Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's official, not like the last time...

According to my online Towson Account, I have officially been awarded a Master of Arts (woo hoo!). Sorry the picture is blurry, it's the best I could do. Now I'm just waiting for it to arrive in the mail!

This was a welcome sight, especially for those of you who remember what happened last time I graduated...or didn't graduate. If you need a refresher, or haven't heard the story, here is the story of how I didn't graduate with my Bachelor's.

One sunny day in the summer of 2008, I received a letter in the mail from Towson University, stating that there was an audit of my completed credits, and according to their files, I did not have the necessary number of credits to graduate. Mind you, I had already crossed the stage and was set to start graduate school in the fall. Knowing that this was all a mix up, I immediately called the registrars office.

Let's call the lady that answered the phone, Betty. She will be a lot of this story.

Ring Ring
Betty: Hello, how can I help you?
Jenna: Hi there, I received a letter in the mail saying I didn't graduate, but this can't be possible. I've calculated my credits every semester.
Betty: Alright, let me take a look at your account
typing typing typing
Well Jenna, it appears you have 119 credits. You need 120 to be awarded a degree.
Jenna: WHAT???
Betty: Why don't you come to the office, and we can look at options for you to get that final credit.
Jenna: I'll be there in 10 minutes.

At this point I was frantic. I texted Craig and Alex because they always calm me down.

I drove to Towson, and walked through parts of Enrollment Services that I never knew existed. Finally, I found Betty's office. I stormed in told her I had to graduate. However this happened, it needed to right itself quick so I could start graduate school and a graduate assistantship. SHe explained the only way for me to get credits fast was to take a CLEP exam. Basically a subject based test (like the ACTs) that if you passed, gave you two credits. While it was the middle of summer and the last thing I wanted to do was take a test, I didn't really have much of an option.

Betty started me on the paperwork and processed the $75 price of the test and looked through the testing schedule. The only test available in the short time I needed was Calculus.

I think I might have started crying at that point. Or maybe it was just in my head. Either way, it was a sad moment.

In high school the highest math I completed was Pre Calculus. In college, I took Math 105 - an open note, open book, open professor class for all assignments and tests. We learned probability. Simple Interest. Things I learned in middle school. There was no way I was going to pass a Calculus test in 3 days.

Betty assured me that I could find books to use to study in the library, and I would be fine. I somehow went along with Betty's attitude and was going to take this test. I needed to graduate.

After finishing the paperwork, Betty wanted to introduce me to Alice who would actually be administering the test, so I wouldn't be any more nervous to take the test. Betty walked me to Alice's office. We introduced ourselves and then Alice realized she was off, and Susan would actually be administering the test, so I should go meet her.

Again walking all over the concrete building, Betty finds Susan's office and we introduce each other. Susan invites me into her office and asks me to tell her why I am taking this CLEP exam. I start telling her the whole story and reiterate how this is preposterous and I know I should have more than 120 credits.

Susan: Jenna, were you in good standing with the Mass Communication department?
Jenna: Yes, I think so.
Susan: Great, hang on a second.
She picks up the phone and calls Jim. (Don't ask, I don't know who Jim is)
Susan: Hi Jim, I have Jenna Blair here, and she needs to graduate. Oh yes? It's a credit issue. Ok. Yes. Great. Thanks, Jim.
She starts typing away on her computer
Susan: Congratulations, Jenna! You just graduated!
Jenna: ?
Susan: Looks like you can go cancel that Calculus test!
Jenna: With pleasure!

I walk back to Betty's office to cancel that crazy test.

Jenna: Guess What?
Betty: I don't know, what?
Jenna: I graduated!
Betty: Oh, Jenna, I'm so happy for you!

And she gets up from around her desk and gives me a giant hug.

So that children, is the story of how I graduated from Towson University, the first time. Let's see what happens this time!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Food for thought

I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place, when they can fly all over the Earth. Then I ask myself the same question.