Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Passed!!!

I passed my First Competency Final!!!!. What a relief! I was a bit worried because it was so hard and there was an interference during the exam that affected my ability to concentrate. I also wasn't in the best of shape physically because I was getting so stressed out that I was having trouble eating and sleeping.

With one big final out of the way, I can now start to study for the three finals that I will take during the fall semester. In the next few days, I will put up a countdown timer for the next final.

To relieve my stress, I've decided that I'm not going to pursue anything more with the financial aid office. There is one more multi-step thing I could do to get more student loan from them, but I'm not going to do it. I've had enough. I'll make do with whatever I can get from them as it now stands.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Final Down and Three To Go

I took a really big final today. It lasted for 9 hours and 35 minutes straight. There was no time out for lunch. I snacked as I wrote. I did sight ID of nematodes and arthropods and provided their common names and scientific names. I provided pest management recommendations, drew graphs, provided field distributions of symptom patterns, and made insect and mite pest sampling plans and designs. I produced 21 full pages of handwritten answers.

I don't know how I survived it, but since I am sitting at my computer doing this post, I must still be alive. It will take about 2 weeks to find out whether I passed. I sure hope so, because I never want to go through this particular exam again. To pass, we have to score at least 80%. A point off here and a point off there...the points off add up and for some students add up to less than 80%. Even if I don't pass, I do feel a sense of accomplishment for taking it (especially considering how my life has been) and providing an answer for every question. Hopefully, I will pass.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Studying in Progress

I decided that I am going to continue moving forward and take the First Competency Final next Tuesday. I finished the paper today that is due on Friday. So that's one thing done. Now I am back to studying for the final. I'm taking time off from work to study even though I can't afford it. The financial pressures have felt like a 60 ton weight on my shoulders. I have chosen to throw the weight off and deal with it after the final.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Financial Aid Woes

As you know, ever since the loss of my assistantship, I have been battling with the Student Financial Aid Office to provide me with a viable financial aid package. Today, I lost the battle.

What this means for me, I do not completely know at the moment. I do not know whether I will be able to complete this program. I am fairly certain that I will not be taking the First Competency Final next week. I will keep you posted.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Financial Aid Saga and a Final

It has been a few days since I have posted anything, so I want to give you a quick update on things. The financial aid situation is not over. I don't know what the financial aid office did with their budget for my student loan, but by the time I paid my rent with the late fee, and a couple of small bills, my loan money was gone. I received much less than what I have received in previous summer semesters. So, I had to petition to get the university to increase the budget for my financial aid. They increased it by about $500 for Summer 1. Now I will have to somehow get them to disburse that to me. After looking at my student account, it is obvious that the financial aid office will not do anything until I contact them. I will probably have to go there in person. However I don't have the time, so I will call them and hope that is enough.

My Big Comprehensive Final is one week away and I am very nervous about it. I have been juggling 3 internships and I have a paper due this Friday for one of them. I have done very little studying for this final. However, I am taking a few days off from my internships and the paper is almost completed, so I have hope that I will be able to put in more study time after the paper is done.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Is the Financial Aid Saga Over?

I went to the Financial Aid Office on Thursday and told them that I needed my student loan and that I could not wait any longer for it. I reminded them that Semester 1 was almost over and that if someone in their office had not screwed up I would have received my loan money 2.5 weeks ago. I told them that I was going to have to pay a late fee for my rent and that I was not happy about having to pay for their mistake. I told them that I had to the money and that I would stay right there until I got it. I can hardly believe I said these things, but it worked. I got the money right then and there! It is in the bank...what's left of it anyway...after having paid the rent.

I have spent a lot of time over the last few months dealing with financial issues related to being able to continue my education. I have lost a lot of study time over the last semester and now I haven't studied in two days. I hope that tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ongoing Saga About My Financial Aid

I should have known that something else would come up that would delay getting my financial aid. At this university our summer semester is split into two parts: Summer 1 and Summer 2. So student loans are disbursed two times during the summer. We are more than halfway through Summer 1 and I still have not received my student loan. I called the Financial Aid Office to find out why. After the FA Officer looked at my record, he basically said "oops". Someone had entered my scholarship in under the wrong code, which put a hold on the disbursement of my student loan. He said they would fix it that night and I should get my loan soon. The next morning when I look at my student account, I saw that my scholarship had been deleted from my financial aid offer. It was gone, it was not there. Unfortunately, because I am juggling 3 internships, I did not have time to call that day. The next day, when I looked at my account, I saw that the scholarship had been put back in but for a decreased amount. I picked up the phone and called my FA Officer. A message came on that said "due to the high volume of calls that we are receiving, I am not taking any calls from students. Please leave your message and I will call back in a few days."

I have stretched out my spring semester student loan as far as it will go. It is gone. I have no more stipend and it will be at least 2.5 weeks before I get a paycheck. My rent is now late and I will have to pay a late fee because someone in the FA Office screwed up. I like the program that I am in, but this university sucks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Hidden Cost of a Solar Power Plant

It's been almost 3 years since the death of my beloved desert tortoise, Brock. In honor of the beauty that he brought to my life, go on over to Discovery Earth and take a look at what would be lost if a Solar Power Plant were built in the Ivanpah Valley of the Mojave Desert in California.