Friday, September 4, 2009

I Don't Qualify? Really?

Procrastination WAS my thing for the past few years. It got me into a college that obviously was not my first choice. It made sure I turned in the rest of my Seminary assignments weeks after I was done and graduated from high school. It gave me probably the worst musical performance of my high school existence . Oh yeah, that Prom performance was broadcast on public television, so plenty of good laughs for hours on end this summer. Thank goodness even cable has a time line they have to follow and that wretched taped performance will vanish into a box in a dark closet somewhere in a tiny storage area where the only threat of it showing up would be if I ever became a famous artist or celebrity of some sort. I am positive only then will some random kid I attended high school with produce the DVD and claim to be one of my yesteryear best friends, sell it to every news media outlet for financial gain. Fat chance that will ever happen, but you never know, right?

I seemed to have digressed from my original point about procrastination, my bad. I was given a 'stern lecture' (and I am being really POLITE on how I said that) about filing for financial aid or what we college kids refer to as "spending loot". Of course as luck would have it, yet another one of my parent's 'stern lectures' went in one ear, right out the other. I sat on it and waited until last week. Then came the threat of having to pay rent if my grades fell anywhere below a B average. The goal would obviously be to carry straight A's in my full time load, but my parent's showed me some mercy and said a B would be sufficient since I was preparing to leave after this school year. I nagged my dad a few times to help me prepare my FAFSA (you can google that if your lost, lol) and I hurried back to the school counselor to turn everything in. They say it will be three to four days before I hear anything.

Yesterday the FAFSA report came in the mail. Images of a shiny new guitar and a custom uke like I always wanted started to flood my thoughts. Oh how much spending loot was Mr.Sete entitled to? I'm a pretty decent guy. I'm polite and I work hard at my job and at home. I'm a good son and brother most of the time. I deserve a few trinkets for being decent.

My mom opened the letter and read aloud I qualified for figures in the thousands ... Meanwhile, I'm thinking in my head, "wait for it ... wait for it. Thousands? ... SCORE!" ... then she says very disappointed "in loans."
"You qualify for loans. You qualify for thousands in loans. Not even a stinkin' Pell grant? What the heck? Are these people nuts? A loan? What is that?"
Needless to say moms was NOT a happy camper. I think she went into shock.
"This can't be right. You have always qualified. I don't believe this."
I know my mama well and I knew these next few sentences would soon follow,
"Why son? Why didn't you finish applying for the scholarships I asked you to fill out? If you would have filled out the scholarships we would not be in this predicament now. You need to talk to someone at your school and see why you don't qualify for a grant."

My mom could not wrap her mind around what she had just read in the letter. At this point my dad is already toiling away on his laptop doing his homework. He's doing online college classes for a different degree in computer stuff. He looked puzzled as to why my mom was upset. My dad grew up with a 'silver spoon' I guess and doesn't understand my mom's 'plastic spoon' mentality most of the time. My mom told me to jump on the computer and check to see if 'they' made a mistake.
"Hurry up son. Do it now".
I guess if I moved fast enough, the results were sure to be different in the computer, lol. I log on and the results are exactly what the FAFSA letter says. The same amounts. Still loans.

I guess when I go to my lab session tonight I will have to see why I didn't qualify for even a Pell Grant. I see three bright and glorious silver linings from my college career thus far;
First, procrastination is NEVER a good thing even if I keep saying "I have my own perfect timing."
Second, I aced my first college math test last night, so Yipee for me!
Third, it's official now mom. **sounds of bells and noisemakers** WE ARE NOW MIDDLE CLASS! Even if it's only on paper, the United States government gave me an official document that says it in black and white. You make too much money! Thank you, thank you, thank you to this noble institute of higher learning for printing the words I thought I would never live to see on a financial document from a school with my name next to it I 'DO NOT QUALIFY'!

We're not rich but we're not broke like we use to be. Yessir! **sings in celebration** (sing with me if you know the tune)
"Well, we're movin' on up , movin' on up
To the east side, movin' on up
To a deluxe apartment in the sky
Movin' on up, movin' on up
To the east side
We finally got a piece of the pie

Fish don't fry in the kitchen
Beans don't burn on the grill
Took a whole lotta tryin'
Just to get up that hill
Now we're up in the big leagues
Gettin' our turn at bat,
As long as we live, it's you and me baby
There ain't nothin' wrong with that ..."

I think I'm going to frame that letter for my parents and one day they will get to hang a copy of my degree next to it.