Friday, November 24, 2006

Teh Madness! Teh Madness!

Some folks have been enquiring about my adventures in returning to school, and I've remained cautiously quiet on the topic as of late because I would hate to jinx it in any way. Well, 2/3 of the journey is completed, so I guess it's safe to talk about that. I did get into SFU, and the Band agreed to fund me for the year. BUT not without some trials.

I'll begin this story in the middle of the chronological timeline because it's by far the most important detail in this whole story:

The Mikisew Student Services application deadline for Funding in January is November 15th.

So, I sent in my application to SFU and the Social Policy Issues diploma program on October 11th because the deadline for the SFU application was October 13th. I worked hard on my SPI application, spending the greater part of a day filling it in on the computer rather then by hand because it was neater and allowed me to say more. I paid my fees, and it was time to wait. I had to wait for several key documents to make my application to Mikisew complete:
  • A letter of Admission;
  • A Tuition and Fee Assessment for the semesters I am planning to attend;
  • A Statutory Declaration sworn before a Commissioner of Oaths;
  • Rod's signature declaring he's employed, therefore not a dependent;
  • the most recent copies of my U of A transcripts;
  • A letter detailing my program plans to the MSS Committee.

Well, I waited. And waited. And waited. By the end of October, with no word from SFU, I was getting anxious. Really anxious. So I arranged to leave work early on November 6th, ready to run up the mount and start tap dancing or crying (which ever would be more effective in getting answers), and I called the Registrar's office. I got a very nice student services person who looked into my file and came back to me with file had only been removed from the processing queue on October 28th, and it typically took 3-4 weeks for a decision to be made.

Colour me mortified. I explained that my Mikisew deadline was an absolute firm November 15th, non-negotiable. I was transferred to Admissions, where I explained my situation again, and was put on hold while another nice person looked into my file. I'm beginning to think my file is a mythical being at this point, floating about the SFU campus high on the mountain like a confused winged pegasus. Pulling me back to reality, the very nice Admissions person got back on the line to tell me that a decision would be made by morning.

I then called the program head for SPI to inquire about the status of my application with them, and when she called me back, she informed me that I was still missing a reference letter. Colour me aghast. I quickly emailed said reference and had to wait. And wait. And wait.

November 7th: an early check online...and I got in to SFU. Yay! Part I accomplished. Later in the day, the referee responded to my email and promised to get it out ASAP.

November 8th: I made an appointment with a Notary Public to get the Statutory Declaration out of the way, and had to leave work early. She was hesitant to sign it because the one thing missing was Rod's signature, but she did anyways, guessing that it wouldn't be an issue to have my husband sign something for me. I went home where I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on the phone. I called SFU about getting a copy of the Admission letter and a tuition/fee estimate, which Mikisew said they would accept in lieu of the official document for the time being. Neither of these were available, and I was advised to use my unofficial SFU transcripts (which at this point only stated I was admitted and that I was credited with having reading and comprehension skills enough to be in their school), and a very confused little guy at student services promised to do up an email with the estimates and send it to me. What a liar :p

November 9th: I called student services back and this time the lady on the phone actually directed me to Student Accounts, the department that actually does this stuff, not some guy wanting to shut me up with vague promises and dandelion dreams. I called Student Accounts, and after miserably failing to adequately explain the situation, I was told to fax a letter detailing my request. Also, it was unlikely that anything would happen until the 14th because of the holiday weekend. *heart palpitating* By this time, I'm a letter writing machine, so I am able to succinctly explain things, and off it goes.

November 10th: I called Student Accounts for an update, and was told my letter was not yet looked at by the manager. Okay, that's fine, I'm prepared to give them the MSS fax number to fax directly to the funding committee if it comes to that. About twenty minutes later, I got a call from a nice lady at Student Accounts who said my request for an estimate was so doable, and within a couple of hours, I had an email in hand. *HUGE sigh of relief*

During all of this activities, I was trying to get a copy of my U of A transcripts with the seal on them via fax. I asked for them to be couriered to me, but guess what. By Monday, November 14th, still no sign of them. It's lucky for me that I had copies of my transcripts at home, but they weren't sealed, so they weren't "official" even though they were. I took a chance. I went down to the Kinko's on our block and faxed off the Mikisew application, bloody mess of half-assed documents that it was, and then I wandered over to the Shopper's Drug Mart Post office and stood in line waiting for it to open (note here, that I'm missing yet another hour of work to do this) and couriered the actual application, on the understanding that copies of the official admission and tuition documents would be forwarded to MSS as they came available.

All I had to do was wait. I'm so not good at this.

Two days later, the MSS coordinator left a message on my machine, but she was going to be away until Tuesday, so I couldn't return her call until then. I was certain my half-assed application would hurt, and I'd be denied, but I'm pleased to say that I was approved. Yay! I'm going to school.

Still no word from the Social Policy Issues program.


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