"What a day this has been
"What a rare mood I'm in
"Why it's almost like being
"in THE SEVENTH CIRCLE OF HELL!"
-- with apologies to Alan Jay Lerner
If I ever decide to go back to school yet again, please, somebody: bash me upside the head with a shovel. Okay, if that's too violent for you, at least tell me -- nay, order me -- to burn all of my transcripts and start from zero. Take English 101, embrace Computer Literacy for Complete Idiots, and enter joyfully the classroom wherein Bonehead Math is taught. Because doing otherwise involves pain and aggravation on the order of crawling naked across broken glass through flaming walls of rabid rattlesnakes.
We re-join this comedy of transcript errors where we left it yesterday: on the doorstep of the Advising Office. I got there shortly after 8, and there were already several people ahead of me. After puzzling over which box to check under "What do you need today," I settled in for a relatively brief wait. Right when "Bucket List" was getting to the part of the movie dealing with the actual bucket list, my vibrating coaster went off, and off I went to see an Advisor.
Actually, there was a group of three of us to talk with Ms. Advisor One, all with prior college classes, but with different problems. The woman who was going to study Child Development had a lot of trouble navigating the online registration process. The other woman, who was enrolling in some kind of health care program, had questions about withdrawn classes on her transcript. And then there was me: the big ol' problem child.
If there's one thing I'm going to have to learn (above and beyond math skills I've long forgotten, and, once re-learned, I will never use again) it's to shut up and let people do their jobs. It was probably a good thing that I kept correcting Advisor One, who was determined to type "1997" instead of "1977" in relation to my transcripts. That 20 year discrepancy might have caused trouble. But interrupting Advisor Two and telling him that Advisor One had already checked the Database That Holds All Class Descriptions and hadn't found mine was not so good. He paused, looked at me, and said, very very politely, "I'm looking up the file with your transcript in it to print it out." Oh. Sorry. Shutting up, sir.
After disentangling my foot from my tonsils, I left the hallowed hall of Advisement having learned the following things:
1. Nobody knows why the transcript-analyzing person skipped over my Freshman English class. An email was sent asking that another look be taken so as to give me proper credit.
2. Advisor One thought Advisor Two would be able to decide whether my Government and Speech classes were acceptable substitutes for Hoth's required courses. Advisor Two said, no, he couldn't, not without a copy of the relevant descriptions from my Alma Mater's 1977 catalog. Which I have to hunt down and provide to him. And while I was at it, I'd better get the description of the English class, just in case. (Shouldn't that be his job? I'll do it, but ... c'mon.)
3. There was no point in taking the computer literacy test, because the results wouldn't matter. The Paralegal program requires its students to take the basic computer skills class, or take a CLEP test to prove they don't need to. Taking the CLEP test requires visits to three different offices to collect signatures (shades of service sorority rush!), payment of a $25 fee, and the purchase of the software needed to take the test. Total cash outlay: about $50. Total aggravation factor: a plus 6. Not to mention that I might not pass the test, and therefore would be out the portrait of President Grant, and still have to pay for, and take, the class.
4. Not only is there no way out of taking the required Algebra class, I must (the actual words Advisor One used were "I strongly suggest") take a math skills placement test - a.k.a. the math portion of "Accuplacer". This is a non-timed test that starts easy and gets harder and harder until the program decides you've reached your level of incompetence and stops torturing you. For me, this should be right around question 4, or whenever they start asking about percentages. You think I'm kidding? In my senior year of college, when everybody was getting their GRE results, we'd compare scores. I opened my envelope and saw that I'd achieved the 91st percentile in Language, the 98th percentile in Analytical Reasoning, and [drum roll, please] the 37th percentile in Math. "What does that mean," a friend asked me. I replied, "It means that -- um ... ...uh -- seventy-something percent of the people who took the test did better than me in Math. What? Why are you all rolling around on the floor and laughing?"
So my tasks are laid out for me: call my undergraduate institution and ask for course descriptions, figure out when to fit that computer course into my schedule, and start studying up on how to divide fractions, plot equations, and answer questions like "32 is 40% of what number?"
I just broke out in hives.