Throw money into the hole!
I received an email from AutoDesk, makers of AutoCAD, Revit, 3-D Studio Max, and every other computer-aided drafting program out there, with the notable exception of Sketchup. Right now, they're giving free student versions of Revit (a super-expensive drafting program) to architects that were laid off (in other words, if you were fired for photocopying your nether-regions, you are not eligible).
This is exactly what I've been waiting for, because I need to learn the program in order to increase my competitiveness in the job market. There is, however, one major drawback:
My 4 year old laptop isn't up to the task. The poor old clunker doesn't meet any of the bullet points listed in the System Requirements section. So now, I'm looking at spending somewhere between $1,000-1,200 before taxes to get a new computer that can run the program. Fortunately, that's only 2-3 months of COBRA payments, which I won't have to start paying again until August.
The daunting part is not actually spending the money. The daunting part is that I have to pick out a computer. I have to decide if I want to stick with a 17" screen, like the type I currently have, or if I want to downsize to a more physically manageable 15" screen. The smaller ones also fit into cuter computer bags, which in an ideal world wouldn't be an issue. Then again, in an ideal world, I wouldn't be unemployed and having to learn new software to make myself more marketable.