Between my severe PTSD and my son’s smiling, happy learning disabilities, I was stunned that I didn’t outright smack somebody today. My PTSD makes my head start throbbing as soon as I wake up because I know, the instant my brains hits the “ALERT” switch that I have to go back out into that world again and deal with people who really could not care less about you or the stress their process puts you under or the fact that it is all a maze meant to make it easier for them and we just have to keep begging from one person to the next to find out what the next step is.
There were two orientation classes that were “open” in the morning, first come-first served and if there wasn’t space then come back tomorrow. Well, between the boy’s shower and my shower and my wanting to just forget the whole damn thing and stay inside where I belong we missed the first class by minutes. So, we decided to try to get some of the other things accomplished before the next class.
We went to the financial aid office with SSI form letter in hand. Waited in line, got to this stunningly bored girl behind the desk and handed her the letter. Nope, not good enough. We also were supposed to fill out a form online at the library and print it and bring it back with the SSI form letter.
After asking where the library could be found and getting that damn head tilt for an answer, we walked over to the library which was dark and every single door, on all four walls had a sign that said “This door CLOSED. Use next door to the left.” I guess this is what passes for college humor because the signs kept sending you to the next door to the left until you got to a door on the other end of the wall on which you started which had a sign that said “Library CLOSED until AFTER registration”.
Back to the main building and more people who weren’t interested or “didn’t know” where we could find a PC and printer to fill out the form on until someone finally pointed us to the counseling office where there were a bunch of PCs all in a row and all we had to do was sign in and wait for one to come empty. Wait we did and the boy happily filled in 90% of the info with just a wee help from Dad. Took two tries to get it printed but we finally did, so back to the financial aid office. Handed over the newly printed form and the SSI letter, which she duly stamped and then looked at us blankly.
“That’s all”, I asked?
“Yeah, it will show up when he pays his fees that some are waived.”
“Okay, can you help us with finding some of the tons of grants and scholarships that are available for learning disabled students”, I ask?
“You have to do that research yourself, that’s nothing we do.”
“Well, do you know of any web sites that might be useful for finding out about things like that”, I asked?
So, with that small part finally accomplished we headed back to the orientation class building. After a few minute wait he was given a number and actually fairly quickly called in. It was some sort of video about the school and campus and you were asked about 5-7 questions about the video and you have to get all of them correct or else start over on that set until you get all of them right. That took the boy about an hour and then it was time to talk to the counselor.
I came in with him to explain about his learning disabilities and the great program he was in and how we were trying to work everything around so that he didn’t miss the job training or school and all he really wanted to do was be a photogapher. She helped get three classes that he really wanted (Beginning Digital Photography, Photoshop Basics and Creative Writing) and said to go register and pay the fees.
Went to the window that does all that only to be told that the folks who registered the students were not there that day (ON REGISTRATION DAY!!!!!) but we could go and register online and even pay there, too. We hurried home (after getting the required pizza for the boy’s growling stomach) and I immediately logged on, found the right pages (with his most able assistance), entered the classes he wanted and the times and the campus and etc, etc.
FINALLY clicked on the page where I’m to pay for the classes only to be met with HUGE RED letters that tell me I can’t register him until 9 AM TOMORROW! I tried three times with the same results and, after searching the site for the registration office a nice female voice explained that everyone that participated in the orientation classes were entered into a computer. HOWEVER, that list of names had to be then PRINTED OUT and MANUALLY entered into another computer system for him to able to register. I asked why they didn’t simply have the servers connected or, at the very least, copy the list of attendees onto a dvd and just enter it into the SEPARATE computer system that way. The answer? I kid you not! “Oh, because that’s state regulations that we’re not allowed to have that information on a DVD but have to have a hard copy which by the way, we shred as soon as we’re done.”
“Wait!”, I asked. “Putting it on a DVD and entering the info, which would take maybe ten seconds, and then shredding the DVD can’t be done but a piece of paper with the exact same information HAS to be printed out, hand copied name by name to that other computer, taking a couple of hours and THEN you shred the paper? And THAT’S a state regulation?”
“Yes, sir. It’s new last year. Before that we had the servers connected but it was felt that it made it too east for someone to hack the system that way.”
“Would you like to hire me to be your computer tech so that you can only connect the two systems physically during the time that you are loading this simple info over and then I’ll disconnect the systems and end of problem? I’ll do it cheap, use a physical two key setup for the connection and never, ever tell a soul and your job will take hours less and my head will stop hurting and everyone will WIN?”
“Oh”, she says, “That would be so lovely. Now, do you have any other questions?”
“Yes, actually. Once my son’s name is OFFICIALLY entered BY HAND into the second computer, can I register him then?” I asked.
“Yes, sir. As soon as the information is saved you can do that.”
“And”, I calmly inquired, “what time will that probably be and will I be able to register him before the big red letters that say not before 9 AM tomorrow?”
“Actually, sir. They should be done by about 5 PM and you can start trying to register him at that point.”
You”, I said gratefully, “have provided me with more understandable information in one conversation than I have been able to obtain in two days of trying. You are the best person that I have spoken to and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
It’s 5:04 PM right now. I will start attempting to get him registered now and will keep trying until I either succeed or until I can no longer keep my eyes open and then start again at 9 FREAKING AM tomorrow.
And that is the tale, so far, of attempting the seemingly simple task of enrolling my son for three simple classes in a small community college in a small town in Northern California.
All of this proves that the halfwits that whine and cry about their taxes has so vastly limited the number of people available for these simple tasks that it can THREE DAYS just to register when one day would be all that would be necessary with a fully staffed college. It also proves that the entire system is so reliant on computers and so afraid of their systems being hacked that they end up doing massively important things by hand, anyway, which negates the need for the computers in the first place.
Oh, and I told him that if he wants to get the degree and move onto the state university system later in life, HE’S ON HIS OWN!!!!! (or maybe not)