Sunday, April 25, 2010

the graduation saga

Just in case you were wondering, I'm graduating in 13 days. But two weeks ago...

Well, let's just start from the beginning. Last year, I submitted my graduation application to my advisor so that she could do my audit, which we discussed via email throughout the summer. At the end of it, she said everything looked okay and that I was all set for graduation.

This March, I was not able to attend senior checkout day (which was in the announcements, so I thought nothing of not receiving an email about, it's North Park), so I emailed the appropriate person and she never got back to me. I thought this was puzzling.

Three weeks later, I called said person, and she informed me that she did not have me on the list of graduating seniors, so I must not have applied for graduation. I informed her that this was not possible since I had applied LAST MAY. She told me that she didn't have me on file and that I should apply soon so that I could finish academically for the semester, but I was definitely not going to be able to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Well, needless to say, I was pissed, called my mom and said things in her hearing that she's never heard me say before (which is how I still talk about the whole thing), emailed my advisor...turns out, she had my application in her file all along: "Oh, it's still in my file. My bad! I'll take care of it."

Humpf. Sure, she will. Well, she did send in my application 11 months late, so now I'm able to graduate, and I received my official audit from the university shortly thereafter which said "Due to the lateness of your application, you were not ordered a cap and gown. You are not guaranteed a place in the commencement ceremony. Some extra gowns may be available, but they are first come first serve. You will be charged the $125 graduation fee whether or not you participate in the commencement ceremony."

Thanks a lot, North Park. It's not like I've been a fantastic student and a superior asset to your university for the last four years.

Well, thankfully, some people at NPU are entirely competent and almost make up for the incompetence of the rest of the faculty and staff, and I called on four such people to help me get a cap and gown. After fervently explaining the situation as politely as I could, one professor, one marshal, and no less than TWO deans were on my side! They helped me get a more definitive answer on the cap and gown question, "Show up to the distribution and someone will find one for you" (I'm taking that "will" to the bank!). Sigh.

So, several questions remain: Why did this woman not email me back in March to tell me that she didn't have me on the list when I obviously thought that I was on the list? Why did Karen not turn in my application or give it to me to turn in? Why did the School of Music not catch this when they were approving graduates? Why was I expected to know how graduation works at North Park when I've never done it before and there is no checklist? I was told that I should have known that I wasn't receiving emails from this woman...WHAT?! How am I supposed to know that I'm NOT receiving something that I didn't know I was supposed to receive? Why does everything end up being the students' fault? Why is my advisor still advising people? How many other seniors have been screwed over by an obviously and egregiously disorganised system? WHY DO BUREAUCRACIES SUCK?!?!?!?!

Let's just say that whether or not I am allowed to participate in commencement, I'm so glad to be getting out of here. Greg offered to let me borrow his robes for the day--that would be hilarious, me pretending to be a doctor of philosophy for a day in robes that are far too big! I think I'll take him up on it. ;-)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

ten things thursday

I missed last week, so if I can come up with extras to put on the list, I'm putting them on the list!

Ten (or more) things that made me smile this week:
1. Emails with Cindy regarding my visit this summer--SWEET! I'm so excited to see Cindy and Kip and go to Alaska!
2. Making plans for post-graduation vacation in Iowa. Basically, I'm going to park my behind in a tree with some books, my beautiful autoharp, and my journal and just while away a whole week of my life in worship and joy.
3. 81-degree weather!!! It's been crazy. It feels like late June but without the crazy humidity, and the amount of sunshine I've been getting has finally balanced my body--I woke up this morning thoroughly happy to be alive!
4. I got a book of prayer shawl patterns to knit and I'm really looking forward to working on them and possibly starting a prayer shawl ministry at Reba Place next year.
5. The slight tinge of pink on my skin from my first (very minor) sunburn of 2010.
6. I'm surprised to put this on the list, but my therapist's new office is really quite nice. The waiting room is a little antiseptic and cold, but her office is really lovely and intimate. It's not as nice as our old space, but I'll take it.
7. 23 days until graduation!
8. Tomorrow and Saturday I'll be at Wheaton College for their annual theology conference with N.T. Wright! I'm shocked at how much I'm geeking out about this given my apathy towards all things academic, but I'm just going to live into it. Book tables, anyone?
9. I loved going to Reba potluck the Monday after Pascha. It's not that I don't like having a seminar at the end of the evening, but it was really lovely to feel like we weren't waiting for the next thing on the program and could just hang out and talk with whoever we happened to be sitting by.
10. Reid, my roommate's adolescent kitten/cat, was attacking my knitting needles yesterday. It was the cutest thing I've seen in a long time!
11. My boss likes to put quotes up on the whiteboard when he's working, and today's cracked me up. "Did you ever notice that when you put 'the' and 'IRS' together, it spells 'THEIRS'?" Happy Tax Day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

i and my...

...Annabel Lee!

As we all know, I am quite a bit of a dork. What we don't all know is that I got an autoharp for my birthday!! I turned twenty-two a couple of weeks ago, and for that glorious occasion my parents gave me the money to buy myself an autoharp. In case you don't know what an autoharp is, it's a chorded zither (I know, really helpful) which means that it is a many-stringed instrument that has bars affixed to the front which allow the player to choose what chord they play at any one moment. These bars use felt to dampen the strings that are not part of the desired chord, thus allowing the remaining strings to vibrate freely. I did try to name her, but rather waited until the appropriate name came to me, and it did so just the other morning! I just looked at her and thought, "Annabel!...Annabel Lee!!"

I've always been a big fan of Poe, so it made sense. Also, the poem after which my harp is named has bittersweet tones coursing through it, which is appropriate for a folk instrument. I think if one is going to name a folk instrument, she should consider the meaning! Anyway, here she is...

She's a 1930's reissue by Oscar Schmidt, so this model was originally designed in the '30's and has recently been remade with 21 chords instead of what I assume was originally twelve, but could possibly have been fifteen (I'm not an expert autoharp historian). Anyway, the point is that she's absolutely gorgeous, and I only wish I could play her half as well as JoAnn Smith. She's SO GREAT. I guess I'll just have to keep practicing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

ten things thursday

Ten things that made me smile this week...

1. I sent Greg an email to let him know that squirrel bow-hunting season opened in Chicago yesterday. He replied, "Oh, good, cuz I got two today and now I know that I can tie them to the trunk of my car and not worry that I've done something wrong!"
2. I finally emailed someone at Reba and got an application for the apprenticeship program--at once thrilling and terrifying.
3. Received Greg's tearful blessing regarding the above-mentioned apprenticeship program.
4. My autoharp. She's a beauty, and I'm having lots of fun figuring out how to make her sing!
5. It has been so incredibly sunny and warm this week, and while I've been oddly busy, the fact that there is sunshine has helped me through this exhausting and glorious Holy Week.
6. I pulled the plastic off of my windows yesterday and the cats are SO HAPPY. They sit in the windows looking out and smelling the air and listening to all of the exciting outside noises!
7. I had lunch yesterday with some ladies from church that I haven't spent time with before, and we had a really good time together. It was just good old-fashioned fellowship.
8. More food! I had dinner last Saturday with Monica, who is proving to be a very good friend. We talked forEVER and probably would have hung out more but I had somewhere to be. Yay, friendship!
9. I heard a woodpecker in the park this morning and my soul rejoiced at that speck of nature in the big city.
10. The babies at church. ;-)