Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Update to the College Process.

I haven’t posted in a bit.  I’d say it’s because I’ve been busy, but then again, when am I not?  But what I’ve been busy with this month is a new project.  Or maybe I should say a new hiccup with an old project.

I’ve been doing this whole “go back to college” experiment.  Because after all, I need something that will help me find a career that will actually, you know, put food in my stomach.  Which this song has me kinda getting the jitters for the career track I’ve chosen.

Yup…  I’m aiming for a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing, and a minor in Psych.  But really, I know what I would be doing with that.  A B.A. will enable me to substitute teach which pays twice what I’m currently earning, or apply to magazines or similar companies as a copy editor, or video game companies as a writer….  OR, I could take a year or two to go to Asia to teach ESL (which would wipe out a great deal of my college debt straight off.  Point is, there actually is PLENTY I could accomplish with a BA in English, and I’m pretty excited to be going this route.

The hiccups I’ve experienced along the way?  Not so excited for.  If you read my last post you already know that it was a struggle to get this far.  Between the hell Gateway put me through that had me telling them “thanks for nothing I’m going to go to a real school instead” and my former college being lazy asses and it taking THREE requests over a lengthy time period for them to send out my transcripts…  It’s a miracle I even was accepted to Whitewater to begin with.  So on to the next steps.  The financial aid process went much more smoothly this time, as I expected it to with the Whitewater staff.  It took just one or two communications by email or mail to get all of the paperwork they needed.  I did however get a bit nervous when they told me WHEN the aid would be arriving.  September 1st it would be posted for me to accept or deny.  No sooner.  And then it would be another week or two before I would have access to the funds.

But I needed a place to live, and money for the place, and every apartment is filling and time is of the essence.  I’m really not one for having a “roommate” any more.  Nothing against the friends I’ve had as roommates.  It’s just time for me to be on my own.  Fully on my own.  I’m getting older and I’m VERY ready for my OWN space.

Place number one.  Seville Apartments. 

I went to look at these, and they were perfect.  SOOOO PERFECT!  However, I needed 600 dollars by the next day and there was only one unit left.  …and the manager of the complex (showing me the apartment, and claiming he would be living in the unit right below me) continuously told me that if I wanted the place I would have to “hurry up” and “Jump on the stick.”  ……I don’t know about you, but by the fourth time or so that he said it, I was picking up on a subtle innuendo.  By the fifth I was fairly creeped out.  I really did want that place, but at least the creepy guy made it easier to cope with how impossible it was.  The search continued, and I had to use whatever minutes not working, or at orientation for school or at funerals to find a place to live.  And it wasn’t going well.  Each passing week came up with fewer and fewer results.  Even subletting opportunities were going fast.  BUT, I finally found one.  At long last, my saving grace, I found a place that is clean, decently priced, and right across from campus.  Sure it comes with a roommate, but I’ll take what I can for now, and when summer hits, more will be available for a more “adult” living arrangement.  I was and am thankful just to have a roof.

But that pesky student aid….  My loans still hadn’t come through.  And I needed to sign the lease NOW.  So, in the process of finding that “buffer” for funds between the two weeks, I found in my mail box a letter saying “preapproved” for a line of credit at my bank.  …okay, sure, we all know how these things work.  No one is ever actually preapproved for anything in generic mail.  It’s a gimmick to get you through the door so they can take a peek at your credit and sell you everything else you might “qualify” for.  Sending these things out en mass, is cheaper than actually prescreening each client and only sending them out to those who actually qualify.

But I figured it just may be the answer to my prayers.  So, I took the letter into the bank very next business day.  I filled out all the paper work.  I gave them paystubs.  Reported all stocks and 401k, and so on…  And hey, I actually do qualify!  Yay!  But all that paperwork still has to go to the underwriters.  So turn around (I was told) would be three to five days.  I took a deep breath and thanked them as I didn’t care when I got the cash, so long as I had enough for the deposit for the apartment in time.  (That Sunday, almost a week from then.)  The banker promised me that she would keep on top of my situation and inform me the moment the money was available.  At latest, she claimed, it would be there Friday.

The next morning I met with the student housing office and the girl I was subletting from.  The apartment was a Godsend.  The roommate I would be living with is clean and tidy, and the furniture and living space is appropriate for my needs.  Seeing as I filed all of the paperwork the day before and even set up accounts for automatic payments on the line of credit, the whole nine yards, I signed the lease, paid the 200 in fees up front, and made an arrangement to pay the rent and pick up the keys on Friday.  Moving along to Thursday afternoon, and seeing as I hadn’t heard from the bank yet, I thought I would just give a quick call to see what was going on.

After getting hung up on once, and then put on hold for more than five minutes the second time I got this, “Oh, yeah, I checked on that this morning.  It was declined, you’ll receive a letter in the mail why.”  …Declined?  My preapproved loan?  That had a special low interest that I even qualified for?  And you aren’t even going to tell me what went wrong?  And now I have less than 24 hours to come up with 2100 dollars?  Are you KIDDING ME?

…….Deep breaths.  Don’t panic.  It’s not like you signed a contract or anything.  Oh, wait…  you did.

Friends to the rescue.

I called several of my friends immediately asking for suggestions.  And logged on to the university’s website to see if the financial aid posts were on there as they told me they would be.  And to find out how to get my hands on that cash ASAP!

My friends helped me.  They made calls for me, researched with me, and so much more.  And I even had offers from some to lend me what they could.  I owe big thanks to two friends in particular.  One for monetary help, and the other for driving me all over Whitewater like a crazy person the following day.

Finally, after many phone calls, scraping together every penny I had left, haggling with the property management office, setting up direct deposits for my financial aid refunds, and whatever else I can’t think of that made this simple 24 hours seem to last a week’s worth of activity…  I had a set of keys in my hands and four bags of belongings moved into the apartment.

So, now I sit at home, with a bunch of maxed out credit cards, and only enough cash available for gas to get to whitewater and back until the rest of the funds come through.  And I couldn’t be happier, because the first day of class is day after tomorrow and I only have 2 more shifts at work.  I can see the finish line, and it looks damn good.

(and remember, clicking on one of those sponsor ads to the side there?  Earns me a little pocket change to help with those college expenses too.)  ;)

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