"No, you may only pay by credit card online, but it will take a few days before you have the option of paying online." Don't ask me why this is. I talk to the admissions lady for a few more minutes and we decide that it makes the most sense for me to drive the hour and a half commute there to drop off my transcripts (for the third time) and a check. She also recommends meeting with the continuing education advisor, to see if she can help me sort this out.
I call the continuing education office to ask if my advisor will be there in the afternoon and if she'd be available to meet in person. Her secretary confirms she'll be around. I get my things together and start driving.
I arrive on campus. It's pouring outside and I'm wearing these bright orange mud-covered galoshes that probably make me look like I've just stepped off of a dairy farm. That's okay. My feet are dry, my hair is wet. I decide to head to continuing education first and look for my advisor. The secretary is gone. Everyone is at lunch. I'm told to come back in a half an hour.
I walk across campus to the building where the admissions office is. I drop off my check and my transcripts. I head back over to continuing education, but everyone is still gone, so I decide to do a miniature self-guided tour in the rain. Student union. Check. Campus bookstore. Check. Science library. Check.
I head back over to continuing education. It's been a good forty-five minutes, now. Everyone is still gone. I decide to wander through the building, get lost, and eventually find my way back over to their office. The secretary is back. I introduce myself. "Oh," she replies, "we wanted to call you, but I couldn't remember your name. It turns out that your advisor has a dentist's appointment today and won't be in until later this afternoon. You can wait for a few hours or just call her when you get home."
Rather than walk around in the rain for a few more hours, I decide to go home.
I call my advisor when I get home. She tells me that I should be registered by the next morning, and that if I'm not, that I should check in with admissions.
Tuesday morning: I still can't register. There are two more spots left in physics. I'm getting freaked out. I call admissions again and talk to the same unpleasant guy who I talked to last time.
"I'm calling to inquire about the status of my application," I tell him.
"Did you check online?" He asks with exasperation.
"Yes. It has been received but not processed. My advisor in continuing education suggested I call you and check in if I was not able to register by today."
"Can you hold?"
I hold for five minutes, literally. No joke.
"We've received your application online."
(Duh, I knew that).
"Have you submitted a payment?" He asks.
"Yes, I dropped off a check (and my transcripts) in person yesterday."
"It will take us a while to process the check. First it needs to be deposited, and then it needs to cleared. After it clears we can process your application. I doubt that we'll be able to process your application until after classes start, so I suggest you contact departments independently and see what their processes are for getting into classes that are closed."
I politely detail the nature of all the crap that I've been through already. "Is there any way that you might be able to expedite things considering these extenuating circumstances?"
"I'm sorry, you'll just have to be patient," he says unsympathetically.
"Okay. Thanks for your help." (Not).
I hang up the phone and start sobbing somewhat hysterically. MiniMan, my nearly two-year-old, is sitting at the kitchen table with me looking disturbed. I blow my nose. Then I cry some more.
"Mama. Sad." He says. He picks up the used tissue and wipes my nose.
I give him a hug and pick up the phone again to call admissions back.
"Admissions, can you hold?" I wait. And wait. And wait.
"Hello, admissions." Finally.
"If I drive up today and drop off cash instead of a check, will this speed up the processing of my application."
"We do not accept cash. You may pay online with a credit card, though."
Am I going out of my mind? I think I'm going out of my mind. I pay online with a credit card, and then call the chemistry department as recommended by the unpleasant guy in admissions.
"Chemistry department, this is the really nice secretary speaking."
"Hi, I'm E. Greene. I talked to you last week. The unpleasant guy from admissions who you suggested I call suggested I call you again."
"He told me that I couldn't be deferred and that I'd have to reapply. I reapplied but now I've been told that admissions won't be able to process my application until after classes start..." My voice wobbles as I try to hold back tears. I start crying again.
We talk for a few minutes. I must sound really pitiful, because she starts making jokes to try to cheer me up.
"Okay, I'm going to have to call some people, but in sum, you're looking to take undergraduate classes as an unaccepted, non-matriculated student, right?"
I laugh. "Exactly!"
Tuesday afternoon: Super-nice chemistry secretary calls me back.
"I talked to admissions and they're processing your application. You should be able to register this afternoon, or by tomorrow morning at the latest."
I gratefully thank her and wait expectantly at my computer.
About an hour later, I actually register. I get the last space left in my physics class, and a spot in the huge gigantic chemistry course, too. I am not sure how I ended up being so freakishly lucky, but I am forever indebted to the really nice secretary in the chemistry department. I wonder what she said to make admissions give me the time of day? I have noticed that sometimes only by breaking down and exhibiting signs of complete desperation, will people actually notice you. I'm not sure if that was the case in this instance or not. Anyway, how do I thank her? I want to write her a note and perhaps do something involving food. Chocolate cake with fresh raspberries? Wine? Both?!