So when I decided to go back to school in the Spring of 2013, the goal at the time was to get a degree in Management and the only way to achieve that was to enroll at American River College and then transfer to a University. Over the years, I have attempted this twice, ones in the early 90’s and once a few years ago and each time, problems during the application process left me feeling rejected and ultimately giving up. In some ways, I think the process of applying for financial aid and enrolling in classes is designed to weed out most people by handing them rejection, after rejection until they just give up. I know it sounds like some paranoid conspiracy theory but looking at how often problems arise and how kludged together the system is. Let’s start with paying for classes, at one time, I paid for a full semester of classes that I was enrolled in before I got approved for the Board Of Governors (BOG) Fee waiver using my credit card so that I would not be dropped from the classes. I was told that the fees had to be paid at the time you enrolled or you would be dropped from the classes. When the BOG Waiver was applied, the funds were credit back to my account, but I was not informed of this fact. I forgot about it in the rush that is the start of a new semester.
When I checked my account at the start of the next semester, there were no funds there. When I looked back through the “history” of the transactions, I saw them add the funds back, but then they took them away. Basically, they said that since I did not ask for them back, they were going to keep them. Somehow, in January when I did the FASFA for the school year, I neglected to renew the BOG Waiver request and did not get one for the Summer 2014 or Fall 2014 semesters and nothing alerted me to the problem. I enrolled for the classes that I needed to transfer in the Spring 2015 semester and waited for the Summer 2014 semester to start. On the first day of classes, I logged in to see what my first class was only to come to the stark realization that I had been dropped from all of my classes. After spending three hours going from different offices on campus, I reapplied for the BOG Waiver but still had not enrolled in any classes because all of the ones I wanted were full and I was not on the waiting lists when I was dropped. My enrollment was early and I got in to all the classes I wanted. I almost gave up when I found out that I had been dropped but I was also helping Riddler navigate this same process, so if I gave up, he might do so also.
So, I went to the Political Science Class and sat in a desk in the back by the door. As the class filled up, and the teacher made everyone not on the rolls or in the class stand up. I stayed in the class and when the teacher began to ask questions, I raised my hand. Every time. I participated and made sure that the teacher realized that I would be that guy, the guy who participated. At the end of the class, she added a bunch of people and I was not one of them. She suggested we come to the next class, and I did and I participated again. At the end of the second class, I still had not gotten a number and I wasn’t sure I was going to continue but then realized I had already been to two classes, one more wouldn’t hurt. There were 8 other people wanting to Add and only 4 spots after the third class and the first quiz the 4th class. The teacher personally handed me an Add code at the end of class before calling the other 3 lucky winners to the front of the class. I had gotten in.
The other class that I wanted in was Astronomy and that class was also full. This class was only two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I went to the first class and did not win the 20 sided die roll for a Add code. Notice the nerdiness factor for this class, the teacher needed a multi-sided die to handle the add codes and a student had one in their pocket. It wasn’t really a shock, as it is science after all. I got an Add code for the class after the class yesterday, so I am now in both of the classes that I wanted to get in to. I persevered and ignored the stinging feeling of rejection that arose when I found out I had been dropped from all of my classes. I still haven’t done anything about the Fall 2014 semester yet because I am still deeply immersed in the summer semester.
The problem with this hiccough is that it will delay the financial aid that is supposed to fund my books and pay my other associated student fees. This is the part of the process where I am almost certain that other people who made it to this point would begin to drop out and give up. The summer semester is shorter and most classes either meet everyday or for twice as long on the days that they do meet. One week during the summer is equal to two weeks during a normal semester. If you do not have a text book, this could lead to you being behind by two weeks because the Financial Aid does not arrive until the Friday of the first week under ideal conditions. Since I was dropped from all of my classes, mine will be even later, maybe even a week later. This means that I will have to go for the equivalent of the first month of classes without a book.
Luckily, I have made a lot of acquaintances and friends on campus since I started back in January of 2013 and they are understanding of this predicament. Those people who I knew from previous classes that are in this class have already offered to let me use their textbooks. I can just imagine how it must feel to be someone who is totally new and hits this kind of speed bump because really, the only option would be to drop since the Library does not have a copy of either the Political Science or the Astronomy class textbooks for reference. It is as if the system thrives on the students who give up due to all of the rejection and adversity. Remember, books are not the only fee. You have to pay $25 for a parking permit or pay a daily $1 fee. Paying daily sometimes means you have to check every level of the parking garage or multiple parking lots for a ticket machine that is fully functional. Imagine how many students quit because they get a ticket for not having a permit even though all the permit machines in the parking structure are “out of order” in a parking lot that has been open only slightly more then a year.