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...plus, 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. ;-)