Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'd Love to Read To You Honey, But First Mommy's Got To Deal With Her Rage and Get Out of the Seventh Circle of Hell

I thought it was a simple idea: call the college advising office to make an appointment to meet with an adviser who would look at my particular circumstance and answer questions concerning the endeavor I am trying to undertake which involves payment of money to their institution in order that I have classes and papers and tests. In return, the college in question would present me with a square of paper certifying my obtained wisdom.

I have an Associate's Degree plus lots of credits from a community college from way long ago. I want to finish my Bachelor's Degree. According to the adviser at PSU that I met with back in 2002 I found out that, after a math class or two, I can enter as a Junior. I wondered if this would be the same with the local college, however, this would prove to be harder to find out that I originally thought.

The advising office of the college in question - OSU (Oregon State University) Cascades - does not want to meet with me until I apply. Apply for WHAT, is what I want to know. I need to talk and ask questions, why is this unable to occur before an application is submitted? Are there vast numbers of meeting-askers who don't end up going to the school, thereby consuming a corresponding vast number of advising time? Or what???

Two weeks ago I went to the college fair at the fairgrounds and obtained a brochure onto which an actual adviser printed her phone number. I called this adviser and left a voicemail. (This is the very same adviser for whom I had left a voicemail for in previous weeks and who hadn't returned my call. At this point, my optimism was dented, but not shattered.) She didn't call back that day. I called again the next day, and then she did call back. For this first returned call, I was on the phone with the veterinarian about my cat's continuing diarrhea. I would have answered the phone immediately because I knew that if I didn't, it would only end up to be more phone tag but, you know, DIARRHEA. tag....blah blah blah...the phone rang, it was her. I answered and stupidly thought I was on my way toward planning my triumphant return to college. Did I mention that it was a stupid assumption?

"No," she said, "It's better if you register and ONLY THEN will I bother with you, you worthless piece of sh#t."*

That was yesterday.

Today, I gathered my strength and called the main advising number and asked the receptionist for an appointment with an adviser. I told her I knew where I wanted to end up - Master of Arts in Teaching from George Fox - and that I had credits and an Associate's Degree, but I needed to find out about which Bachelor's Degree I should look into, as well as the minors offered by their partner colleges and where I should begin. I said I didn't need my transcripts gone over except informally, because I wnated to map out a course of action now, then apply and register for whatever math class I probably needed in the winter.

It's confusing because OSU Cascades is OSU in partnership with the UO and COCC (Central Oregon Community College) to offer classes to the communities in Central Oregon. It's nice, in theory. I wonder if people actually get to attend school? Judging from my own cursory experience and difficulty to begin to find out information and plan a course of action, my guess is, not many.

It turns out the receptionist, Snotty McSnottypants, earned her nickname after telling me I "wasn't giving her enough information to know who to transfer me to." This, after I spent several sentences detailing justification for facetime with the adviser.

You know, now that I can see more than just the color red I can see her point. Here I was calling the college's advising office and inconveniencing her with my inane insistence to meet with a qualified person to work out my COLLEGE PLAN, and yet? I don't remember her asking the right questions to elicit the right information. I don't remember it, because it never happened! I dumbly figured she could understand the degree-seeking, question-asking, action-plan-goal-making kinds of words I used but BARRING THAT FREAKISH OCCURRENCE, then she would be able to ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AND DROP THE ATTITUDE ALREADY since she works in the advising office and does this every day, and I don't.

Guess who she transferred me to? You're going to get this right because this is how these things work. If you said, the adviser who doesn't want to meet with unapplied students? You'd be right. Because they are not really students until they've applied.

So I hung up. I just couldn't deal with her YET AGAIN telling me to f*&% off. One time per day is my limit, thanks.

P.S. George Fox MAT program advisers? Are happy to meet with you, even if you do not yet have your Bachelor's Degree. Raise your hand if this makes you want to move to Newberg and go to George Fox University.

* Loose interpretation of actual comments, however, extremely accurate as an overtly implied sentiment.


Mark said...

My sympathies on your well-written tale of woe. This may not be worth much, but it's all I have.

I, too, expect people to really try to do their jobs in a useful and helpful way. Sometimes I think that is asking too much, based on how some "service" people treat my inquirires.

One technique that I think often gets assistance is to appear quite helpless. Ask them -- "what would you do in my situation?" This sometimes gets them to engage with you in solving the problem, rather than you just being another item on their to-do list.

Melissa said...

Oh, OG. I'm sorry. My mom spent much of her professional career trying to convince administrators and professors to stop being such dicks to students.

I hope you get some answers soon!

Amy said...

You had me at diarrhea.

Jen said...

I hope it all gets worked out. btw... tag! :)

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