July 27, 2009

School time blues

I think in that last post I threatened to jump off the edge of something, again, but in reality I just took some aspirin and got over it. But it's always funny to do that then disappear for a few days, too bad I have constant twitter updates on the side signifying that unless I'm doing some Romero shit, I am in fact, alive.

But, here comes the boring truth of where I go when I proceed to drop off the face of the earth for a few days/weeks: I'm starting school again in a few weeks.

Well, really, more like a month and some change (regular classes officially start Aug 31) but obviously I have to get my shit in gear early. And oh have I been in gear.

It all started with financial aid. If you forgot/didn't know, I go to East Tennessee State University up in the mountains in dar Tennessee. No matter how much the board of regents fucks with the tuition I'll pretty much forever go to a cheap ass school--room, board, books, and extravagant lifestyle all together set me back about $6,000 a semester. With all the wonderful financial aid I get, for the past two semesters I've gotten rather fat refund checks to buy expensive shoes and organic food on--and, uh, supplies & shit.

In any case, I still have quite a bit of money left over but I'm greedy as fuck. Let me explain:

This semester I got my usual package and it totals around $13,000 for the whole year. This is pretty excellent--except, for some reason the government also thinks my family is going to contribute 39,000. I asked my SINGLE MOTHER with ONE semi-well paying if she had 39,000. She does not. She does not make that much in a year. I checked in my mattress and my socks & my shower, I don't have 39,000 either. And we can't seem to pool it betwixt us, so I have no idea where this money is coming from.

So I didn't get my Pell Grant because of this sudden influx of richness, which was only 750 anyway so I let it go in confusion. Until about June when I started seeing my aid pour in--everything checked out okay but my work study was missing. My work study keeps me swimming in pencils and erasers and notebook paper, so what gives? I was already cleared to continue my tutoring job. In a series of phone calls and emails I found out that "little" error on my FAFSA was actually a big fuck up and one mixed up little line has spiraled into a maddening clusterfuck. I still have no idea why my mom's tax-deferred pension was 8,000 when she has no such thing, but we've fixed it twice now and GOD HELP ME IF MY AID DOESN'T GET TAKEN CARE OF SOON I WILL BURN DOWN ONE BUILDING.

So, my lesson to you all is--for any stage of your life--have friends. Have friends that have your back. Quadruple check EVERYTHING, have your friends look at it, ask Mrs Johnson down the street, mom, dad, cousin Jeb, and the government doesn't care if your calculator is on the fritz.

Oh but it's not over. While I was semi-worrying about the rest of my monies, I realized I should probably go buy some school books. This is the fun part.

I'm taking a glorious 19 hours this semester. I was only taking 16 but I bumped it up after being offered a chance to take an extra Honors senior level English class. For those keeping score, English is still my major of choice (but I'm planning on having a more useful minor) or more specifically, English lit. I have no idea why English lit seems to go farther than...English but okay.

Anyway, it's an exciting opportunity to knock out one of my high level classes before even finishing general education--except I need 7 books for that class. I assume not all at once, but my remaining other classes require 1-2 books each. This, my friends, is bullshit.

We've all heard about how insanely expensive college texts are but goddamn this is silly. I was fine paying 100-180 my last two semesters but this year I THINK FUCKING NOT.

So I've been exploring those other options really hard (we're past buying used, I'm talking rentals). If you're wondering, my text books could set me back this semester anywhere from $200-500. Buybacks are NEVER going to cover that shit. I could get 1 mil in aid and that doesn't justify 500 for books I will read once if at all. Damnit!

I'm figuring out a plan. I've been lucky so far but I feel like this is how it's going to be from here on out. So I'll try not to bitch too much but I may so occasionally or invite you all for fauxtinis and games of Russian roulette with 5 bullets. Also the gallows humor is only going to get worse because this is putting me in an awfully strange mood.

So that's how it's been. I have a more substantial post somewhere but I'm trying to be thoughtful and this...just came out.

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