Ah, the end of August. The temperature drops to a comfy, crisp low 70s, and everywhere one hears the pitter patter of little feet getting ready for a new school year. Where I go to school, what one hears is the pitter patter of feet running back and forth between offices whose computer systems don’t talk to each other, making for a confusing, frustrating mess. As I’ve just had my most recent jog, let me take a moment to vent.
This has always been a pain, but even more so since I picked up my masters in May. Let me be clear: I matriculated as a doctoral student four years ago, have always been a doctoral student. Apparently however, there is no designation in the system for students who are doctoral students but receive their masters on the way to the doctoral degree. Therefore, according to the system, I graduated in May. Except that I still need to register for classes in the fall, get financial aid as a continuing student, etc. So, that’s already problematic, but you’d think that I could go to one place to have it fixed, right?
Wrong. I had to visit each and every relevant office (finaid, registrar, etc) and fill out a form saying that I’m a continuing student. Even this didn’t have the intended effect; although last spring I let finaid know that I hadn’t graduated, I still wasn’t granted aid this year because the system had me down as graduated. Frustrating!!! This was fixable, thank goodness, but still. I’d thought that I’d taken care of this back in the spring.
Another example: my student ID is outdated, and I need a new one. Because I’m both a student and a part-time professional, I should get a student ID and a staff ID. So I stop by the ID office this morning, to be told that I needed to see human resources first, because they have two records in the system for me: one with my social security number as my ID, and one with my randomly-assigned ID number (which I opted to switch to after it was clear that everyone and their mother was seeing my soc. And that’s another story in itself – I got blocked out of the computer labs once I switched and had to talk to computing services to get it fixed.). Anyway, the ID office woman told me that I need to get "a slip" from human resources that will do some sort of magic merge of my two records. But just for their office, I’m sure.
The frustrating thing is, who knows what other ramifications these entanglements have? What if I find myself ineligible for grant money because the grant office thinks that I don’t exist, even though finaid and the registrar can tell you (finally) that I do? It’s 2006 for crying out loud. Please please please merge your administrative computer systems already! Please!