Dinosaur Regrets
By Irish McKilligan
Published on 09/11/2010
Did you ever think Murphy was not only related to you but following you around? Perhaps the ancient Greek gods have cursed you.... and that a simple vacation is not going to do the trick. Have you addressed your complaint and the receiver is only interested assigning blame? Where are the results oriented people? Where are the results? I'm afraid to look or ask this week.

The first weeks of school at any age is a little scary and frustrating.  You are meeting alot of people, learning your way around buildings, discovering your teachers as well as whether teachers are nice, mean, easy, strict..and if the course is great .... you don't know what to think and you're thinking too much and hoping for the best.  Or maybe a little improvement. 

This semester start, in my definition, gets a big fat "f".  I got sick, went to a Dr and the E.R. where both damn near killed me with false diagnoses.  I was relieved to find a doctor who figured it out in 10 minutes, but $8000 later..... my body is better and my mind is aching over the journey.

I was so excited to be at University and pondering what services they have and who will I meet or what will I learn and what cool teachers will I get to know? 

Insert heavy, big sigh.

I was a bit behind, but I could make i up.  One professor's attempt to relate to all the difficulies actually was humiliating and I don't know that that can be repaired.  That class at the moment is boring with students texting and checked out.  She seems nice, perhaps  funny.... but the bad taste she left is making it hard to distinguish her from her teaching skills.  I'm still stinging from her comments.

Another teacher initially made me think I was going to be consumed wih her subject is remarkably unavailable and actually told me she was too busy o answer question.  Great profession she chose, I'm wondering if she's aware the class is about a book and not her? She plays pass the buck to student assistant who passes it right back to teacher.  Lovely, you know everything and impart nothing..  And, she's mean. but very busy and important.  She covers one subject kind of like Sybil might cover emotional abuse.  We are all struggling because she is constantly contradicting herself, but too busy and important to be bothered with such details.  Learn everything darling, she says (insert a haughty european accent here)

I have 2 great teachers, they know they know their subject and the difference in entry level students vs. graduate students and that the purpose is not to overwhelm you, but help you understand and learn  basic material to pass the course. 

My 5h teacher has a sparkly personality and wonderful smile which takes all the fear out of his course along with the embarrassement that is remedial.  His transition from high school to college classroom must be interesting.  He can explain something in 5 minutes that I cannot grasp reading 20 minutes of the book.  Other than a slight lack of technologically understanding the software, he's pretty awesome.  Adding that this is the class I was dreading the most, because of him, I'm ahead of schedule.  Whoa on that surprise.

And so our lives move along, I'm catching up.  Loving the math and writing labs for very different reasons and perspectives they both provide.  I learn alot about the subject matter and myself and others.  A great incubus for the mind and soul

My drudgery is the University management, which seems lacking in any cohesiveness and visually like a ball of old, sticky earwax you can't reach to clean.  I continue to discover lapses that negatively impact my life, time, money, hopes and attitude.  

I still haven't been paid because H.R. has lost my paperwork 3+ times.  Student Services was nice when I went to to  address the many difficulties with the  doctor, financial aid, admissions, payroll, etc.   When I left, it felt like a bad therapy session.  I kept thinking "stop asking  about this or what I want or saying how much worse it could be".  I thought they might say "wow, let's see what we can do to fix some of this".  We never got to  solution and I told her I'd handle it myself.  I will never use that Dr. again, I will address the "bad" teacher myself and the other teacher who just can't be bothered with us pesky students and our questions..... will not get a good review.  At some point, if she slows down long enough to listen.... I will find a way to make her own point to her. 

Why is a Student services asking what I want done instead of telling me the University standards & that theywill be applied or assuring me things will be handled.  3 offices have destroyed any confidence I have in this university.   

Of course emotions color things, and I am pretty upset about the mishandling of me.  It IS my life and my education.  A doctor after 8 years of medical school who doesn't know to use a PDR or trust a patient who says I'm allergic to that???  It's a school, perhaps you could LOOK IT UP,, call a pharmacy or peer or ere toward caution and then there's those pesky little test?  A novel idea!  And his nursed yelled at me because I said I was in pain???  Great medical staff at UTPB - way to focus on that 'DO NO HARM'.  I hope another doctor treats you just as well.  

So, I go to Admissions to ask how a student finds information on campus.  They say "what inforomation?"  I say "any information", like isn't there a welcome packet or something or a list of links or something?  They say they don't give out information. 

Uh.... really..... on a University campus?  Ya don't say?  Wow... no wonder everyone thinks they are so smart here... you just get it by osmosis!  We show up on campus knowing nothing and finding out whatever we need magically!  Not.  

I probe a little more.  
Me: So, HOW do you send out information for new students?"
Admissions:  "Oh!", we send an email".
Me: What email address?  
Admissions: Your school email, but let's check. {pause} We have 2 emails for you. {pause}.  
ME:  Hmm, those are wrong...where di dyou get hat? 
Admissions:  I don't know
Me:  Doesn't the school create the school email and don't people that work at the school know that?  And, um... my personal email is actually my name, so I don't know how that is wrong either.
Admissions:  Well, we could fix that
ME:  (to myself..... ya think?/???)  OK, here's the correct email.  Now, can you tell me what information I may have missed?
Admission:  No, I don't know what they send out.
Me:  So they don't have a welcome packet or email with information?
Admissions:  Yes, they send out an email.
Me:  Can I get that?
Admisssion:  No, I don't know how you would get that or who does it.
Me:  Didn't you just say Admissions sends that out?
Admissions: Yes, but I don't know how to get it for you. 
ME:  Thanks.  (mole whacker mole whacker mole whacker)

That is pretty much how communication goes on with each discrepancy.  I stink at  communication when I'm frustrated, but I'm good at double checking things to make sure I understand.  So, I went to Financial Aid and it's a good thing I did.  Repeated visits to them since July being assured I do not need to do anything else..... wrongo.  There's one little thing no one told me to EVER & since they never use the website, they don't know where this little piece of information is or boher to tell you they are missing information.  They don't even use this as a learning moment to avoid further issues.

I find the "button", which is not a button but another page and get the last form and turn it in.  NOW, 3 weeks into school, my Stafford Loan is on the way.  One minor glitch, this school likes to deduct your Pell Grant and Scholarships from your Federal Loans so they are not going to give me the amount requested or that I accepted.   They explain alot, but not what I'm asking and a lady who thinks she thoroughly explained things before interrupts a conversation I'm having with someone else and yells at me and wants to know why we are having the same conversation and why I'm even asking again.  (To myself... is there a question quota or do you think everyone has total recal or are you just a royal "b"?)

My mistake, I thought Financial Aid was a University Department that existed to HELP the student body.  Just because one person understands, doesn't mean  everyone else will, does, should or can.  That's why we sometimed ask again. 
Ya think her degree is rudeness or "i don't give a damn"?   

So the Director of Finanial Aid is trying to explain that this is not their their responsibility, they have no control over the standards they set and avoiding like the plague answering why they won't give me a loan they made me sign for or why they deducted grants and scholarships from my Federal Loans...and blah blah blah.  I'm so pissed I'm bawling.  Nice impression, but my loan is my loan, that's it and I still am not getting the loan and now I despise these people and I'm sure they feel the same about me.  I found them very disengaged, and lacking any compassion. 

I'm now in a scramble to figure out how  to support myself and stay in school with one job who can't seem to give you a schedule a week in advance & the other job who is giving me as many hours as they can.  I hate parts of this school because they are so disengaged.  I'm hating that a couple of my teachers think they are above answering questions.  I will never trust that University doctor.  I could, bu won't file a complaint against the teacher who was a jerk, because she didn't mean to be.  I AM going to the President to straighten out financial aid and file a complaint on the lady who thinks 2 questions are 1 too many.  The University exists for students & she is part of that process.  I'm tired of excuses about how it could be worse.  I'm disgusted that the Director of Financial Aid's solution for my financial situation was to drop classes and lower financial aid and move into student housing raising my rent.  How does he think increasing expenses and lowering aid makes it easier to live?  Clearly, not a math major....and no concern for the difficulties encountered.  What a warm fuzzy cactus.

I worked my ass off to get into college, it's my last semeser a sophomore.  I'm making A's.  I just got offered another small scholarship.  Then my 2nd job  slammed some new girl who has been there a week into a "lead" role where she immediately violates company policy by wanting to text and call me everyday for work.  OMG... GET A SCHEDULE. 

I'm drowning in paperwork after lost, missing and bad information.  Hell, studying is the easy part. Which I now need to go do because I have 2 tests next week. 

If I was 19, I would have just quit.  The hard part about college is navigating the politics and administration, not the actual course ...for the most part.  My recommendation is double check everything and ask until you are satisfied you understand CLEARLY and know what to expect.  I'm so frustrated I want to quit, but I'm so mad that anyone would tell me to quit, give up, or give in.  It's been hard to focus on "education" this last couple of weeks.  But, I'm trying my very best. 

And of course, I'm waiting patiently on that review at the end of each class of  my professor's.  The rest of the elephant, I'm eating one bite at a time and I'm really full  It's a University, a learning environment.... .. how ironic that so few are willing to actually learn from their environment. 

Off to study and rethink my desire to teach.