The Tenth Circle of Hell Is University Administrative Offices
I start my classes on Monday. This is a good thing. Not such a good thing was the realization that I start classes in a little over a week and haven't received my books yet.
My university has a book grant for undergraduates, so they are supposed to send my books automatically to me. Three weeks had passed since my financial aid was awarded, so I was starting to get worried.
So I emailed the materials department and was informed that they were waiting for the financial aid department. So I emailed financial aid and was informed that they had to removed the hold on my account after getting my award. So I called financial aid to ask, "WtH is the hold-up? My financial aid has been approved for three weeks and I start classes in (now) one week!"
I was told that they were still working on August admissions and to call back at the end of the week.
I called back at the end of the week and got passed around a bit before finding a person willing to help me ... if "help" counts as (very obviously) reading a statement off of a paper about the "financial aid process." Which pretty much boiled down to:
- My semester starts on Monday, August 5.
- The financial aid department has until Wednesday, August 7 to finish processing my financial aid so that I can
- enter my virtual classrooms and
- have my books sent.
What can a person say to that? It was pretty clear that the person I was talking to could and/or would not do anything to alleviate this, so I reconciled myself to the fact that the first contact my professors were going to have from me was going to be a whiny email begging to "make an exception" for me because I have suffered so much and "it's not my fault." Of course. (It never is.)
Throughout my career as a student, I have despised that kind of student. The girl who won the English Department's award in high school was one such student. Our senior-year AP course, she whined the entire year to the teacher about every assignment, claimed we were "overwhelmed" and "couldn't we have more time?" and so on. I was one of two recipients of the Department's honorable mention award that year, and I did my work on time and without complaint. Still bitter? Naaaah ...
I have never in nineteen years of formal education wheedled myself extra time or special treatment on an assignment. So I wasn't keen on having to do it now, especially since such begging and pleading would be my first impression with those instructors and not exactly what I had in mind.
Alas--whether because I'd achieved Thorn in the Side status from having called the financial aid office so much or because of sheer coincidence--I received notification about two hours later that all of my financial aid information had been processed; my books would be sent, and I would be free to attend my classes the first day. Yippee.
But seriously. I would love to attend a university where the administrative staff actually have half a clue what is going on. When I was attempting to get my UMBC credits transferred to the Current University (which I had to do before I could register), then I was in touch with numerous people about whether they could handle my AP test scores first just so that I could register for classes in my major. I didn't really care how they handled my other classes or how long it took; I just wanted to register for English classes. First, they failed to send for my transcripts or UMBC failed to send them. Not sure which; both point fingers at the other, of course. The Current University wouldn't review my AP scores--which they'd, by then, received (because I ordered them rather than trusting someone else to do it)--until the transcripts were received. UMBC sends transcripts in no more than three days; after a month passed with no transcripts, I begged, "Could I send my own transcripts?" which I wanted to do in the first place but was not allowed to do. I offered to overnight them just so that they could put a tick mark in the necessary box to let me register for English courses.
The person I spoke to enthusiastically told me that, "Yes! Do that, and we'll get it taken care of right away!"
So I spent $12 to overnight ship a freakin' letter ... and they still failed to credit me for my AP scores in time to register for classes that semester.
*throws hands in the air*
Recall that administrative incompetence was the reason that Bobby and I never ended up starting the program for our Biology degrees. After failing to send us any information at all about registering, when we inquired, we were told (rather rudely) that we were too late and should have registered weeks ago. This was Towson University. Bobby has his BS is Political Science from Towson University. There was no way for us to register for classes without receiving approval and login information from the second bachelor's program, which we never did, and so were out an enrollment fee, not to mention behind a semester in our goals, because no one could remember to send us the necessary information or even to acknowledge and apologize for their error. As it was, it was something we just never got around to pursuing again, sadly.
UMBC was always pretty good about things; I have no complaints about them except that their freshman advisement sucked and I ended up taking a maths course that I already had AP credit for because I was "ill-advised," so to speak. But UMBC is a speshul place. They didn't have a football team but, dangnabit, my freshman year they were celebrating their fourth Pan-American Chess Championship in a row! If UMBC offered an online English degree, I'd be geeking it up with them again.
Anyway, I suspect that the next rigmarole will concern my books. I got notification today that my books for two classes have been sent. About half of the books are listed as "used." I have no problem with used books, but I do have a problem with books that other people have scribbled and highlighted in. I don't write in my own books, and I sure don't want to have to read around other peoples' scrawls. If this is the case, I will buy my own books, thank you kindly.
Yes, I am full of complaints today.