unless you have a wealthy spouse.


i went to admissions to see what i needed to do to get a nursing degree. you'd think it'd be easy, right? i went here after all. i graduated with honors. it should be just as simple as letting me back into school, as though i had just switched majors. not so. apparently, i'm the first employee at the school who has thought about entering into the undergraduate nursing program. there's a couple of roadblocks. one, almost all undergraduate courses are taught during the day, and almost all masters courses are taught at night. supposedly, they do this for "space" issues.

so, what it comes down to is this: if i want to keep my job at the school and get a nursing degree for free, it would take me about five or six years to finish. this is because i have no prerequisites. during my four years as an undergrad, i took all english courses, and for what? i can read more critically now. i had a wild card up my sleeve. "what if i wanted to do the m.i.t. program?" "that'll be quicker," the admission adviser, linda, told me. "but you'd have to quit your job. you'd begin doing student teaching right away." i must've looked disappointed because then she said, "but it's only a year program. if you can manage to live off loans for a year, you're set." she laughed. "or unless you've got a rich spouse!"

i didn't find it very funny at all. this is serious business, linda. gm and ford went before congress to seek a bailout for billions of dollars, and congress granted it to them. where's the bailout for english majors? "why do you want to pursue nursing?" she asked me. "well, i majored in creative writing, but now i'm kind of facing reality." "right," she said, "well, it's tough to get any jobs without a masters degree." you're an admissions advisor, right? tell me something i don't already know. better yet, reverse time to about six years ago, and tell me that.

"well, i got my masters while i was an employee here, and let me tell you, it took me about six years to finish. i was so relieved when i finally finished." wonderful. you have kids, a dog, too, maybe? "you're in a peculiar position, though," she said. "we can't admit you into the bsn program without the prerequisites, but we figured out a way to re-admit you as a pre-major. once you finish your prerequisites as a pre-major, you can just switch your major to nursing." it didn't sound that complicated, but it felt like she wanted it to be complicated.

linda said she sat down with the dean of the college of nursing, that they were willing to re-admit me as a pre-major. "but don't tell anyone," she said. "the school of science and engineering doesn't want to become the dumping ground for people who want to get their pre-requisities in. usually, we advise students to finish those up at a community college." she kept trying to convince me to take the pre-requisites at a community college as well. "you can get it done faster. it's cheap, too."

she's probably right. but then, what's the point of offering a tuition remission for employees? i'm beginning to think that my school doesn't really want me to be an empowered leader for a just and humane world.

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