I Can't Have Everything?
Except. There always has to be one. And of course, it always has to be the one who comes to my little advising station.
I should have known I was in trouble when the first thing the student said to me was, "I don't want you to enroll me here." I was worried. I don't have access to Harvard or Yale's registration system. She wanted me to enroll her at one of the branch campuses.
My school, like many - or most? - state schools has a few branch campuses. But you have to apply to them like they're a separate entity. Admission to main campus isn't like a Disney Park-Hopper pass. Typically, the branch campuses are like the junior college and then when you've proven yourself, you can come and play at the main campus with the big kids. People typically don't get admitted to the main campus with the goal of going to one of the branches eventually. That would be like going to Harvard for two years to prove yourself so eventually you could get into Yellow Springs Community College and Tech Center for Kids who Can't Read Good (sorry - couldn't resist an opportunity to quote Zoolander!) So I was confused. (What else is new, right?)
I told her I probably couldn't do that if she hadn't been admitted to the branch. "Did you apply there?" I asked. "No," she huffed. "I just thought I would get a better schedule there than I got here - this thing" she sniffed, while flicking the schedule with her fingertips, "Blows." I looked over it. I typed around in the computer. "Well, everything here is open and you're in all the classes you should have for your first semester. There's nothing before 9:00 a.m. and nothing after 4:00 p.m." I was hopeful. I thought we'd fix this big misunderstanding and there would be hugs all around.
But no. "Yeah, that's the problem. You see," she said, talking to me like I was just really stupid, "I have to work from 9 - 5, Monday through Friday." This was a new one. I was stumped. I mean, lots of hardworking citizens would love to go back to college and one of the reasons they can't (besides the ridiculous cost) is that pesky thing called a job. A J.O.B.
But I blundered on. "Did you mention it to your advisor?" I asked. "Well, yeah," she replied in a pitch perfect imitation of a Valley Girl. "Of course. And I guess it's just not going to happen here, so if you could register me for one of the branch campuses, that would be great." Well, Einstein, here's the deal: Since branch campuses have literally 1/5 the enrollment of the main campus, they have fewer offerings, not more. I kept this little nugget of info to myself, though.
"Okay, so, when, exactly, were you hoping to have your classes?" She rolled her eyes at me. "Not," she said (again, I knew she was dying to say "Duh!"), "Between 9 and 5." "So, before 9:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m.?" "Right!" she said. "But one or the other, but not both because I don't want to be driving back and forth twice a day." Hmm . . . so that means,"All of your classes before 9:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. And you're going full time?" Now I got the extreme glare with extra snark. "Ye-es!" in two syllables.
If I were truly a decent human being (which I'm not - I'm not pretending I am), I would have said, "Let's go get your advisor." Instead, I kind of wanted to be the one to break the news to her: You're not going to get an undergraduate degree, going full-time (5 classes a semester!) only taking classes in the early hours of the morning or after 5:00 p.m. If she were going into a graduate program, it's conceivable - she could take classes Monday - Thursday evenings; they meet once a week from 7:15 - 10:00 p.m. (Boy, are they fun!) But a bachelor's degree? No way!
"I think there probably aren't enough classes offered before 9:00 a.m. to meet your requirements. And, while there are a fair number of classes offered after 5:00 p.m., many of the freshman classes - for example, your freshman Calculus - are only offered during the day."
She really couldn't grasp this. It was her advisor's fault. And main campus's fault. And probably mine, although she didn't say this. "Fine," she bratted, "I'll just go to the branch campus!" and she took her rotten schedule that she hated and stomped off. Is it evil that I hope I see her again when she comes through the program a second time because the branch campus couldn't accommodate her either? No - don't answer that.
Labels: Tales from the Trenches