the posts, so if I mention something that was already said,well forgive me.
Financial aid for schooling is great. Student loans, however, are NOT the way to go. Instead, apply for Pell grants. Though it isn't much money, it helps. It paid my rent when I needed it the most, and I did not have to pay one cent of it back. If you need books, ebay is the place to look. Even getting a book that is an edition behind should be fine for getting the information across, and the school library *should* have copies of the textbooks that are current in case you need to copy problems that have changed between editions. Even the publishers have free tutorials and supplements online.
Want to save some money? Go to a community college first. Why pay top dollar for classes at a top-dollar school when you can get the SAME classes that will transfer to a 4-year school for substantially less? And the professors at most CC'* actually DO help their students should they need assistance. You also have state and county resources to help with obtaining finances for schooling...AND job placement.
Going to church opens up other avenues as well. Yes it will help you out spiritually, but also is a GREAT networking tool. You meet new friends, spend time away from your house, and (the best part of it all, I think) you can spread the word that you are looking for a career start and someone may very well refer you for an interview somewhere. You never know!
As for the car....hmm, yes...that can be tricky working on a car that needs lots of attention, but its owner has limited fundage. That happens, no matter who you are or what you drive. Do you REALLY like the car enough to keep it for a long while? If not, consider selling it.
I'm going to share a little something with this forum. After being medically disharged from the service back in 2k, I had NOWHERE to go. My wife (if you could call her that) took our son with her to Cali and filed for divorce. My parents are old school in family...as in, once you leave you can't come back. Unless its to visit. So I hooked up with an internet girlfriend, which after a year and a half proved disasterous and left me not only with no friends or familly near, but homeless. Yes, HOMELESS. For a good 6 months I bebopped in and out of Daytona'* finest motels (that was a figure of speach BTW) using my disability check I got each month. I finally said "ENOUGH" and used the resources I had available to me, and not long after that I got myself into school. During that time, I still lived off of what the VA was giving me, the Pell grants, and working various odd jobs and the occasional burger flipping.
I graduated in 2005.
One month later I was offered a job working on flight simulators. I am still at that job.
For years the only way I could get a car was through buy-here-pay-here. For several years now I have actually done it the way it should be done. Bank finance. Oh, and I just bought my first home. I closed a month to the day.
There is hope for you, but you HAVE to be patient. You also need to live life a little bit before making any huge commitments. When I was your age, I had no CLUE what I wanted to do with my life, nor did I really care. But then again, I did not have the resources available to me that kids have nowadays.
Gawd, I'm rambling now.