Back to school at 42 (Century Community College)

Ok this is going to be a story about the 1% of my new college experience that has been not so good.

For the most part things have been great. My instructors are great. I’m enthusiastic about my new direction in life. The campus is teeming with 18 year old firm female rumps. Enough said about that last part.

However, the number one question on every perspective students mind is how will I pay for my experience. Not only the tuition and books, but how am I going to get by and have the appropriate time to involve myself in my studies. Full time work seems like a bit much for a laid back cat such as myself, but hats off to you adult students who pull it off.

My process started last October. The first step was improving my relationship with the department of education i.e. writing a few hefty checks and making a few payments on time.

Then the application process with the college. Also pretty painless………… was all handled online and I didn’t even need to go to the campus until it was time for orientation and registration.

Registration was fantastic. There were counselors in the room and I got a scheduled full time and only have to be there two days per week.      Awesome!!!!!!!!!    During registration I was warned to read the course requirements. But why I thought, these are core courses and I have to take them anyway  so why not dive right in?????         I’ll tell ya why…………….you may find that your very first step in your photography course will be to go out and buy a $1000.00 camera………..That’s why!!!!!!!!     All the same, when are we ever really given such perfect justification for spending a large one on cool electronic gadgetry?     The best thing is I’m actually learning to use it without reading the dreaded indo-chapanese translated manual.

Waiting to hear from the financial aid folks is a bit painstaking.    I applied in October and had heard nothing through most of December. The website gives you a rough idea of what you may be awarded but if your life is like my life, your always sort of waiting for the oddball reason your the exception to come out of the wood work.

Finally I got my award letter in the mail and was quite pleased with the amount available as long as I don’t mind financing away the rest of my natural born life………………….turns out I do not.

School started Jan. 10th. Again borrowing the money for books and materials.

At this point I understood there was an waiting period until disbursement. I thought initially that meant I’d get my money on that day. So on that day I went in to ask for it.   No such luck.    Disbursement means that the government has issued the money to your school.   Funds would be mailed in another two weeks once the college pays itself and crosses all the t’s and dots all the I’s.

Frustrated and living on about twenty bucks a week I went on.

Keep in mind between my application process and the paperwork for the government, I have probably written my correct mailing address on one document or another thirty times. All my important information had arrived there thus far.

So the big day came and went and no check in the mail.

Again I found myself at the window of the business office………………where they did mail my check…………….to my address  in Ely, Mn. where I lived twenty years ago.

No apology, no sense of urgency regarding a huge check being mailed to someone else, no concept of cutting me another check.  They blamed me because I did not correct my address on the school based email that NOBODY uses or checks.

I have several faculty members working on my behalf and I even went to file a complaint with the presidents office.     It turns out the presidents office has what I call the blame tree.   It’s a flow chart  that designates exactly which direction downhill the shit should roll.    Amazingly, they said talk to this business office………………translation, the shit has rolled into my back pocket, and I can get comfortable sitting  on it for a few more weeks.


One Response

  1. […] so proud of you for starting back to school in your 40s. I know you’ll do very well — and I’m glad you get a chance to […]

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