13 November 2007

Not writing about snot

My cold has decided to return with a vengeance. But I will not go into details, because I promised not to, in one of my first entries ever.

Instead I am going to tell a little story about one of the things that happened to me while I was back at school last month, and how I discovered I didn't have a degree that I thought I had.

I had never received my MFA diploma in the mail, but I thought this must have been due to either an address error or a delay on the University's part. Granted, it had been a year and a half, but things sometimes move slowly in University Bureaucracy Land. Thus, while I was in campus, I went to check on the situation. One office sent me to another office, and so on, until I landed in the little cubicle-filled space where all the forms and grades and dissertations go to be stamped and then filed in a bottomless hole.

They were about to send me to yet another office, but I asked the guy in my nicest voice if he could just check to make sure everything was in order on his end. Lo and behold, it was not. I did not have an MFA, I was a Master of no Fine Art. Evidently I had been a fraud on my resume for the last year and a half without knowing it. (At least I didn't send that resume anywhere. I was only a fraud on my hard drive.)

I found why the next day, after the guy had done some digging. Why? Basically, the degree had fallen through the cracks. Lest you think things like degrees don't fall through cracks, let me reassure you, they do. Through the combined clerical error efforts of two distinguished offices, the Department of English and the Graduate Recorder, one of their upstanding students was an unintentional dropout.

The department never changed one of the thesis credits from an "R" placeholder grade to whatever they change it to, and when the graduate recorder wrote to them, they changed it but never got back to him. Then a new graduate recorder came on the job, and there was no follow-up from either end.

Now I was in a pickle. They gave me the option of having an October 2007 graduation date or my original June 2006 date, but the latter would require extra work, including petitioning the dean. I told them to petition the dean, petition George Bush, whatever it takes. I would much rather the record reflect the actual date that I completed the MFA thesis and coursework (while taking my PhD exams, thankyouverymuch).

Fortunately, the dean was magnanimous (I just wrote that word about fourteen times to get it right--gotta be the cold), and I was allowed a retroactively dated degree. Finally, it seems, I can suffix MFA to the alphabet soup after my name.

OK, so that's what I am thankful for today, that the little mishap was discovered and a solution found. Also, I am thankful for some renewed inspiration on a series of poems I haven't looked at since I finished my MFA (that's what got me thinking about all of this in the first place). They are Vermonty poems, wintery poems, and written in a matter-of-fact farmer's voice. I wonder if I'm drawn back to them now that the days are darkening down, the leaves on the tree behind the house are gone, and the air is decidedly chill.

1 comment:

Lilacspecs said...

I think everyone in my blogoverse has answered this meme, but it's my duty to tag others so here ya go.