Graduating can be hard
Anyone who's had even a passing acquaintance
with UH knows that this school is capable of screwing up on a scale that
makes the FBI look
well-organized. After five years here,
I thought I knew that.
But I never really knew how bad it could
get, not until my parents called me this April and told me they'd received
a diploma in the mail —
backdated for December. I had been approved
at first, then declined, for a December graduation; when this happened,
I was confused, but
dutifully enrolled for spring and applied
for a May graduation. My first hint that might not be necessary arrived
when the diploma did.
You might think that not even UH could
make such a colossal mistake twice, but I assure you, it can and it will.
I sincerely hope it doesn't
happen to you, but the fact remains that
it might. To that end I provide you with this list of Handy Tips to Follow
as Graduation from UH
One: If you apply for graduation and receive
a letter of approval, do not — I repeat, do not — call your parents excitedly,
begin planning a
celebration or anything like that. Instead,
brace yourself for the possibility of another letter (which may reach you
only days before your
anticipated graduation date) stating cryptically
that you are not, in fact, approved. Call everybody with whom you might
have shared the good
news and rescind it.
Two: Check with the department of your
major and the good folks in E. Cullen to find out why you were disapproved.
Do not, under any
circumstances, make the mistake I did
and assume you are being told anything close to the truth. You should follow
the orders anyway — after
all, what the hell else are you gonna
do? In the end you might as well follow the advice of a street lunatic.
It's not the fault of the individuals involved;
it's the massive, malevolent UH bureaucracy.
Three: File for graduation again, this
time for the next semester. Don't worry — you won't get an approval or
a denial, and God knows nobody
will contact you to break the news that
you have, in fact, already graduated. You'll just wait, biting your nails,
Four: When a random, backdated diploma
does arrive in the mail, immediately visit every UH office you can think
of that is even remotely
relevant and demand, "Can they take this
back?" Once you've received five to seven assurances that no, UH cannot
one day and demand that
you hand over the diploma (plus $400 in
random fees and your firstborn daughter), you can relax. A little.
Yeah, it's cool that you're a college graduate,
but let's face it — most people find out about such milestones a little
sooner than four months
after the fact. Besides, if you're anything
like me, you're now looking at a Stafford loan the size of Dallas, one
you took out in desperation to pay
for a semester you hadn't planned on taking
and, it turns out, didn't need.
I, for one, was lucky. My teachers believed
me when they received e-mail saying, "I'm afraid I won't be taking the
final for your class, as I
apparently already graduated." Both of
them were kind-hearted enough to withdraw me retroactively and help to
get a refund, which means that
for once, UH is bending over for me.
So I guess you could say the whole saga
ended fairly well — I am, in fact, a college graduate, and the refund checks
are pouring in, meaning I
can afford non-store-brand ramen for once.
There's only one problem ... I still haven't actually seen the diploma.
My parents say they're getting it
framed and they'll mail it to me when
it's done. But I wonder...
Simonson, who (apparently)
graduated in December 2001