Sunday, August 19, 2012
Days before my first final (math) at PCOM I found myself once again at Harold Washington. Why? I just found out that I have in fact been denied financial aid via snail mail. How I’m going to make these new payments happen is going to be a God given miracle. I quickly filled out all the paperwork (SO much paperwork!) for the scholarship and now needed my high school transcripts. I walk into the registrar’s office and ask for them. “I’ll be right back.” the man behind the desk tells me and gets up disappearing into a room. I stand and wait. Minutes tick by. He returns without anything in his hands. He mutters something to the lady sitting next to him. She replies with something I don’t understand. Something about files that were placed somewhere else. He leaves again. More minutes tick by. The man returns and says that he can’t find them. Umm…Great. He said that the guy who took them from me originally no longer works there and he doesn’t know what this person did with the transcripts he took. He advises me to ask my high school to fax over my transcripts. Fighting the urge to scream yet again, I remember that PCOM has my transcripts. I leave Harold Washington and get the transcripts from PCOM. Within minutes they produce the transcripts and I go to the school’s library to study for my math exam before Swedish massage class. After a few minutes the numbers seem to all blend together. I pull out my phone and text a co-worker who is also going through the same nightmare I am with registering at Harold Washington. I explain my financial aid crap and she has to do the same. She set up a payment plan which I will have to do as well. As I send another text something dreadful fills my mind. I slam my book shut and race out of the library, then downstairs, then out the door and back over to Harold Washington. Thank God the schools are so close together. What is filling me with utter terror is the fact that I didn’t pay for my classes the day I registered which means I am no longer registered. Which will mean sitting in that wide open ocean of a space hoping there is still room in the classes I need to get in. I don’t have time for this. Not with finals coming up. Not to mention I’m still doing my job. Jeff is in Colorado right now visiting his family, and I miss him. I feel like a fish out of water trying to breathe again. Back at the registrar’s desk I explain my situation to the woman that was helping the guy help me with my transcripts. “This has been an utter nightmare!” I exclaimed to her, knowing this isn’t her fault but I’m coming apart at the seams. “I know honey. I know you’ve had a hard time.” she typed quickly, staring at the computer screen. “Ok, it looks like you’re still registered but I don’t know how long you’ll be in the system. You need to go to the business office and pay for your classes right now.” I thank her and race upstairs to the office. I have exactly sixty minutes before massage class starts. “So, what happened?” the same short haired black woman who stamped my original schedule is staring at me in disbelief. I’m back in the business office explaining my financial aid issue. “I was told I was able to get loans and now, I’ve been told that no, I’m not approved for loans. I need to pay for my classes. Now.” I repeated myself. She gave me a list of instructions including going over to the computers behind me, signing up for automatic payment, putting ten percent down and going to the registration office for a new schedule and bringing it back to her for her to stamp. Within a few minutes online and a few more minutes standing in line, I had my new schedule. “Make sure you come back on August thirteenth to get your student ID. You have to have your schedule with you to get it. OK? Don’t forget.” the woman told me. I thanked her and left, racing over to PCOM for class grateful there was nothing else to do regarding my schedule or registration.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
A In between work and class on Wednesday I raced to Harold Washington to get my placement test results and settle up financial aid stuff. I had already switched everything over on my FAFSA form but wanted to stop by the office to make sure everything was fine. Getting my results took five seconds. I’m able to take college level English and only one remedial math class. YAY!!! I thought I would be stuck taking math forever. My perception changed when I saw that the level of math I would be taking is a high school level class. That is where my education with math stopped. How did I ever expect to take a college level class when I’ve never taken college level math? I found the financial aid office to be rather full. I had an hour before class. I took a number from the machine dispensing them at the door and sat down in a chair against the wall. I briefly stayed motionless feeling boredom creeping into my mind. I pulled out my novel from my purse and got to reading. Half and hour passed. Another fifteen minutes went by and I decided that I would be skipping class. Finally my number was called and I met with an advisor who advised me to pay for classes myself instead of taking out more loans. I know loans are a bad idea but school is stressful enough. I don’t want to be freaking out about money too. I signed some papers, got online to fill out more stuff and when I turned them in she said that I could apply for a scholarship based on my grades from high school. Wow. OK. I left and met up with Jeff. The following Monday I went back to Harold Washington to actually register for classes. I got there half an hour before the doors open and already there was a line of twenty people waiting. Once the doors opened we were separated into two lines. I got to stay in the line of people who had their placement test stuff done already. I thought it would move faster but no. When it was finally my turn, I handed over my paperwork and driver‘s license, beaming at being so super organized. “Is this the address that is on your application?” the woman asked. “No.” I shook my head feeling my chest tighten up. I still have a Georgia license. “You need to have proof of residence to register for classes.” I nearly burst into flames. WHAT?! I wanted to scream. NO ONE TOLD me I would need such documents!!! I calmly stated that and she simply repeated herself asking for a lease or a bill. I left and raced home not believing this was happening, and with tears stinging my eyes. I couldn’t miss another math class. I had about three hours to get home, get the lease, get back downtown and register. The line certainly wasn’t getting any shorter… At home I stormed around the kitchen tearing through a drawer to find our lease. I freaked the cats out with my stomping around and felt guilty about that hoping my neighbors weren’t home. Luckily public transportation was cooperating swimmingly. I caught the bus and train just as they were pulling up. I went back to stand in line, dealing with the same woman from earlier. She looked at my lease, typed some stuff on her computer and handed it back to me. The room was full of people. My anxiety was off the charts. I had no idea what classes I even wanted to take and how it was going to work. A man’s booming voice interrupted my mental freak out. He instructed all of us in the waiting area to move upstairs to continue registration. We all moved at a sloth’s pace out of the room, down the hall and up the stairs to a large open space with tables and chairs set up. The tables were for the advisors, and the rows of chairs for all of us. I sat in the middle of the middle row (I’m all about balance…) with a number I had been given by the woman who needed my lease. I watched the advising process for about a minute before pulling out my novel again. Concentrating was hard though. I was very aware of everything going on around me wondering what was going to happen to my schedule, hoping I wouldn’t have to rearrange work. “I should’ve brought a book.” a woman’s voice said to me. I looked up at a pretty black woman in a red dress with long waist-length braids draped over her shoulders as she sat down next to me. “I’m never without a book!” I laughed. “I’m usually not but today, I don’t know, I just walked out without it.” I smiled and shifted my attention to the addition of even more people joining us filling up neighboring chairs. “We’re gonna be here all day.” she sighed. “I know.” “Did you just graduate high school?” she asked. I laughed and told her no, but didn’t say how long it had been since I had seen my high school days. I went back to my book smiling to myself. Just out of high school I wore a lot of make-up and people thought I was much older. Now I’m doing good to get just the basics on and people think the opposite. In Evanston I am mistaken for being a Northwestern undergrad on a regular basis and I never tire of it knowing it will eventually come to an end. Two hours later my number is called. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to take at that point, having looked over the fall class schedule. I brought PCOM’s requirements with me so I could make sure I take their required courses even though after all that’s happened, I’m not so sure anymore that I’m going to stick with that plan. We’ll see. Of course a lot of classes are full already. I couldn’t quite believe how quickly all that happened. I am able to keep my work schedule in place and register for English 101, Art and Ideas (??) and of course Math 99. We can’t forget that one… “Hmm. This says you were denied financial aid.” my advisor is staring at her computer screen. “I was denied the Pell Grant but I’m taking out loans.” “Maybe that’s it. I don’t know though, I’d check that out if I were you. I’m going to print your schedule.” There is no way I’m denied financial aid… right? I stared at the computer screen. I see the word “denied” but surely that doesn’t pertain to my situation right? The words of another advisor, the one who led us up the stairs to this giant room bounce around in my head. “You must go to the business office after you register. If you don’t pay for your classes they will be dropped in twenty four hours and you will have to register again.” There is also no way I’m going to sit in that financial aid room again. At least not today. I can’t miss another math class at PCOM. Once I have my schedule I walk over to the business office and my schedule is stamped by a black woman with super short hair. “You’re all set.” she smiled, handing over my paperwork. “Thank you.” I returned her smile and left feeling uneasy as I raced over to PCOM. I met with my dean. I explained my situation and said that I was withdrawing. He apologized for the miscommunication and sent me to financial aid to fill out paperwork. Once I got there my head was spinning in all directions. The kind woman explaining everything to me looked at me a little oddly when I asked her to write everything down. I had to get online and do some “exit” stuff through PCOM’s website. “I’m sorry, it’s just been a really long day.” “That’s ok.” she beamed, handing over the slip of paper with my instructions on it. “Thank you.” I stood up and went to class feeling oddly numb for just having withdrawn. Numbers will not come easily..
Friday, August 3, 2012
After all the drama that happened yesterday I decided I needed a yoga class. I got up, got dressed wrote in my my journal for a while as the sun came up, then got dressed and gathered up some recylcing that needing to be taken out. I tossed it all and set out for class. Five minutes into my walk I realized something was missing. Keys. Where are my keys and OMG are they in the recylcing bin?! Did I toss them along with the bags I threw in?! I ran home and yes, scrambled to get through the meager contents on the recyling bin to find that no, my keys weren't there which much mean they're on the little table in my apartment. Of course this is happening while Dana is still in Portland, and I'm currently kicking myself in the teeth for not getting copies made for Jeff. Despite the time difference, I text Dana to get the number of our maintenence guy. She answered right away having been woken up by one of the dogs that belongs to the friend she was staying with. I quickly called him and sat by the stairs of my apartment waiting for just over an hour until he let me in. Yup. Sure enough, the keys were on the table. Of course yoga didn't happen. What did happen though was that Jeff came over and we went to Ipsento for Nutella mochas and breakfast. (Ok, I got the mocha, Jeff got coffee:)) We talked a while and headed over to the Garfield Conservatory where we lost our minds in the gorgeousness that this place is. I've been wanting to come here for quite sometime and never made the time to do it.