I attend a rather prestigious institution. I’ve been a little torn about attending this institution, but it served my need for a structured graduate program with evening courses in psychology. We’ve had a sort of grudging acceptance of each other for the last year or so.
One of the bothersome things about the program is that it seems to be growing outside its limits, meaning there are too many students and not enough qualified instructors. I have had a degree plan arranged since the first semester. That’s how it works: you look at the courses available and the courses required, you look at which semesters your courses are taught and which are prerequisites for which. Then you consider which are required for practicum.
Practicum is a kind of residency/internship period required to get to the point where you can practice counseling psychology as a professional and to graduate from the program (there are other hoops to jump through to get licensed, as well).
I worked hard getting my plan to line up. Logistics isn’t exactly my forte, so it took me a really long time. Hours and days, matching various prerequisites for practicum and prerequisites-for-prerequisites- for practicum, with available courses offered each semester. Some courses are offered every semester, some are offered once a year. Some are horrifying ten hours, once a month ordeals (which I tried to avoid). Some are twice a week, some are once a week for 5 hours during the summer semester. It’s a lot of information to process, and as I’ve said, I’m not that good at juggling all those datapoints in my dainty little head. My advisor looked at my plan, double checked it and signed off on it.
As I was getting close to practicum, I had to fill out another form showing how I planned to complete my prereqs by practicum time. We hammered it out on yet another planning form, and talked a little about what kind of a course load I could handle. We signed the form and went off marching.
Last semester when I went to register at noon on the first day of registration, all of my planned courses were full. Often this is solved at universities I’ve attended by adding a section or adding seats to a section that already exists. Alternatively, if I get on a waiting list and shown up for class,I’ve gotten in to whatever class I’ve wanted. The waiting list for these classes were full and no new sections were being added. People in the halls (except those lucky enough to have registered in the morning) were pissed off.
I went to the second string and tried to rearrange some things to make it so I’d take care of my practicum requirements on time (you can only start practicum certain times during the year). I spoke with my advisor and we hammered out a new plan. The new plan required me to take a horrific weekend course taught once a moth from 4 to 10pm on Friday and 9 to 1pm on Saturday. There are three weeks between class weekends. It sucks, but I signed up for it and I’m doing it because that’s the plan.
Today, in advance of registration opening on Monday, I sat down Friday afternoon to look and see what my schedule might be over the summer. The two classes on my planning form for this summer are both offered over the summer, however, they are offered on the Same Night of the Week. There’s no way I can do both.
The guy who’s in charge of practicum stuff is a nice guy. I felt like we hit it off immediately when I met him for the first time. I was actually thinking of setting up a meeting with him to discuss the doctoral program. He seemed more engaged than my regular advisor, who is nice, but seems slightly disinterested.
I called this more engaged guy and told him my problem. Hmmm… he looked at the courses I needed to take in the summer. When did I start the program? Hmmm… When was I supposed to start practicum? Hmmm. And then he said the following:
“You know, I hate to say this… but if the classes are on the same night? These course offerings have been available for quite a while. You really need to plan ahead. You needed to be planning ahead for your courses. There’s not much we can do.”
Oh my jesus, I need to PLAN? I need a fucking PlaN? Then I went on facebook and posted my response (which I didn’t say to the actual guy).