Monday, 24 February 2014

How I aged 20 years in a day

The saga begins thusly:

On Saturday, I received the following email from my "academic advisor"*


Have you been satisfying your missing pre-reqs? I just received an email from our Registrar stating their records show you are missing all six pre-reqs. Are there any community college transcripts you need to submit?


This was crazy. I knew that, and was not concerned. I had one missing pre-req, a math class I was already taking. All of the others had been fulfilled. The university had told me so. I know, because I was paying careful attention: these pre-reqs must be fulfilled prior to student teaching, or they don't let you do your student teaching, you don't graduate, and you don't become a teacher. So, yeah. I was pretty sure I had met the requirements.


That is so weird. The only pre-req that I had not completed was the math class (in which I am currently enrolled). I am not even sure what other pre-reqs you are talking about. Do I need to re-submit a college transcript?


I considered the matter dealt with, though I was irritated at the prospect of spending $7 to re-submit a transcript I had already given them at least twice.

He acknowledged that was weird, because "no one even usually starts missing all six pre-reqs." He got the register to re-evaluate my transcript (which, yes, they did have). She got back to us quickly.

I now show that NS with lab is met and so is the College Comp I from Scripps.   All else is still needed.  Are we missing transcripts, we have no others pending. 

You read that correctly. They admit that I have fulfilled TWO of the SIX pre-reqs. I know that I need to fulfill one of the math requirements, so there are now *THREE* pre-reqs up for discussion: one English class, one Social Studies class, and a math class. Note, I was a psych major. Almost everything I took should have qualified for social studies. I took a variety of theatre literature classes, which should have easily met the English requirements, and psychology statistics should have done away with the math requirement. What was the issue? 

Well the English Courses typically have to have an English designator such as English Composition, Lit, Reading.
Stats has never counted to satisfy the Math requirements.
History, Geography, Civics and Econ are the courses I typically see satisfying the Social Studies aspect.
And a Life or Physical Science (Biology, Botany, Chemistry , Geology and others fall into this category)
Math for Elm Ed you've already taken.
I'll have to stand back and allow our Registrar and the Program Director sort this out for you. If it turns out you do need a class I can help you find what you need.


Thanks for your support, Stan. And for your advice. At this point, I'm getting really concerned. Am I not going to be allowed to do my student teaching and complete the program? What. the. hell.

I am so frustrated by this situation. I don't understand why I was led to believe that my classes would fulfill these requirements or, having determined that they will not fulfill them, why this is the first I am hearing of it.

I have been very unhappy with the communication between School** and its students, but this really is the most egregious example of poor communication I have experienced thus far.

Please advise me as to how to proceed with this.


Translation: You are my advisor, goddamnit. Where have you been all this time?! And now that you are here, advise me, for goodness' sake!

I sent another e-mail to our (really lovely) program director, explaining the problem.

Hi Gloria,***

I'm not sure if you are the person to approach about this, but my plan is just to keep asking people until someone can help me!

I was recently (Thursday) told that I had not completed the required pre-reqs for the MIT program. This was quite surprising news to me, as I had been told upon my acceptance to the program that I had only one additional pre-req to fulfill, my Math for Elementary Teachers class (in which I am currently enrolled). This would have been a pain, but not a significant problem, if I had been told this back in the fall of 2012. Clearly, though, that is not what happened. In fact, I wasn't even concerned when I first saw the e-mail-- I thought it was a simple matter of a misplaced transcript. This is the first I have heard of any incomplete pre-requisites, and I am, as you may imagine, panicking a little bit.

I truly believe that my undergraduate experience fulfills all of the pre-reqs, and I am surprised and very concerned that this seems to be a matter for debate (or outright dismissal). I plan on finishing my MIT program in June, with my full time student teaching starting on April 1. This is sounding like it could throw a serious wrench in my plans.  I am a strong candidate in the program, and I know I have been doing well in my internship placements. I am eager and excited to have my own classroom, and would be devastated to have to postpone or delay this goal.

I believe you have been copied on most of the e-mail chain surrounding this issue, but if you have not, I can give you more details about the problem. Can you please advise me on the steps to be taken?



By now, I'm really worried. I am having visions of a very, very different Next Year than I had anticipated. In an effort to calm myself slightly, I write the following note:

-       - I wonder if they have the power to waive the requirements, or accept other classes in their stead.
-      -  If they CAN do that, I think they WILL. It’s not in anyone’s best interest for me to not be able to finish the program.

-       - If they CAN’T, then realistically this will only delay my degree by a year. That would be annoying as hell, but survivable.  Right now, it sounds like a really long time, and would be awful. But, reallyreally, it’s not that long in the grand scheme of things. 10 years from now, it totally won’t matter. Maybe, actually, this will give me the opportunity to do something I’d Really Like To Do. Like, maybe I’ll travel. Maybe I’ll do something totally different, like work for a non-profit for a while. Maybe I’ll do RETAIL. Maybe I’ll completely disregard money and logic. Or, at least, partially disregard money and logic. I will be angry and upset and sad, and that’s all ok. But it will be ok.

It doesn't work as well as I would have hoped. I feel slightly calmer, but not really. I bite my nails, and wait for a response from somebody, reloading my e-mail account every minute or so.

At about 4:00, I received a call from the Really Lovely Program Director.

"Hi, Blythe. This is Gloria. How are you doing?"
"Panicked, yourself?"
"I would have been too, in your position. I'm really sorry. We've worked it all out. We looked back through our records, and we did tell you that you only needed the one pre-req. We really are the culpable party, and we have worked it out. I sat down with the registrar, and we have taken care of everything."

So, after hours of an elevated heart rate and rapidly increasing quantity of grey hair, it's resolved. It will be fine.

Gloria was very apologetic. The registrar was impersonal but polite: "I am sorry for any additional worry or stress this caused and do appreciate your patience." (What patience?) And Stan? I got the following e-mail from him-- the same one that Gloria and the registrar got too:

Thank you all.

*I have never met this man. He e-mails me once a quarter to tell me for which classes I need to register.
**Name changed, to protect the guilty
***Name changed, because this is the internet.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

All the broken hearts in the world still beat

I have been obsessed with this song for the past couple of weeks. My love of the song, the video, and Ingrid Michaelson knows no bounds.

Now you can obsess too.

You're welcome.

Friday, 21 February 2014

A Shout Into The Dark

Wow, hi.

Does anyone still read this? I mean, I barely read it. Or write it. Obviously.

So, hi, if you're out there.

My life has been so very full, in joyful and wonderful and painful and exhausting ways. Not a single one of them has been recorded here, for the following reasons:

1) Lots of them involve people other than just me (I know, it's shocking that I don't live in a vacuum), and their news is not mine to share or deconstruct on the internet.
2) Some of these people are Children, and that means REALLY I can't share it on the internet.
3) Some of these people are Children in a Public Middle School Whom I Know Through Student Teaching, so that means I Really, REALLY can't share it on the internet.
4) Some of it is private. It's mine to share and I Don't Want To.
5) The rest just isn't that exciting to talk about.
6) I'm actually quite busy.

So, sorry. Don't take it personally.

All I can say is that I feel a little post-Grinch these days. Between all of the many wonderful and hurty things my people and I are going through, I feel like my heart has grown three sizes... and it was actually pretty sizable to begin with.

I've started a prayer list, though, which is a little funny. Because, well, I don't believe in anyone to whom one would, actually, pray. I'm a cheerful, moral atheist. I can't even say that I think "thinking good thoughts" or "sending good vibes" makes any difference to anyone at all, but I do that very actively. (I sometimes accompany my good-thought-sending with a text message or phone call telling people that's what I'm doing. Otherwise it seems a little incomplete.) If you want my good thoughts, though, let me know. (Note: I do, sometimes, pray for people who believe in prayer themselves. I cannot explain this behavior.)

I have ALSO started an Exciting Plans list. I am so excited about my 7-ish year plan. There is a LOT of traveling involved. It's going to be great.

And that's all.


You're welcome.