I hate jumping through hoops. I despise red-tape. Red-tape is the devil! The devil, I tell you! I’ve had to deal with rather a lot of it lately. I’ve recently decided that I’m going back to school. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going back to school FOR, but I’m going. On Tuesday, I learned that even though I am 33 years old, and have been to college at least three different times, I don’t know shit about getting into school.
After high school, there was no question about me going to college. I’m not sure that I was aware that there even could be a question about it. I applied to Valdosta State University, got accepted, and when it was time, my parents drove me down to Valdosta and left me there. Of course, I had no clue about how many hours they had spent trying to figure out all of that Financial Aid bullshit that I’m currently dealing with. I’m sure there was more involved, even on my own part, but all I really remember about it is getting accepted, getting pissed off that I didn’t get the dorm or roommate that I requested, doing ALOT of shopping and then moving out of my parents house for the first (but certainly not the last) time in my life. That was all followed very quickly by finding out that I was sharing a room (first and last time I have ever shared a room with anyone but Hubbo) with a Japanese exchange student, coming to the screeching halt of a revelation that I was not ready for college and managing to flunk out in one short semester. Yeah, I probably could have gone back another semester and tried to turn it around, but like I said, I was oh-so-far from being remotely ready for being on my own.
My first semester at VSU was the first time in my life that I was responsible for getting myself up in the morning. It was the first time that I’d ever had to do my own laundry, feed myself, make sure that I got where I needed to be on time… Let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly prepared for it. I would have had much more success if I had stayed home and gone to the local community college, where I eventually ended up anyway. But no, MamaGirl listens to no one, especially at 17 years old. I wasn’t even MamaGirl back then, but if you think I’m head-strong now, you should have seen me back in the day. I’ve managed to temper it a bit with age.
So, here I am. I’m going back to school. I’m trying to figure out which hoops to jump through and what pieces of red-tape to cut up. And I hate red-tape. I despise it. Have I made that clear? I spent this morning in the Student Services building. I had to take my placement test. I also have a raging sinus infection and I feel like complete crap. But I need to get this done and I was feeling the “want to get this over with” more than the sinus pain. So, armed with Sudafed, cough drops and tissue, off to take the test I went. I only had to take the Math portion because I already have plenty of English credits. I blew the roof of it. Duh. The advisor I spoke to after that told me that I did better on it sick than she would have done healthy. HA! However, the entire process is stalled because they haven’t received my high school transcripts. I explain that I requested them weeks ago and that they should be received soon. Advisor lady says:
“Okay, I’ll write on here that they’ve been requested, go on down to Financial Aid“.
Yay! I’m getting somewhere, right? Wrong. Financial Aid lady says:
“Sorry, we can’t move forward without the transcripts.”
These two women work down the hall from each other. Really? They have no idea how each others jobs work?? Anyway… so I ask Financial Aid Lady what I’m supposed to do because the lady at my high school who handles that is out for the summer and the lady who does it for her in the summer is on vacation (clearly I’ve already talked to the high school a few times.) And she says:
“Well, when is she supposed to be back from vacation?”
Now, those of you who know me, know that it took every ounce of power in my being not to scream,
“I don’t fucking know lady! I’m not her goddamn calendar!”
Instead of screaming that at this poor defenseless lady who simply could not have known how frustrated I already am with this process, I just said,
“Can I have them fax the transcripts to you?”
Financial Aid Lady looks at me and says,
“Oh, I don’t know if we can receive faxed transcripts. You’ll have to ask someone at the Service Desk.”
“Where is the Service Desk?”
“Halfway back down the hall from where you just came.”
ARE YOU FREAKIN SERIOUS!!?? Really? I have to go halfway back down this hallway, to ask a question, that it seems perfectly reasonable to me that someone on either end of the freaking hallway should be able to answer. Bureaucracy at it’s finest, people. Truly. So, I go down the hall. Apparently, it’s pretty evident from the look on my face that I’m pissed, because when I snap “Can I ask you a question?” at the poor little guy behind the service desk, he just about pees on himself.
“Can you receive faxed transcripts?”
“Uh… I don’t know, let me go ask my boss.” He runs like there’s a rabid dog on the other side of the desk. He comes back, “Yes, we can receive faxed transcripts. Do you need the fax number?”
“YES!” (No dude, I just know it by heart.)
“Uh… let me go ask someone in Admissions.”
So, by the time that I get home, my head is just about to pop off of my body! I am so frustrated and pissed off that it takes 20 minutes of yelling at to Hubbo, a phone call to my mother and a phone call to the best friend, to get me calmed down enough to think about calling my damn high school. But of course, they are out to lunch. An hour later, I manage to get a hold of the person who clearly wins least competent employee at my high school. She puts me on hold three times before she lets me finish explaining what the situation is. So, after I finally manage to get across to her what it is that I need. She proceeds to tell me that she can’t find any evidence that my transcripts have been sent OR that they had received the request for them. Then she hits me with,
“Well, I’ll go find them and mail them. What’s the address you want them mailed to?‘
“I don’t know! It’s written on the transcript request that I sent to you!”
“Well, you want to call me back when you find that address then?”
So, I said “YES! THANKYOU!” and hung up before I started imagining her head spontaneously combusting!
Within ten minutes, a different, very nice lady called me back and said that she HAD received that request AND that she had sent the transcripts over two weeks ago. Bless her heart, I imagine that the first lady I talked to probably went to her and said something to the effect of “This woman is pissed off and we need to find her transcripts.” (But probably not quite that nice, I’m making myself feel a little better here.) Because second lady was very, very helpful and offered to not only mail them again but to also fax them for me.
So, I waited a while and called the college to see if they had received them. And by Golly!, they have! Wow! Amazing how when you get really pissed off and start yelling at people, they actually jump up and do their damn jobs! So, now I’ve been told that they have everything in hand that they need and I can come back and try to start this whole financial aid/school admissions process all over again. Of course, I’m no dummy, I know damn well that when I get back up there, there’s going to be SOMETHING that I haven’t done or they haven’t received. And there is the distinct possibly that by the time I finally, actually get through this process, everyone in that building will hate me. But BY GOD, I’m going to school, COME HELL, HIGH WATER, OR INSTITUTIONAL BULLSHIT!!
Update: I went back to the school because I really needed to get all of this done TODAY. I apologized to Financial Aid Lady for being snappy this morning and explained that I talked with someone who said that they HAD received the transcripts. She pulls it up in the computer and says:
“Who did you talk to?”
“Uh… someone in Admissions.”
Of course I don’t know WHO I talked to, these people never identify themselves. I assume this is so that all of the incorrect information that they give out can’t be traced back to them.
“I’m going to have to go talk to them aren’t I?”
“Yeah. It’s not that I don’t believe you, but we are dealing with the Federal Government here.”
So, I go to Admissions. Guess where it is. About halfway down that same damn hallway. I am appalled by the lack of effort these people put in to their jobs. I’m willing to bet that Financial Aid Lady know Admissions Lady’s extension by heart. If not, I’m sure it’s on a little directory right there on her desk. But I’m determined that this is getting done today and so off to Admissions I go. I explain the situation (yet again) to Admissions Lady. She says:
“Yes, they are in there.”
“Financial Aid Lady says they’re not.”
I wait approximately a minute and half and she says:
“Okay, they’re in there now. Sometimes I forget to push Save & Update.”
Back to Financial Aid. I tell her that the transcripts are indeed in the computer now. She pulls them up, makes a copy, and says:
“Okay, that’s it. Now we play the waiting game. Give us 2-3 weeks.”
Okay, that’s it? THAT’S IT??? I spent all day running around, making phone calls, pleading, crying, cussing and working my butt off to accomplish what amounted to the sending of a fax and the pushing of a button. Bureaucracy at it’s best.