Monday, January 31, 2011

Rachel K. Orientation

This evening I went to the Seattle University Master in Teaching Program Orientation. It was my first opportunity to meet the 49 other lucky ducks that I will be going to school with. These are the people I will be drinking wine with. The people I will be borrowing pencils from. The people whom I will be sabotaging for future job openings.

There were a lot of left-handed folks, which made me feel instantly at home. I met a nice girl named Crystal, who had the blingiest engagement ring I ever did see. She told me that she had actually deferred from the fall program so that she could get married. I replied in turn that I would rather go through grad school twice than plan a wedding.

I also met a fellow southpaw named Jim-Jiminy, who wants to teach the same grades (3-6) as I do! Huzzah! Surely Jim and I will be capital chums in no time.

Before the orientation began, we played a "get to know you" game in which we had to find people who met credentials on a piece of paper.

I say, have you climbed a mountain? No? How about.... have you ever been to Egypt? Yes? Prodigious! Do tell me your name, as you have done me this kindness.
 It was a great opportunity to meet some of the 50 colleagues, and I even met a few girls who share a neighborhood with me. One of them has a car.... 

As our orientation began, we heard from two notable people. The first, Madam M., spoke to us about the program itself, answering each question with an indelible smile. The program will be challenging, but the professors I've met seem quite capable and all of the advanced readings were given out to us, so at least there is the opportunity for preparation.
After a short recess of cookies and lemonade, we returned to our seats and heard about the "field" from Captain G, as I will refer to him. His aim was to explain to us how he places us and what he tries to take into consideration, such as geography. He is undoubtedly a veteran, and I think myself lucky to have him on my side.

SU is known for having the highest success rate in teacher placements in the state, at least in 2007. Hopefully with my dashing good looks and first rate resume, I too will reap the  benefits of a meager salary and classroom full of spitballers. It is the dream.

For the rest of February I will be working on my independent studies, which include economics and life science for elementary school teachers. I hope to spend a great deal of time in the SU library, which I haven't visited yet. However, an impending sore throat may cause an untimely delay in this. I will continue to drink tea and stay vigilant.

NB: All names have been changed as I was warned about the consequences of having social media available to the public. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. And for funsies.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rachel K. FAFSA

I went to visit my family's home in Virginia after University of Washington classes were finished and my math course at Seattle Central was completed. I got straight As! This is equally exciting as it has been in the past. I wear my Hermione Granger badge proudly.

While home, I talked to my parents about the troubles I was having making a decision over which school to attend. My parents told me that I should choose the school with the better reputation. But they BOTH have great reputations! Finally, after sleeping on it for the maximum time allotted, I decided to join the ranks of the Redhawks and send $500 to Seattle University.

The decision felt right enough, although I almost always have "buyer's regret," as some call it. In the end, I liked the idea of being in and out of a program quickly and getting out into the job market. I'm ready to DO things, and I don't want to waste any more time.

I returned to Seattle with a decision made, and promptly canceled all of the classes I had worked so hard to enroll in. The refunds of thousands of dollars made me feel better and better about my SU decision.

Now that I am all signed up for SU and they have received my generous and non-refundable donation of a few hundred smack-a-roos, it is time to get busy for an ACTUAL program, rather than getting busy on preparations for an actual program. I feel like I've leveled up!

Paperwork came and was filled out, an online portal account was registered for, and the last thing to do before starting classes in March was to apply for financial aid and get some money wired into my account (like magic.)

Of course, I had no idea how to go about getting money in my account. I knew that the money would appear and that they would expect me to pay it all back at some point, but I wasn't certain of any of those important application steps. So, I spent most of January looking into finances, which are my least favorite things to look into.

  1. Head to -- NOT --, which is the same thing, except they ask you to pay $60 instead of $0. Shame on you, In fact, FAFSA stands for the "FREE application for federal student aid." 
  2. Start filling out the 2011-2012 FAFSA. 
  3. Panic when the webpage prompts me for my 2010 tax information, which I do not have. 
  4. Head to Seattle University's student services center and talk to a nice man who knows many things about FAFSA.
  5. Become informed that I need to fill out the 2010-2011 FAFSA, not the 2011-2012 FAFSA. 
  6. Panic because I do not have my tax records for 2009, which I now need. 
  7. Contact IRS and have free 1040 transcripts sent to my house (it is extremely easy and I will link to it here in case anyone else has this issue.)
  8. Receive 2009 tax transcripts and do a dance for joy.
  9. Get back on to fill out my 2010-2011 FAFSA. 
  10. Realize that by entering my SSN and TIN that the website already has my tax information from 2009 and I didn't need to request a transcript in the first place. 
  11. Face palm.
  12. Fill out FAFSA. 
I imagine these 12 steps would be abridged to 3 simple steps if one is good at reading directions, which I am clearly not.

In any case, I am now able to borrow thousands of dollars from Uncle Sam for my first quarter of school, and will be able to borrow thousands more for the 2011-2012 school year soon.

And that is how I learned how to set myself up to owe thousands of dollars in 12 simple steps!