The main reason I've shifted the focus from school to work so abruptly is time, and my perception that there isn't enough of it to salvage the education option. I concede that I made a bad mistake by putting all of my eggs in the Stony Brook basket, not really considering the possibility of things turning out the way they did. I'm simply not sure if I'll be able to apply and get in anywhere for this fall. There is also the option of taking a summer course or two to re-establish a track record with schoolwork. These are things I will explore in depth when we return to Connecticut.
To reiterate, the degree is, as the TAPS counselor put it, a "ticket to the dance." It looked like the best way out of the nuclear power field, should I choose to leave it at some point. As for my mom, she is not at all driving me to get a degree. Both she and Dad are ready and more than willing to support me in whatever I choose to do. I am very fortunate that I have parents that don't feel a need to meddle in my life. Since I joined the Navy - in other words, since I divorced myself from their financial support - they have been most kind enough to only advise, and not to direct. They also have had the good taste not to wave the "pushing twenty-eight and serially single" flag in my face.
I especially appreciate the reminder about test reactors at universities. I should have remembered that, seeing as Cornell decommissioned its core while I was a student there. Probably my first personal experience with the power of the atom was seeing that reactor briefly operate shortly after I arrived.
Going to work at a nuclear plant is something that will likely commit me to a specific area for some time, so location is of the utmost importance. I'm already familiar with some areas, like Central New York, and the New Hampshire Seacoast. I might take a fcat-finding trip to the area near Indian Point while on terminal leave (being only twenty-five miles from New York City, it's option Número Uno). And one of the original reasons for taking the Post-Navy Roadtrip reasserts itself: the desire to scout some possibilities. Omaha, Green Bay, and the Twin Cities are all on the itinerary, as is the West Coast. Millstone is an absolute non-starter; as I've said, the Constitution State is an exclusion area.
This is one of the many things on my plate for when we get back up north, along with setting up my move, arranging storage for my things on Long Island, and checking out of the command. For now, though, I'm simply going to chill and enjoy Port Canaveral.