Can I vent for a moment, or twenty? After talking to others about some of my experiences with our local community college in my quest to further my education, they’ve urged me to blog about it because it definitely fits the description of peculiar.
Incident #1 – I enroll for classes. One of which is a fast track course. That means instead of going for an entire semester, I attend the whole day on Friday and Saturday for 4 weeks. I ask and have the adviser tell me the first date of class at least 3 times to be sure. I show up, and the class had already met the previous weekend. I basically had missed ¼ of a semester; they had already done homework assignments and taken a test. There were other students who had met with the same advisor that ended up in my same situation. I had to withdraw from the class, dropping my schedule to part time, and try to get in another fast track offered later in the semester so as not to lose grant money.
Incident #2 – I’m enrolled in the IT program, Information Technology i.e. computer stuff. I had 2 online classes my first semester. I had never taken college courses period, so I was
extremely a bit nervous about getting started. I emailed my 2 professors in regards to gaining access to the program online. I never received a reply from one, the other replied several days after the semester began. I was told I had to wait for a letter to come via postal mail with my access codes. Postal mail…for access to online courses…in the IT program.
Incident #s 3 and 4 – When enrolling in school there are certain documents required, regardless of your age or background; two of them being grade transcripts, and immunization records. No problem, I thought. The student advisor told me my high school should have both on file. I called, they didn’t. Because I graduated more than 10 years ago, they had grade transcripts only. All other files were destroyed 5 years after graduation.
Ok, I thought, I’ll check with our local pediatric clinic. The doctor I saw is about to retire, but she is still in practice. Her office had moved since I was running around in pig tails, and when I asked the desk clerk she looked at me like I was some kind of nutter. She had no idea how I would find records that old.
Next try, call mom. She didn’t have them. After I married she sent my baby books for me to keep and shot records were not included. Many of those mementos had been left in my grandmother’s house after we moved out of town when I was 10 years old. Her house, unfortunately, burnt down shortly after that.
Ok, what now? I ask a girl in one of my classes (yes, they are letting me attend even though I have not yet provided proof that I’ve been properly immunized) who is a few years older than me, how she obtained her records. She said the health department had hers on file. "Score!" I think to myself. I call the health department the next day. Because I had my shots administered in a physician’s office rather than the Department of Health, they have no such record on file.
At this point we’re more than half way through the semester and I sort of forget about it. Then, in December when I try to log onto the secure area of the school website to check my grades and double check the class schedule a helpful professor in the IT department had taken pity on me and set up properly, I was locked out. This is where the #3 part comes in. I go to the school to find out about the hold. I explain to an adviser my situation; he logs on to look at my schedule. He can’t see it because there’s a hold. He can’t tell me why there’s a hold because they are locked out of the hold system. WTH? I’m told to check back in a few days. Which I do, and the school is closed for winter break.
Finally, the first week of January I get in touch with someone and am transferred to the records clerk. The hold is in fact because of my lack of immunization records. We determine that the only way to resolve my situation is for me to get the MMR shot again. After more confusion and red tape between the health department and the college, I finally manage to convince the clerk at the health department that I am not trying to fraudulently obtain an immunization, that the school in fact requires it since I cannot provide records. Eventually she lets me through. Then the elderly nurse is confused because I have Babe Jr accompanying me, but she does not need immunizations. Finally I get the shot, Babe Jr gets to watch and laugh, and I acquire that precious slip of paper as proof.
I still haven’t gained access to my grades, but since my name did show up on the Dean’s list, I assume I’m in good shape. Then, I received a postcard from the records department today (yes, it’s January 26, 2011) with a postal date of October 26, 2010 saying that my immunization records are needed.
Incident #5 – Which leads to today and this tangent of a blog post. Text books, as most everyone knows, are ridiculously overpriced and I believe school bookstores are set up by the devil to rip off unsuspecting college students. I learned from experience to wait until at least the first class to see if the text is actually required. Often it’s not, but the teachers post that they are required so that students who receive enough aid can purchase them with grant money if they wish to have a copy to refer to. I do not receive enough grant money to cover the cost of my books. Even if used books are available, they cost nearly twice as much and often more on campus than if you purchase them online. If you’re crafty enough with the interwebs, you can often find them in PDF or e-book form to download for free.
I am required to take a 7 week Orientation to Technical Programs course, even though I’m already in my second semester. The syllabus only states the title, not the author or edition required. It does state that we must have the text for the first class meeting. In an effort to be frugal I email the professor of this course to ask for more information about the book. This is the response I get:
Subject: RE: Text book
Sent: January 24, 2011 11:10 AM
From: Professor X
To: Peculiar Student
I do not have access to it right now. I loaned mine out at the end of the semester and it didnt' come back yet.
I know the title is Keys to Success.
I know the title is Keys to Success.
That is copied and pasted in its entirety directly from my school email account, only names were changed to protect the innocent. I’m supposed to have the first of two on campus meetings for this class the day after tomorrow. It looks as if I’m about to be forced into being price gouged at the bookstore for a text I will need for less than 7 weeks and probably never open again. I’ll be lucky if I can get 20% of that back if it is eligible to resell at the end of semester. However, the bookstore will not be open the day of the meeting, its only open Mon-Thurs.
Classes were canceled today because we are experiencing another blizzard and the school will probably be closed again tomorrow. If that happens and we still have this Friday class, it looks like I will be showing up unprepared. Amazon probably has the book I need and I could pay for overnight shipping, but I can’t get in touch with an actual person at either of the nearby campuses via phone or email to give me any information.
I actually feel better and substantially less frustrated after putting this post together. But, that doesn't help with the whole book situation. Crossing my fingers and wishing right along with Babe Jr that the weather gives us yet another reprieve.