Monday, August 27, 2012

Asked to update

I don't know that this has ever actually happened before. VW is special and not just because she has the same initials as my car.

My semester started a week ago and I have gone all emo kid or something because of it. The world is ending. Pain and death. First world problems coming out my ears.

I have never had a good experience registering through UCDenver. I live 2 time zones away, I have to do everything online, and since everything I do is online I get special privileges and have to fill out special forms to prove that I am special. I've got special freaking little snowflake written all over me. I can't sneak in to a class to force my presence to be accepted on the roster, I can't walk over and hand people papers or confront them face to face for information. It makes things easier and it makes them harder. It is just different.

So at the end of last semester I registered for this and it only took two weeks to get all of the paperwork through. Amazing. I was overjoyed. Until a week before classes when I checked my roster and discovered I was only enrolled in one class. One of my classes got dumped due to under enrollment and no one notified me. I was floating around below full time status which screws up my loans. I HAD to add a class.

The class that was canceled also happens to be a class that I got a C in. Meaning it doesn't count towards my degree. Meaning I have to take it over again if I want it to count for anything. And I want it to count. I very much wanted to take the class because I LOVED the class the first time around and it directly and concretely connects to a project I am working on. Coursework and real work can be the same thing. And it is only offered in the fall so if I want to take it again I am constrained to wait until next fall and fingers crossed it will have enough students to run.

The course I most wanted to take was canceled and I needed to pick up another class. This combination short circuited my logic processors and I was in all go no quit freak out mode trying to figure out a new solution to my life. I added the two other GIS courses that were offered this semester so that I would be full time for sure and then spent a day trying to figure out when and how I could graduate.

There is a nasty little intertwinedness with my other degree going on here. I took more than enough classes to graduate from UMass and even enough classes to earn a GIS certificate. I have not managed to slog through my thesis or I would have that degree. I was going to shift some courses over to UCDenver. But the more I play around with this idea the less freeing it becomes. It does not significantly speed things up and it puts other things in danger of not happening. It gets very messy. Each semester I back away a little more from that option. But I have taken enough courses that I should be able to waive a few courses at UCD and fill them with electives. The two classes I added in a panic are the 2 that I could waive. But I decided to get over it, take an easy semester. Figure out my schedule and go. One day thrown at planning and replanning.

But the panic and general wrongness didn't subside as the days ticked off. My first Tuesday night class was canceled. I didn't get any information about the when or wheres for another class until Thursday morning. And somewhere in there I got an email from a fellow online MEng-GIS accomplice about which classes he is taking. One of them is through the business school and surprise! it counts as an elective in our program. 

I had been considering adding a certificate to my degree. I had and still have no idea if this is actually practically useful. Does it mean anything? Is it a waste of money? Can I make it happen? I cast several emails to the four winds and the carrier pigeons have yet to return. (One came in while I was writing this with hopeful and helpful information!) The class my friend is taking is the first course needed to start the certificate program.

That spurred me in to a second day of planning panic. I had considered taking all of the courses towards the certificate if I wanted it AFTER I did everything I could towards the GIS part of the degree. One thing at a time. Eat the peas, then the potatoes, then the steak. Order. But when I started over my schedule again I discovered that I could graduate a semester earlier if I mixed things up. Stew. Mixed food. Hrumph.

So I charged in to the virtual admissions office and said sign me up for any of the Information Systems courses that are currently being offered. And was told no. The class I should take first was full. Wait-list running even. I consigned myself to the anonymity of the wait-list. I'd never been on a wait-list before. It felt lonely and cold. I wasn't even number one on the wait list. I was number two. Second rate waiter. That's what I was. Woe is me. I checked my wait list status every hour I was home. On Friday I magically discovered that I had slipped into the first position. I was the number one waiter. This gave me an undue amount of hope. I was the champion of waiters and I would wait with authority. Checking every half-hour. Or maybe every 15 minutes! I begrudingly went to babysit Friday night and had to leave my OCD post of hitting refresh like breathing. I got home late and before I went to bed I indulged one last time to check. I was in the class.

The other course that I could take (no pre-requisites required) wasn't even supposed to be offered this semester. I called to ask about it and surprised people. And I got passed around a bunch. Lovely people. (Everyone I talk to at UCD is lovely. I want to be friends with all of them.) The end result was that an email was sent to some person who knows everything to ask whether a Hybrid (on campus/online mix) course could be taken by the likes of me (all online) and would that effect my tuition and could anything be done about this. I got my final answer this morning. Yes I can take the course with the instructors permission (got that), yes it will change my tuition slightly (charged full out of state tuition for all courses plus on campus fees on the assumption that I will come to campus at some point during the semester, also vaccinations required and please get health insurance- aka NOT A slight CHANGE), and no there is nothing that can be done to waive any fees or requirements because they are based on class not student. So I will not be taking that course.

And now I am in a strange other position. I have to drop at least one class. Top on my list is the intro class in which I will learn very little. It also happens to be taught by my adviser. And whereas I thought my adviser was much older than me. He's not. He's not much older than me at all. That is very strange to me. I emailed him about my new course of action and I have yet to hear back. Is he angry that I would drop is course? I have no idea. I am dropping it regardless. I will "attend" today I think and then drop it. I am still considering dropping the other course. I think I will keep it. I go back and forth. But I attended one round of it and I think it will be ok. With or without it I could still graduate by the end of next fall.

Why is there so much doubt and fear here? And why did I slip into panic mode? Not entirely sure. I think it stems from having no concrete schedule all summer though I craved it. I was so hopeful to nail some things down. School is also something very important to me and something I feel like I should absolutely be doing right now, but it pulls me away from doing other things with other people who I am also invested in. Most everyone I run around with is free in the evenings or Saturday morning/early afternoon. These happen to be the most likely times for me to be in class. This is hard and somewhat scary. I have been looking at what disconnection can do to relationships and I absolutely do not want that. So I think more than anything I was desperate to figure out my school schedule so that I could fix times each week to see the people I need to see.

I think my mind hovered around my fear. Not naming or claiming it but shrouding it. What if being a student gets in the way of being a disciple. I will give it up if I have to but I absolutely don't want to. What if I can only pick two of student, disciple, employed. Which is more important...student or employed. I came to this semester, this "problem" expecting that I would have to give something up and that it would be hard. I took this for granted. So I am waiting and dreading what the "giving up and letting go" will look like. But in reality I might NOT have to give something up. Somewhere in there too is the fact that I really want to work somewhere and I am afraid they will turn me down. I have been turned down for almost every job I ever honestly applied for whether or not I was qualified. If I never apply to this place I can never be turned down. But I need a job and I want this job and I think I would be good at it. And my roommate picked me up an application today too.

So that is where I am at. I never switched degrees. I may or may not have added something. The world is not ending. I was worried and things got uncomfortable. But that is a far cry from everything being ruined for forever.


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