One More Piece of the Puzzle

(Or, “I Thought That Jackson Pollock Puzzle Was Hard.”)

Yesterday I spent more than four grueling hours attempting to get six credits to transfer over from NYU to Queens College so that I wouldn’t have to take certain prerequisite classes all over again. I have been trying to get all these transfers sorted out for over a year now. I thought NYU had prepared me for bureaucracy, but now I know that it was mere child’s play next to Queens College. I have spent so much time filling out forms and taking them to all of the various offices around the campus that it almost makes sense to me. This is a fact that worries me, though I’ve done my best to ignore the potential psychological implications of understanding the ins and outs of such a collegiate maze of confusion.

That said, I spent over an hour and a half in two different offices trying to fulfill a sociology requirement with my “Conversations of the West” course from NYU. I thought maybe I could get credit from the anthropology department since the course had to do with human evolution in the context of various written philosophical texts. The adviser I met with there was very kind but only of limited assistance as she suggested I take up my case with the philosophy department.

It was, I thought, my lucky day because upon rather quick discovery, the philosophy department was in fact in the same building AND the professor who reviews transfer credits was just starting office hours as I was arriving there. What are the odds, right?

Sadly, the poor professor who advises philosophy majors does not get a lunch hour on Mondays and was not terribly pleased when I walked in on him and his sandwich. He asked for 15 minutes. Perhaps stupidly, I gave him 20. By the time I came back, he was already in with another student. They talked for over half an hour, after which time the professor had a rather enlightening conversation with the front office staff about the future of the Yankees coaching staff. A subtle ahem or two later had me in his office at last, at which point he suggested I go see someone in the history department.

Perhaps sensing that I might cry, as pangs of my own hunger had begun despite the fact that I’d lacked the foresight to pack a lunch or even a dollar to buy something from a vending machine, he finally relented, reasoning that the philosophical works I’d read did have SOME element of history involved and he supposed he could bend the rules a little and give me credit for “Philosophy of History,” which fulfilled half my sociology requirement. (The other half I will have to actually take at Queens College since mysteriously, it is impossible to get writing credits to transfer and I need the writing credit to graduate. But I will take American History and that will not be so bad, right?)

After that small victory, I decided to take care of what would surely be a quickly resolved issue; I’d asked the art department several weeks ago to transfer my Photo I credit from NYU to count as Photo I credit at Queens College. How simple, right? The two courses even have the same name! They gladly gave me the credit back then, no questions or negotiation required. But for some reason when I looked at my new and improved Queens College transcript, what appeared in my record but “Computer Imaging?” One would think that it had been a clerical error on the part of the registrar’s office, but further investigation revealed that no, in fact, the person who had signed off on my credits had inadvertently assigned the wrong course number to the credit. So, back to the art department I went.

Should have been a quick and easy fix, right? Well, not really and here’s why: I arrived there around 1:45 and the adviser’s office hours didn’t start until 2. So I waited around until 2, at which point the office assistant announced that the adviser was stuck in traffic and would be a half an hour late. When he arrived 40 minutes later, he helped the two people who were waiting ahead of me, which took an ADDITIONAL 30 minutes. For those who aren’t counting, we are talking about 1 hour and 25 minutes of just sitting there, waiting, listening to the acids in my stomach churning inside me, screaming for nourishment.

When I finally got in to see him, I explained the problem and although it was an easy fix he was determined to get to know me better for some reason and I swear I must have had some kind of help from some otherworldly being, because I was actually nice and indulged the man. He meant well, and under any other circumstances I would have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know him better as well, but dude. Give me my photo prerequisite and we’ll catch up later. K? Thanks.

At last, at last, it was near to 4:00, close to four full hours after my class had ended, so I rushed over to the registrar’s office to get in my paperwork before they closed shop for the day and what do you know? They were actually there, they actually made sense of all the gibberish on my paperwork, AND they even let me use their pen to fill out my name and social security number on one of my forms.

And so, if things go as they should – and we all know that sometimes what should be and what is are two entirely different things, especially when we are talking about Queens College – I should FINALLY be ready to just attack all the remaining requirements of my degree and be on my merry way. At last I can calculate with some degree of accuracy how much longer I will be in school and what exactly I will be doing while I’m there. At this point, I can say I will likely need two more years to finish my art degree at the pace I am going (six credits per semester) and another two or three years to get my Masters in Art Education.

If all goes well, I could be teaching by 2012.

That is sooner than I anticipated getting my credits to transfer, so I suppose that means I am actually in fairly good shape.

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