Kevin Rhodes (cormac) wrote,
Kevin Rhodes

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Big ole honkin' update

Looking back at the entries of the past three months, I realized that I've only been posting memes, while real life has been having its way with me since the end of January. So let's catch up.

Two days before this semester began, I received a letter informing me that I had been disqualified from financial aid. I had taken an incomplete in one of my classes, which dropped the total completed units for that semester below 75%, resulting in disqualification. I appealed the decision, and after working with the professor to get the incomplete resolved, got financial aid back, a month later. In that time, I was unable to work, and had no income (particularly distressing when rent came due), which had me worried about my ability to stay at CSULB. Once financial aid was reinstated, all became ok again.

During the no financial aid period, a good friend and her daughters were rendered homeless. Not one to let friends live on the street, I invited them to stay at my apartment. Her 15-year old stayed close to her school, while she and her 4-year old moved into the flat. I don't normally do well with kids, but dealing with the wee one was possibly the greatest experience I could have had to prepare me for my own 5-month old niece, Vanessa.

When I returned to work, I found out that my bosses, rather than trying to find the funds outside of work/study to get me in to do the work that only I was qualified to do, were instead training other student assistants in PeopleSoft and getting them FERPA clearances. Translation: I am being replaced. Since I've been back, I've done little more than train other student assistants and put together manuals to ensure that should I disappear, the office can still run smoothly. While I understand SLD's worries about losing their only student assistant who can handle grade checks, I would appreciate being told flat-out that I was being replaced, rather than the director and coordinators dancing around the subject. They're also acting as if they want me out the door, giving me 13 hours a week. I can't afford to live in Long Beach on 13 hours a week, so I'm currently looking for another job.

After a couple days of having my résumé posted on Monster, I was contacted by an agency in Los Angeles who handles a whole bunch of non-profit entities, including USC. They're currently presenting me to USC, the Keck foundation, and some other positions. So the job situation isn't resolved, but I've taken pro-active steps to resolve it.

Two weeks ago, I was pulled aside after class by my professor, grad adviser and thesis director, Dr. Mize. He informed me that he had been approached by Texas A&M with a job offer. Dr. Mize is a Texas native, and has frequently complained about living in California, with good reason: his wife, daughter and he all live in the valley, he works in Long Beach, and she works in Thousand Oaks. A&M's offer was particularly enticing, as his wife was offered a job as well. In any case, he told me that if he left, he would be unable to continue as my thesis director. Normally this wouldn't be a problem. However, Dr. Mize is the only medievalist in the English department at CSULB, and therefore is the only person qualified to direct my thesis committee. To make matters worse, he asked me not to talk about the job offer until he made a final decision and announced it, which he did Monday.

This is particularly problematic because I am so close to graduating. I have two classes (a 600-level seminar and a semester of Latin) and the thesis, and I'm finished. But since my thesis will not be an option at CSULB, my plans have been derailed.

I have very few options, and most of them are either undesirable or unlikely. I could take academic leave and wait for the university to find a new medievalist. Unfortunately, as soon as I take leave, my loans become due. No good. I could transfer to another CSU, but I would most likely lose all but 6 of my 32 units, and there's no more respected CSU than Long Beach (except for the Polytechnics, but you don't go to a poly school for an advanced English degree). There's no "transfer" to a UC, unfortunately; you apply to the program just like everybody else, no exceptions. I could take a year abroad, but the only place that would really help me is Oxford, which would give me awesome contacts to get into the doctoral program, but which has no partnerships with any of the CSUs (or any American universities, for that matter) and whose independently run study abroad program costs $9,900 per semester. Oh, and a maximum of 6 units would transfer, total. I could become a visiting student at another CSU - I haven't explored this subject much, so there might be something there. Or, I could take the comps, which is REALLY bad for me as I'm trying to get into a PhD program in England, which relies upon theses to make decisions on such programs. "Oh, you've taken a comprehensive examination on the Middle Ages. How splendid. Now where's you thesis?" The grad adviser and many professors assure me that the comps are just as valid as a thesis, but they didn't attend British universities.

I'm still dealing with this one. No idea how it's going to turn out.

Shortly after Dr. Mize told me about his plans, the friend who was staying at my flat moved into a homeless shelter with her daughters, so now my apartment is empty. For the first time here, I have the apartment completely to myself. It's weird.

So, to recap: no financial aid, being replaced at work, finding a new job, losing the only professor able to direct my thesis committee, empty apartment.

I'll really try to keep this LJ updated. Honest.

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