First degree murder

Although I sincerely apologize for breaking one of my own promises to myself (to not ever just complain in a column), I feel that my latest administrative struggles deserve some light. At the very least, I know that I am not the only one who struggles with some of the hoo-ha tossed our way by policies and procedures.

Here’s my situation: I have almost successfully crammed four years of a college degree into three years. I am also pretty sure that I have discovered every trick imaginable for getting this done and have kept my GPA up in the process. Of course, it all comes down to the last three hours.

After transferring from my first university, I basically lost my Italian hours (six of them, hard-won) to the world of “electives.” Thinking I would transfer out of Sam Houston after a year, I did not start re-doing my foreign language requirement right away, as in retrospect, I should have. So I crammed two semesters into last summer (actually skipped one semester, if that’s any indication of my French skills).

In retrospect, I should have just bitten the bullet and taken 21 hours last fall after the transfer paperwork went through. I could have finished the first intermediate class, and taken it on campus this semester (22 hours!). But, of course, I did not quite get that far, and am now paying for it. I’m taking care of the first intermediate as we speak, but I really wanted to just take both together and not have to deal with this mess (for the record, I asked, and the professor agreed, but it got stonewalled by the department chair).

Sam Houston has set its grade filing deadline for August 10. Ok, reasonable. The foreign languages department is not offering intermediate French over the summer. Ok, still reasonable. Lonestar College is. Hooray! Lonestar College classes end August 13. Uh oh.

The registrar has been perfectly nice about allowing me to file grades for my degree at the last minute. Everybody apologizes, everybody understands. But it now all centers on a few nice folks letting me torture myself and cut back on class time. I’m really, at this point, not asking for any more than the opportunity to torture myself (taking a final way too early, hand-delivering several pieces of paper in a couple of cities), one which nobody seems willing to let me have.

Conclusion: I’d consider myself pretty close to a model student – I get good grades, I’m a student leader, I try to succeed. I’ve got applications in to start my graduate degree next fall. So, why is it proving near impossible to simply finish my degree?

What can the university administration really do for me? I’d prefer them to work closer with nearby universities, but I realize that it’s asking a lot. How about sometimes giving up the notion of “computer systems,” and treat special cases as special cases. I may be one out of 16,000 with this problem, but the computer can take care of the other 15,999 normal cases. Perhaps, if you fix my problem now, some other poor little graduate in the future will benefit from this new process.

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