September 19, 2005

So you just go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time.

Writing my name and social security number on six pieces of paper turned out to be a much more involved process than I expected. I finally went to bed at midnight with one critical piece of paperwork still missing, but then, who would have thought that I'd need a copy of my high school transcript again? Or to know what date my driver's license was first issued, or when my checking account was opened, or when I last registered to vote? The admissions office seems to be much more interested in whether they can charge me nonresident tuition than in whether I'm going to be a good student this time around. Joke's on them, though. I really do live here.

In my pitiful six hours of sleep between signing the last form and waking up to go to work this morning, I dreamt that there were still more forms to complete. Lots of forms, three, four, maybe a half-dozen, that I hadn't even managed to find and print yet. It isn't true. I mustn't believe it. I have three applications and four petitions, or maybe two statements and one petition and three applications; I forget. A whole forest has already been laid waste for me to go back to school, and just as no tree has been left standing no form is left unfilled either. I'm going to check again as soon as I get home anyway. Bloody subconscious.

Friday is D-Day; I'm leaving work at noon and going to sit in the Anthropology department office and squirm. No, really. Squirming is part of the process. I have to walk my application in, in person, and wait while a department staff member looks me up and down and decides whether to accept it. I'm picturing something like Red's parole hearing in The Shawshank Redemption, but I'm not sure whether to be young, eager, sycophantic Red or old, tired, condescending Red. Suggestions?

Posted by dianna at September 19, 2005 10:12 AM

Not to alarm you, but be VERY careful with that Statement of Legal Residence. If your answer fails to meet their stringent demands on any one of the dozen tests they've devised for residency, they'll slap you with out-of-state status and you'll never be able to convince them you're a resident. Ever. I lived in San Diego for ten years prior to registering at Berkeley, they decided I wasn't a resident, and I spent four years trying to convince them otherwise, to no avail.

And I'd say be very nice and polite. Sycophantic Red, if you will. My experience with bureaucrats is that they have a dozen reasons why you can't do what you want to do, and they're looking for any excuse to slap you down with one, so it pays not to get them mad. This isn't to say that being nice guarantees you'll get what you want, but being standoffish tends to guarantee your failure.

Besides, presumably they're going to have to work with you in the future. They'd probably prefer friendly-happy-perky to worldly and condescending.

Posted by: Zach S. at September 19, 2005 01:20 PM

Honestly, what do you think I'm doing with the statement of legal residence? Setting it on fire and waving it out the window? Of course I'm being careful with it; that's why I'm on the bloody phone to my bloody high school today to get my bloody transcript.

And no, I'm not planning on quoting Morgan Freeman at the anthropology department staff; it's a comment on the similarly beauracratic experience I'm expecting to find.

I realize I asked for suggestions, but let me rephrase that to specifically exclude ones that assume I'm a fool. Thank you and good afternoon. Where the hell is my tea?

Posted by: Dianna at September 19, 2005 01:50 PM

Dianna, here is a very important piece of information for you that I wasn't privvy to until all too late: if you attended high school in California, then you are legally a resident by the standards set by the UC system. Period.

Posted by: Chris at September 19, 2005 03:10 PM

I'm sorry. My statement was ineloquent. What I ought to have said was: You are wise to be careful with the SLR. I did not intend to imply that you are in any way taking the SLR any less seriously than you should. Further, any misreading of your post was a failure of understanding on my part, and not intended to imply that you would seriously contemplate a foolishly obstreperous approach to your meeting.

Posted by: Zach S. at September 19, 2005 03:39 PM

Chris: unfortunately, the one piece of paperwork I'm having trouble getting is my NHHS transcript. The school doesn't even have them anymore; they're at the LAUSD district archive something or other. But then, you probably know that. How did you get yours, if by some chance it didn't involve lots of phone calls during business hours and a totally unacceptable waiting period with deadlines looming?

Zach: you beat me to the punch. I was going to leave the room, come back in properly, and say that in my frustration over not being able to get my hands on one last critical piece of my paperwork I overreacted to the suggestion that I wasn't already concerned enough about it. It was uncalled for. I apologize.

For the record, the idea of setting the SLR on fire and waving it out the window did wonders for my mood.

Posted by: Dianna at September 19, 2005 04:11 PM

They never asked for mine :-/

Posted by: Chris at September 19, 2005 05:55 PM

Well, fooey.

Posted by: Dianna at September 19, 2005 08:27 PM