About a week ago, I got a phone call from the UMass History Department. The grad school registrar was processing my degree paperwork, and did not have any record for me passing the foreign language exam. Patty, the department assistant, called to ask me about this.
The registrar had no record because I didn't take one. The department (meaning the current program director) approved a course I took in lieu of an exam. The class in question was my GIS course from last spring. According to what I was told, it had been used as a substitute for the foreign language requirement in the past, and since all of my foreign language classwork is more than twenty years stale, taking a class in "an alternative tool of research" (to quote the grad handbook) instead.
According to the registrar, they have no record of this class being approved in place of the language exam. They have a list of pre-approved classes, and mine ain't one of them. So my graduation is on hold.
For those of you keeping score, this is the second time in two years (technically, 27 months) that I've been this close to earning a degree at UMass Amherst only to find out at the last gorram minute that, actually, I might not be done. So sorry about that.
And true to form, there'd be precious little I could do about it. I'm not ready for an actual language exam, if I could even take one. Which would require special permission, since they've already been given for this semester. And the add-drop period is over, so I couldn't enroll in a class to try to fix it. Even if I could afford one. Which I can't.
The grad registrar is not in his office today, so there's no one I can talk to. The office people were sympathetic, and both thought I'd probably be fine, but they don't know for sure. You can bet your sweet ass I'll be calling to talk to him Monday. And it should go without mention that I'll be talking to my department.
This shit cannot be happening to me AGAIN. But doesn't it just make sense that, if it were going to happen to someone, it would be me? The guy that has NEVER had anything happen in the academic world according to plan? That has dealt with more roadblocks than I can count or even remember?
Dammit...this cannot be happening again...
And I'm starting to hate this place...