Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stuff: Getting Schooled


First off, sorry that this isn't quite a complete page; it's a last minute substitution. That episode will appear next week.

Those following the adventures of IronChuck, here on Stuff, know that, recently, I made a big life decision. And so, I quit my day job, up ended Grand Central Station, and moved the lot of everything up the peninsula so that I could attend school to, finally, get my degree; now changed from Animation, back in the nineties, to Graphic Design - armed with pre approval from FAFSA for the aid I would need to go back to school.

Then my old college transcripts were plugged into the equation.

See, it turns out, fifteen years ago, I was just four classes from a degree in film animation. Not that I knew that, mind you. No; time, money, and unexpected tragedy forced me to leave school in 1999. Suddenly survival became my top priority. So, I had to go get a full time job.

Now, in 2012, I'm trying to get back into school; to get a degree, and move up from the dead end life I've found myself in. There's just one problem. FAFSA now believes I have, or am so close to, a degree that they've decided I no longer qualify for aid.

So, I saw a school counselor, made an educational plan, and petitioned FAFSA to let me return; as my classes were, in some cases, over fifteen years old and completely outdated from the current animation market. Literally. There was no CG animation when I was in school; it was still emerging. And no one in America produces traditional cell animation, anymore. It's either all over seas, or, in some cases - like Disney and Warner Brothers - has been totally shut down.

Then, yesterday, I got this email:

I am writing to inform you that your Petition For Over The 'Average'
Timeframe has been reviewed and is in a pending status. The Financial Aid
Director will not be able to make a decision about your appeal until you
have registered in the classes listed on your educational plan for Spring
quarter 2012 (GID 50, GID 54 and MUS 8). Please contact the Financial Aid
Office as soon as you have enrolled in your Spring classes so that we can
finish processing your petition.

I've replied with my concerns and issues, but have yet to hear back. Understandable, as the office is jam packed with students desperately scrambling to also secure the means to go back to school to do better for themselves. And I know FAFSA is also actively screening applicants to weed out those folks who spend their life abusing the system for a free ride.

Still, all my understanding isn't doing me any good, as my life is now in a bit of free fall. Not that I don't have back up plans and workarounds now moving into place, mind you. it's just annoying that, to get a better education, to be a better worker, and help revitalize the economy, I have to fight through such utter crap.

But then I just keep remembering that the most beautiful of stones of the earth and sea are made by the churning of the roughest of waters and the greatest of pressures.

So, soon, I should be a freakin' diamond.

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