Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I have class. Do you?

Today was another of those interesting days.  I have an interview with a scholarship committee today.  The problem is, they wanted a graduation plan from me.  I started to put one together.  It was going smoothly since I've already looked over requirements several times before.  That's when I noticed something.

You see, I've been taking Welsh classes here.  It's not a common language, no, but it is one I love.  Part of the requirement for graduating with an English degree is to fulfill the GE "Languages of Learning" requirement with a foreign language instead of math.  (Yep, that's right--become an English major and they literally say "Okay, now, don't take any math...") I actually had completed the math Language of Learning during my Freshman year when I was trying to go into Biology.  I don't regret the switch to English.  Anyway, back to Welsh--kind of--part of the requirement is to take a high level foreign language class.  Guess what?  For Welsh, you actually had to go to Wales to get the 200-level courses!  At least, at BYU you did.  It was part of the Wales study abroad, which is one of the cheapest I've ever heard of.  Perfect, I thought.  Study an incredible language, go to the country, learn and travel at once--best idea ever!  I planned accordingly.

There was a slight hitch in this plan.

The university canceled the Wales study abroad.

Well, there went that idea.  So I made a new plan--I'd just learn a new language with a little extra school in the spring/summer next year.  I was thinking Italian or something like that.  Easy enough, right?

Yeaaaahhh....about that....

Turns out I needed 4 semesters of another language.  Let me do the math:  Senior year is two, spring/summer is another two, study abroad is minus one, and...three.  Right. Um...Well, maybe I could fit it in around other classes?  How many hours do I need to graduate?

Minus the language classes, 36.

More math--Study abroad is 12 with one that is required but doesn't help me graduate, I can do 18 hours in a semester if I don't mind killing myself, and there are 6 hours each spring/summer.  So that's...41.  Oh, good.  More than 36.  Assuming I don't mind slaving away for my last full semester.  7 more hours.  And language classes are...4 hours apiece.  That's...not 7.

I could add another semester.  Oh, wait, did I mention that the scholarship I'm applying for only goes to people graduating by August 2012?


I reworked and re-checked and redid my schedule several times, then went to the humanities advisement center, which I should have done in the first place.

I love the humanities advisement center.

"Look, you need to graduate by August."  Yep.  "So, why don't you take this and petition to the English department?  You've done a lot of Welsh, you intended to go further, and it's not your fault your study abroad was canceled."  I can do that?  "Here's the name of the person you need to contact."  Yay!

So, my graduation plan is mapped, it won't be killing me, a petition is in, and now I run to class and then to an interview.  Wow.  Life is good right now.  Never, never doubt the power of academic advisers.  High school guidance counselors?  That's a kettle of fish of an entirely different color.

Friday, March 11, 2011


So, I decided to go on a study abroad a while ago.  I found one my school, BYU, has for London.  It imitates the Bloomsbury group to a certain extent in that it has writers and artists working together in the cultural setting of London and most of the surrounding area.  I'm an English major, emphasizing in creative writing, with a minor in Visual Arts, so...well, let's say that when I found it, I was bouncing up and down.  Mentally.  Mostly.

There was one hitch--it cost a lot.  Like, >$10,000 a lot.  But I had a job, I planned on working more over the spring/summer, and I figured I could make up the rest in scholarships.  So I began the search for scholarships.  I started with the English department, expanded to the foreign studies program, and also went online looking for English, Creative Writing, and Study Abroad scholarships.  And I found a lot.

But there was a problem.

"Great scholarship!  We'll give you $1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and more!  We love you!"  the programs all loudly proclaimed.  "I mean, assuming you're a minority?"

...Um, nooo...I've got a lot of different countries in my background, but they're all European.  So no, not really.

"So, you're planning on a humanitarian mission to a third-world country?"

Wow, thanks for making me feel guilty.  No, I'm not; I'm going to a rather prosperous country to learn.  I'd like to do that sometime,'s not that time.

"Well then, you're going into medicine, right?"

...Hadn't planned on it.  I can't even watch shows like NCIS without getting slightly queasy.

"Oh, that's fine.  So long as you're planning on foreign service."

Nah, that hasn't ever really been a career plan for me.

"Hm.  Well, you're going abroad, right?  So you'll be learning a foreign language and we can give you money for that."

No, I'm going to London.  And quite frankly, I'm going a tad to the highly irritated side.

I kept looking.  I'm fairly sure I saw at least 200 that said "This scholarship is for ANYONE!  Except females studying English who are 1/4 Italian, attending BYU, AND share a name with either of Henry VIII's daughters."  Okay, maybe not, but it sure felt like it.

I'd pretty much had it with scholarships.  But here I am, still thousands of dollars short, so I kept plugging ahead.  Then, I found it.  The link practically glowed as I clicked on it.  "THE PERFECT SCHOLARSHIP," it boomed as I opened the page.  A fanfare played.  There was a halo of light surrounding my laptop as I scrolled down the page.  "We give money to females in English, Creative Writing, and other studies in the Fine Arts.  We want to let you study abroad.  If you're going to an English speaking country, it doesn't hurt your cause at all--it may help, in fact.  We understand you're not all planning on leading the biggest humanitarian project this side of the 1800's, and that you are really excited about this program you're going to.  In fact, we'll pay you at least half of the money you need.  Are you ready to sign up?"

Did they need to ask again?  YES!  Sign me up!

That's when I saw it.  Hiding down at the bottom.  In tiny letters.

Deadline November 2010.



I could hear the imps hiding online screaming in laughter.

I'm going to go cry now.