Tammy's right in that if you are filing your own taxes and your parents are not claiming you as a dependent, you should be able to qualify as an independent student. Since you're only 22 and don't have kids, I might recommend getting your prereq's done at a community college, maybe get an AA or AS degree so you will be considered core complete, and then apply to both associate/diploma and bachelor programs--don't go crazy, but putting out several applications would maximize your potential for acceptance. There is crazy competition in the Triangle for most, if not all, of their nursing programs
, so I'd be hesitant to put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak!
Can you re-locate? There's great programs in other parts of the state, too! I'm planning to definitely apply to ECU and to Mercy School of Nursing in Charlotte (I have a previous bachelor's, and have completed all my pre-req's, but it has taken much longer than I anticipated to get to a point where I could actually apply to nursing school
!). Mercy is also a diploma program and is quite a bit cheaper than Watts (though both offer an excellent nursing education). Mercy does offer an evening/weekend part-time option.
Ultimately, a year or two isn't going to make a lot of difference (although it can certainly feel like it!). If your goal is to become a nurse as quickly as possible, you could go for the diploma or associate degree and then do an RN-BSN program. If you're willing to work as a CNA for a bit longer you can go straight for your bachelor's. Either option is a good one and the end result is the same--your license! Good luck on whatever you decide!
P.S. I am only 26 so I remember feeling the same way just four years ago...the intervening time is what taught me that a couple of years to wait isn't that big of a deal!