Tuesday, September 28, 2004

i rite reel gud

My college career has been a long and unconventional one. I've started and stopped several times. Sometimes it's been my own fault, sometimes the fault of circumstances beyond my control. I went the first time right out of high school like I was expected to. Unfortunately, I majored in beer. No matter. I was young. It was the early 80s. Who needed college? And I didn't for a long time. In between partying I had a decent career as an insurance agent. That lasted for about 10 years and survived a move to another city. Eventually I married again and through him I got into computers. Well, I guess it's more accurate to say that I was drug kicking and screaming into computers, but I am thankful for the ex's "gentle prodding" (oh shut up, I'm not talking about THAT). I moved on from early Internet and online enterprises to a job in technical support. Yup, a call center. Boy do I have stories from that! From there it was on to a help desk and then into a data services department for another company working on databases. Good money, sure, but not my life's work.

All during this time I experienced these weird dreams. Some of them weren't even alcohol induced. In these dreams it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't bothered to graduate from high school. I always woke up panicked until I realized that it was only a dream - I did have my high school diploma and a year's worth of college credits from Beer U. It didn't take a rocket scientist with an advanced degree to figure out that I needed and wanted to go back to school. The guilt was causing me sleepless nights. And let's not even talk about the guilt I felt as I could be the only kid in my family to actually obtain a college degree. Oh of course all my show off cousins had done it. There are some big time investors and wheelers and dealers in that crowd. I was my father's only hope.

After the birth of the Little One in 1994 I decided to go back. I was a single mother through most of this time and I waited tables to make ends meet for myself and the Prince and Princess the whole time I was in school - 2 semesters worth. Unfortunately my new college career was derailed again. I almost lost the Little One to pneumonia. Picked her up from daycare one day with what looked like a cold. She got worse as the night went on and she ended up hospitalized in the PICU. She almost died. It was the worst time of my life, much worse than anything my jerk ex had put me through. This was scary and it was real. School didn't matter anymore.

After C. and I got together in 1998 I finally came clean and told him that I never finished my degree. I thought he'd be disappointed, but he was so supportive. Of course I made all the classic excuses about why I couldn't go back to school. I was too old. I made good money now, albeit in a career I liked but for a company I hated. School was too expensive. We couldn't afford to lose my salary. On and on ad nauseum. Besides, I wasn't even positive that I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. C. was my rock, my cheerleader that gave me the courage to follow my dream. We'd make due. I transferred all my motley credits to the local community college, took a few classes and came out with an AS. HA! A degree. My Dad was proud (hey any degree, even a 2 year one thrilled him). I wasn't done yet, though.

I transferred my AS to my university of choice circa 1994. Yup, I'm back and I will be getting my BA this December. I bet you were wondering when I would get to the point of this post. Well, here it is. Every graduate of my esteemed University is required to take and pass an exit writing exam. It matters not what your major is and if it is writing intensive or not. Dems da rules. I completely understand, though and the exit exam is not my problem. The University wants to make sure that it's graduates can at least write with enough competency to pass a third grade English writing assignment.

The problem arose with the prequisite for the exit exam. You see, everyone coming into the school must take and pass a writing sample placement test. This test is supposed to tell the administration where you need to be placed in English class. You know, 110, 111, 112 or back in 100 and 101 with the other athletes who probably shouldn't have graduated from high school. Here is the problem. I didn't know if I had taken the stupid test or not or if I had somehow missed it, I would be unable to take the exit exam. No matter that I am a Senior with 9 hours left. No matter that my major is history, which is traditionally a writing intensive major. No matter that I have successfully completed (with an A) 4 University designated writing intensive classes. And NO matter that I have graduate classes under my belt thanks to my accelerated Masters program. Dems da rules.

Last Thursday when I went for orientation and registration to take the exit exam, I asked the writing center guy how long they keep the records of people who have taken the sample placement test. He didn't know. In fact he said "Do you remember taking it?" I looked at him like he had three heads. Not only has it been 10 years ago, I have had children who suck out my brain capacity, not to mention the brain cells I have killed on my own. I'm lucky to remember what happened yesterday, much less 10 years ago.

C., who obtained his English degree from this University in the early 90s AND who's father is a professor at said college (it's rotten with us!) attempted to explain why the writing sample placement test is required. Apparently the English Department is all hot for statistics and wants to compare the placement test with the exit exam to trace the progress of students. Yeah. Good. Problem. If I DIDN'T take the stupid test (which I wouldn't have been required to as a transfer student back in the day) I would be required to take it NOW. Before the Exit exam which is scheduled for October 16th. Tell me....how much change am I going to show in less than 3 weeks? How can this do nothing but hurt their numbers? No matter. Dems da rules.

The good news? After getting the run around in the writing department, I found out that I actually took, and passed out of all writing classes except for departmental requirements back in 1995. God love computers.

Rest assured my friends. According to my University, i rite reel gud (so far).


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Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

See my complete profile

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