Sunday, November 25, 2012

{Update} or Why bibliophyte has been orphaned. Again.

I had been settling into a consistent routine of read, write review, read, write review, when my entire semester got turned upside down. First, my son Gabriel got sick with bronchitis in September and has been ill every couple of weeks since then. After the 4th case of bronchitis last week, compounded by at least one virus, his pediatrician put him on a huge list of antibiotics, steroids and such that has hopefully finally kicked it. He's been feeling better, thank goodness, though we're not sure when he's going to be cleared to go back to daycare.

In addition to this, last Sunday was my due date for my husband and my fourth child. I made it into my second trimester but ultimately lost the baby anyway. This is the third time and I am incredibly frustrated, angry and sad all at the same time. I am so very grateful for Gabriel and love him very, very much, but I've still been feeling blue. I'm trying not to play the what-if game because it doesn't help, but sometimes it can be very hard. I'm doing my best and for the most part I think we're keeping everything together but there are some moments where I just want to fall apart.

Then during the 9th week of classes I received a phone call from the school I'm attending. It's complicated but basically we moved here in June and I have been planning since this past summer to go to this community college this one semester, earn my last 13 hours of Gen. Ed. classes, graduate with my Associate's in December, and transfer to KU for the Spring '13 semester  to complete the last few hours of my Bachelor's degree. This semester, less than two months before graduation, I'm told I won't be graduating because in order to do so I must have earned 18 credit hours of my degree from this institution and I will have earned only 13.

My reaction: "Why have you waited this long to tell me?! I have been planning on getting my last 13 hours here and graduating since this past summer! Is this a regulation everyone knows about?"

Business office: "Yes, it's in every rules and regulations book. It's right here [points to regulation]."

Me: "Is this book in every office on campus?"


"Is this book something handed out to each student who enrolls?"

"No, but you can find them somewhere online."

"So everyone here in the Business Office and my adviser have a copy of this book and know about this regulation?"


"I'm an extremely involved student and I've been active in every stage of my enrollment, in every stage of my education really. But, there's a reason we have advisers and a reason these books are in everyone's offices. This is something I should've been told the first time I came here and talked to my adviser and people here in the Business Office about my plan. What am I supposed to do now? We're over halfway through the semester!"

They decided they couldn't waive the regulation and instead in order for me to graduate I would need to complete another 5 credit hours by December 14th, giving me a total of 7 weeks. So, on top of my original 13 hours I am completing 2 additional courses: a 3 credit hour course over The Canterbury Tales completed in 4 weeks (I'm working on the final paper for it right now) and a 2 credit hour course over Women in Medieval Literature which I will be completing over the next 3 weeks. I also tutor at the middle school in the afternoons Monday-Friday and tutor another college student several days a week.

Maybe I was stupid to take all of this one, but these were my three choices:

>agree not to graduate and go to KU in the spring. This would potentially set me back in credit hours because without a block transfer KU could make me retake Gen. Ed. courses, which would be a waste of time and money.

>agree not to graduate and spend another semester at the community college. This would mean I'd spend an entire semester taking 5 hours of courses I don't need, as well as cause Federal Financial Aid problems that would result in me having to pay out-of-pocket for those 5 hours. Talk about frustrating, not to mention a huge waste of time and money.

>push through the bureaucratic bullshit and graduate in December.

For a variety of reasons, of which anger and a certain stubbornness are not the least, I decided to opt for number three. In the long run I will save time and money, and I must admit there will be a certain satisfaction in doing what they were sure I wouldn't be willing to take on in the first place.

Now, I understand educational institutions must have rules and regulations, but in this case there is no excuse for their having neglected to tell me of this one and I was expecting a slightly more proactive and understanding response (especially since they've waived this rule for students in the past). Plus, their attitudes irritated me because after the "oversight" was discovered they kept saying, "Well, this is a very basic regulation!" and suggesting that I should already have been aware of it. If it's such a basic regulation why didn't a single person in the Business Office or Financial Aid Department, one of the people who had supposedly audited my file (including my transcripts), or my adviser mention it?

To be honest, I'm pretty angry about the whole debacle, BUT I'm trying to focus on two things: a) they didn't charge me any tuition or fees for the extra 5 credit hours & b) I'm graduating in December!! That's what I came here for and, through hell or high water, that's what I'm going to do.

Unfortunately, bibliophyte was first to get kicked off my priorities list when everything started snowballing. I greatly appreciate all of my readers who have stayed (thank you! thank you! thank you!) and I will hopefully be back mid-December. After I have awakened from my post-semester coma.