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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grades, Federal Aid, and A New Engagement

Well, I can't really use time as an excuse for why I have no updated this thing. But I can use the lack of motivation, though seemingly a lot has gone on. Summer is here, and I have a lot more time on my hands. I say that hesitantly, as I am in the three ensembles at IU Southeast and have four concerts in the month of June. But I am only taking one class, and my summer CA job doesn't require nearly as much as the job during the regular school year does. So now, its finding things to do with my time. It has given me a lot of time to work on my Orchestra project, however so that is definitely a good thing.

Speaking of classes, my Spring 2012 Grade report is out....

          I have to say that I am not complaining about those grades. While the B+ in a 5 credit hour class actually brought my GPA down slightly, I have still managed to avoid the 'dreaded' C on my grade report, which is a goal I set for myself after realizing it would be highly unlikely for me to finish school with a 4.0.

You know, its kind of interesting how the GPA itself doesn't transfer when you switch schools. I had someone tell me the other day that it wasn't fair that you could have a really bad GPA at another school but then transfer and get a good GPA. Really? I question on how thats not 'fair'. I mean, its not like you are gift wrapped the new GPA. You are given a second chance, the opportunity to make things right. I don't think thats unfair at all, and everyone has the chance to do that. Alas, the words of an 18 year old who has barely begun to live.

More school fun. In logging into to onestart last week I was disheartened to get this message on my to do list.

I wasn't entirely sure what that meant, and so I rushed to the financial aid office to ensure I was still getting covered for my final year of my undergrad. As it turns out, I was denied because I have accumulated too many hours over the course of the years. See apparently you can only receive federal aid until you reach 160 credit hours, and I have accumulated a total of 170 which sounds like a lot, but the UofL School of Music Education department required 146 hours when I was there. So if their cap was 160, that means if you had ONE bad semester and had to withdraw all of your classes, then you could be screwed out of receiving federal aid. This concept stirred my brother, Paul, to make an interesting status update.

He may have been able to use a slightly more appropriate analogy than 'cooter hair' but the point was well spoken. Interestingly, someone questioned why I am complaining about this and why I have not graduated. Again, shit happens - but at least I'm actually working to try to fix the mistakes of the past. I didn't graduate, no. That was a mistake. I spent years working at crappy jobs trying to keep myself alive, and I was also paying off my student loans. In five years, I think I managed to knock off seven thousand dollars (maybe more). See....I was actually making a conscious effort to pay the government what I owed them. Also, I'm back in school trying to better my future. I am riding a 3.5 GPA cumulative after two years of college....that is not the easiest thing to do.

The injustice is that the federal government is making something like this difficult on me. That our system is set up to reward fortune (or lack thereof) but spit on hard-work and success. Welfare is an unjust system. It was designed to help people in need, which is understandable - but it does nothing to ensure they are trying to land on their feet. It enables people to avoid getting a job and be able to stay at home all day while getting money for doing nothing. Yes, I understand that there are people that flat out can't work - but what about people like me, who ARE working hard? Who WANT to succeed. Where is our help?

I will say this, they are offering me the chance to appeal which I was told by the Financial Aid Officer that I would most likely be granted because it is my final year and I wouldn't have to take out that much more. But the problem with this is that under an appeal you are required by law to only take what is REQUIRED to graduate. This means courses such as trombone study, piano study, and conducting - all classes essential for what I want to get my masters in - will have to be dropped, and I'm not so sure I'm willing to sacrifice a future in music because of some stupid system that was setup by greedy bigots on capitol hill.

Anyway, that is my rant for the day. Obviously, this situation has pissed me off. I have a meeting with my academic adviser to figure out what exactly I should do about this.

On a more positive note, I am happy to say that my younger brother, Mario, is engaged to his lovely girlfriend Whitney!!

Mario has asked me to be his Best Man. I'm not entirely shocked about this, but was pretty excited because since I really don't have anyone I would call my 'best friend' I'm pretty sure this will be my only shot at the coveted honor. They have not set a date yet, but it will probably be next spring - which will be interesting, considering it will be near my graduation. But I could not be happier for the two.

But now for a little humor...

Cracks me up every time.

Another good thing that has come with summer is that I have been taking a lot more care of myself. I have only eaten out a handful of times since the semester ended a month ago, and have increased my intake of fruits and vegetables significantly. I'm also trying to run every night. Since I have been on this 'diet and exercise' kick, I have felt less fatigued, stronger, and more motivated to get things done. Clearly I am doing something right.

                                                                         - PJF