Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baby Steps

So, I have finally taken the plunge. Well, to be honest, I took the plunge a little while ago but I've been to afraid to really post in here yet just in case I jinx myself and ruin my possibly job opportunity. But, about a month or two ago I applied to teach in a school in South Korea. It looks like such an amazing opportunity  I have a few friends who have done it, and they absolutely.loved.it.

At this point in my life, I think I owe it to myself to do something a little life changing. I just completed my very last semester of University, coming out with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology, with a Psychology Minor and a Criminology Certificate. It only took me roughly six years to do, but that is a whole different story. But since you are probably -dying- with curiosity I'll give you the Coles Notes version of it - two semesters in to an English degree I realized I didn't know what I wanted to do. I quit the day before final exams and moved home the next day. I tried to mend a drowning relationship with the boy I was dating at the time - it failed several months later in a wild love affair with a much older boy. Heartbreak. I worked a few awful jobs (kiddie camp counselor  Subway, Smitty's to name a few) before I finally moved into with my new boyfriend near the University and discovered what it was I wanted to do with my life. I got a new job at the mall and worked, helping to put myself through school and hopefully decrease some of the student debt I would no doubt incur  Recent estimates put my total at roughly 35 thousand dollars. Now, at the ripe age of 26 -cries- I am an official graduate.

Wow. That didn't turn out to be so short afterall did it?

Anyway, I applied to Korea. Although, the circumstances surrounding my application are somewhat convoluted and tied up with my graduation. I had applied for graduation back at the beginning of term which started in January. I think my application for graduation went in around the 15th of the month or something like that. I never heard anything all term until March 17 - two weeks before final exams started and well after the final date in the semester to drop or add any courses. It was a letter from the MUN administration telling me that I didn't meet graduation requirements and was short one elective! Now, prior to this I had had at least 2 if not 3 Academic Audits done, and meetings with 2 different academic advisers and neither of these two individuals told me that my Criminology courses were "non credit" courses - meaning you can't use them towards your B.A. But wait .. the story gets better. The person responsible for student graduation .. MaryKay MacFarlene, doesn't even look at the applications for graduation until -after- the date to drop and add courses have passed. She did this because she doesn't want to write a letter to one student one day, and then three days later have to write one to someone else. She wanted to write them all at once, and send them all out to make it easier for her. Well. I was NOT impressed. Anyway, MaryKay swore on a stack of Bibles' that she told me my criminology courses were non credit. To which my response was .. well, if I had known then I wouldn't be in this situation now would I? Anyway, she was no help at all.

So, then I turned to the Student Union, and the Dean of Student Affairs and Services and stated my case. There was no way I was going to let this slide. If it had been any other semester then it might not have been such a big deal ... but this was the last term I was able to get any sort of financial support from the government so I simply HAD to graduate and no one was going to get in my way. The Student Union was helpful, but ultimately a dead end and advised me to appeal my graduation status. The Dean was awesome! I told her everything - about the different meetings, the audits and career plans.

I had applied during the term to go to South Korea to teach English as a second language to small children, like I already said. So, assuming that I was going to graduate I didn't see any snags in the application process. All that they need is a copy of my degree to give to the Korean government so they can issue a work permit and so on and so forth. So, I told the Dean this as well (and MaryKay but she was totally unsympathetic to my case). The Dean also pointed me in the direction of the MUN Calender where it supposedly states that Criminology courses are non-credit. So, I did some more investigating. The calender does not explicitly say that criminology courses are non-credit. Under the requirements for Criminology certificates, it lists all the credit courses that MUN offers that can be used towards the certificate, plus the three Criminology courses (two of which you have to take) but it does not say they are non credit. Then, under the Course Descriptions for the Criminology courses it gives a general overview of the course but does not say that they are non credit. It is mentioned, under a general heading that any of the certificate program courses - like criminology - cannot be used towards any required degree course. Now, for your BA there are a certain number of courses which you are required to take .. so many Math, so many Research and Writing, so many Languages and yadda yadda yadda. Electives are essentially shit little courses that bring your credit hours up to 120 - the required number your supposed to have to graduate after completing 40 courses. But, it doesn't say that you are unable to use these certificate courses to fill an elective slot. Hence how I got the shaft. So, while I had to pay tuition to take the criminology course (and as a result I've done the 40 courses for my degree) because it can't be applied towards by degree .. I was short those 3 credit hours. So .. people failed to tell me this in BOTH interviews with adviser's and I was ripping. So anyway, I sent in a 2 page appeals letter and now .. I'm graduating!! woo Hoo!

AND... I have a job interview for Korea some time this week. The time difference is retarded so God only knows what hour of the day it will be .. but, still - it's exciting! I have e-mailed them a few times to keep in contact and whatnot plus the most recent one was about my change of address since I took -another-plunge and moved back in with my parents to try and save myself some money and just drive the hour to work every other day. So far .. we're all still alive. Which is -such- an accomplishment. So. There we are.

First post is a success!