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At a crossroads

31 Mar

I got accepted. Both to UBC (Vancouver) and Simmons (Boston). Now what?

I have yet to hear anything about the fellowship at Simmons that I applied for, and I have no idea when I will. I also haven’t received my financial aid award letter yet. I am supposed to pay a $300 non-refundable deposit to Simmons by May 1 to hold my spot.

I got an email from UBC today: “We are really looking forward to having you join us in September. I note that we haven’t had a formal acceptance of the offer, and would like to remind you of this in case it’s an oversight… We have several anxious applicants on a waitlist, so I would appreciate a decision from you by Monday April 11 (a generous three weeks from the date of offer). If you need more time, please contact me directly. We are very eager to have you join us, but it’s important you make this decision carefully and fully informed.”

I’m at a loss. I don’t want to take up someone else’s spot, but I also don’t want to have to make a decision before I know all my options.

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College is for losers

3 Feb

Drama with the college apps. I submitted everything on Tuesday like I was supposed to. However, when I submitted my app to UW, I also applied for an application fee waiver, which you couldn’t apply for until you submitted your application. It took 24 hours for the waiver request to be accepted. When I got the acceptance email, I logged into my UW account to finish processing it. However, because I hadn’t paid yet, my application hadn’t really been submitted. I was dumbfounded, because the fee application instructions didn’t mention anything about needing to file the waiver ahead of time. And now I had missed the deadline.

I promptly called the admissions office to see what I could do. They told me to submit the application for the next year (Fall 2012) and then call the department and have them change the application. I couldn’t get a hold of anyone on the phone in the MLIS dept, so I sent the following email:

“Yesterday I tried to submit the application for the MLIS program starting Fall 2011. My application was ready on time, but I had to request the application fee waiver. By the time my waiver request was granted, the deadline for the Fall 2011 submission had passed. I submitted my application for Fall 2012 instead, and I was wondering if you can change it to Fall 2011. I really appreciate your help in this matter.”

The responded with this heart wrencher:

“Chelsea,

Thank you for contacting me about this issue. The MLIS application deadline was posted as February 1, 2011 when the application opened on September 1, 2010. The MLIS admissions committee established this date as a hard deadline for the program. (A hard deadline means that we are not able to accept applications after that date.)

We understand that you intended to submit your application on the day of the deadline (February 1) and applied for a fee waiver in the same transaction. The fee waiver was not approved until the next day (February 2). I contacted the UW Graduate School regarding your application and was told that you applied for the fee waiver at 4:36pm on February 1. They also indicated that it can take up to 24 hours for fee waivers to be approved and that when applicants receive this information, they can decide to wait for the waiver to be approved or pay the fee in order to submit their application.

Based on the information provided in your email and the information we received from the UW Graduate School, we are not able to accommodate your request to submit an application after the deadline. We understand that this decision is probably disappointing to your and we hope you can understand our position and our decision to honor the application deadline that was posted online and in the application instructions.”

I’m FURIOUS, as much with myself as with the school. I would have loved to live in Seattle, and it breaks my heart that I can’t go to school there. As disappointed as I am though, I am secretly relieved that my difficult choice has been narrowed down to two schools. It’s a silver lining I suppose.

#33: The wait begins

2 Feb

Today I am thankful that my college applications are DONE. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I just have to get in. Oh, and then decide where to go…

Digital Art

10 Feb

I’m in a digital media class this semester that’s proving to be very challenging. I think the problem is that I want it to be a class where I learn how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, and the teacher wants it to be an art class. Anyway, our first assignment was to composite at least 5 images together into one piece. This was particularly tough for me because I’m a pretty straitforward photographer and I like things to look realistic. I’m actually really pleased with how it turned out though. Yay me!

Baby steps to the elevator…

10 Apr

I’ve heard that articulating your fears is pretty cathartic, so I hope you’ll bear with me through this gloomy post.

I’ll preface with a little background on my most wretched school experience this semester. I suppose the entire experience hasn’t been wretched, just the homework load. Ironically, I am only taking 14 credits, which is less than usual for me. Anyway, I’m in Intro to PR, Digital Imaging, Professional Writing and an honors class called The Arts in Performance. The classes are mostly project-based, which has allowed me to procrastinate the bulk of my work until the end of the semester. I coasted through January, and started to get busier in February. Then the came the post spring-break flood of homework. I’ve been dealing with the stress pretty well. Until this week that is.

On Monday I made a list of every project/assignment I have to do before the end of classes on April 23. That was quite possibly the worst idea I’ve ever had, especially in light of the increasing pressure I’ve been feeling. I probably could have avoided a freak out had I not had a panic inducing catalyst on Wednesday. Unfortunately, a panic inducing catalyst is exactly what I had.

I wrote a paper last weekend about the ballet for Arts in Performance. I generally struggle in that class because I don’t have anything to say about the performances. I find it difficult to construct an argumentative paper about the opera or an art exhibit. My essays resemble reviews or discriptions much more than they do persuasive papers. For this particular paper I discussed how modern costumes and jazz music were used to give the performance a feeling of the Roaring 20s. I was pretty happy with it. On Wednesday I got my teacher’s feedback. He was not so happy with it. He gave me a 2.66 out of four. That equals 66.5%. I’m sorry, but I have to say it. The Chelsea DiFrancesco we all know and love does not get 66.5% on anything. Ever.

The worst part was that he praised how good my writing was. His exact words: “Accurate, well-written, and attentive to salient details. You incorporated necesary quotes beautifully. Writing was very well organized and crisp. But the essay never gives the impression of arguing anything, and it therefore doesn’t work very well as an essay.”

Apparently being a good writer doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say. If you’ve been paying attention at all you won’t be shocked to hear that I freaked out. Not only about that class, but all my classes. I pulled out my calendar and the dreaded to-do list. All I could do was stare at it with an increasing level of panic and anxiety.

Molly came to my rescue however. I skipped my classes that day (always a good move when you’re feeling the pressure of a heavy course load right?) and we got pedicures and dinner. We finished the night watching Anastasia, because really, who can resist a good animated Russian love story? I was much more calm after our afternoon of fun and Molly’s constant reminder that Cs get degrees.

I am still acutely aware of how much work I have to do, but I am trying to think in tiny chunks of time. You might say I’m lucky because the end is near, but thinking about how near the end really is makes me hyperventilate a little. Baby steps.

Note to self: save everything on a flash drive from now on

7 Oct

I felt particularly unmotivated today at work so I did what any bored, self-obsessed office worker with access to a computer would do – I Googled myself. To my surprise, I was given a link to download a french paper I wrote last year. Apparently, anyone is able to access all of the documents that are saved on my personal drive at school. And not just on my drive; there’s a directory of every student at Westminster.

I hope everyone is as creeped out by this as I am.

We hear all the time how accessible personal information is on the internet, and I consider myself pretty aware of the risks of online communication (see my previous post about identity theft for the details of my paranoia). What surprises me is that Westminster would allow this information to just float around in cyberspace for anyone to see. I am kind of shocked that there aren’t more precautions taken, or at the very least that students aren’t told that any document they save is available to the public eye.

Mostly the documents I have saved are old school papers, articles for the paper, and design projects. Harmless enough. What worries me are the class schedules I make up every semester, drafts of letters I have to write and the budget I have saved in excel.

Note to self: save everything on a flashdrive from now on.

And you thought my summer of slacking was over

27 Aug

Yesterday I became a college dropout. Granted, it’s just for one semester, but I still feel a little strange without the upcoming semester looming ahead. I guess I should explain why I’m taking the next few months off, but first I will share an exceptionally embarassing school related story.

On Monday I headed out on the bus/trax to attend my first day of school. I arrived about 20 minutes early. The door to the classroom was locked so I decided to wait in the lobby of the building where my class was. After 15 minutes, I still hadn’t seen anyone that I knew was in my class and the door was still locked. I decided to make sure I had the room number correct. I walked into the registrar’s office and asked the kid at the front desk to check the room number for me. He acted confused when I said that the room I thought I was supposed to be in was locked. Then came the question no respectable upperclassman ever wants to hear. “Are you a freshman?” I replied that I was not (I’m technically a senior) and he proceeded to laugh. In my face. Out loud. Apparently I had mixed up the dates and classes didn’t start until Wednesday. Needless to say I booked it out of there to prevent anyone else from discovering my idiocy.

I suppose my blunder makes little difference now that I’ve decided to take the semester off. The disadvantage of Westminster’s small class sizes is that professors care if you miss class. Because I’m continuing my official year of travel and taking two and a half weeks of for vacations, it just wasn’t going to work. After talking to my teacher, he suggested I take the time off in order to protect my GPA, which protects my scholarship and standing in the Honors program. The good news is that I’m one semester ahead in school so I will still graduate in the spring of 2010. Within 30 minutes of that conversation I had the papers signed, scholarship deferred and classes dropped.

It’s an odd feeling, knowing I don’t have to think about school until January. It’s the first real break I’ve taken in 14 years. My goal is to replenish the savings account, which has been accumulating dust ever since I went to Europe. I still can’t decide if I’m being wise or just lazy, but I guess it doesn’t matter. If you can’t be irresponsible when you’re young, when can you?