A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
It has taken $99 and more hours than I care to admit, but I've finally gotten a transcript from my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Or so I think: I've filled out the forms and clicked the button and printed off a confirmation notice. The scripts should be in the mail by Monday, as I've paid a hefty expediting fee.
The journey has taken a couple days, starting with hunting down my student ID number, back from the days when they were chisled on stone tablets in the Bursar's office.
One thing always leads to another, of course. It always does.
The school has my current
address and my old name and e-mail. I change the e-mail address easily enough. But to change the name, you have to download and print a
form, fill it out the old fashioned way, and mail it in. Since I need
the transcript pronto for a scholarship application, I decide to float
the old name on the new transcripts.
I continue to fumble through the various online screens without much luck. So I watch the tutorial (Am I that stupid? Don't answer: apparently I am. But what kind of form needs a tutorial to fill it out?).
Still not finding the answers I seek, I scream. No one here but the dog, so I scream again.
Then I pick up the phone and call the bursar's office. A charming young woman with a whiskey-and-cigarettes sounding voice helps me out. "Sorry about this cold," she says, and sings a few bars in her lowest register to prove how deep the cold has become entrenched.
I tell her I need an unofficial transcript from the dark ages. "How dark?" she asks. I tell her. "Ooooo. I don't know if there's imaging back then. Let me check." She is imagining precursor bursars drawing on the cave walls, I'm sure. But we had the advanced technology of carbon copies and mimeography machines back then. Even so, you just went into the office, asked, and presto: you had your transcript. More or less.
"We do have imaging on you," she replies, pleased, "but it's not scanned." Then some data entry mumbo jumbo follows about why it's harder to get an unofficial transcript, which is free, than an official one, which is embossed and sealed and illuminated by the skilled hands of many monks living in caves and working together.
I explain I need it fast, and we agree to go the official transcript route even though it will empty my bank account.
"I need to vent," I say. "Vent away," she says agreeably.
"Why can't you just sent it to UWM electronically? It's nuts. And each program wants 5 official transcripts at $8 a pop. Why can't they get one and pass it around or copy it?"
She agrees, soothingly. "But it's really about privacy. We are vigilant about protecting our students' privacy," she says. "And besides, we're separate schools using separate computer systems."
Well, I know. "But Macs can talk to PCs if they really want to, and I don't have a shred of privacy anyway, and I'm the one asking for the information to be shared. . ."
We tsk-tsk a bit about the foolishness around us, and she advises me to order 25. "Then you get a per unit discount: only $6.50 each. I figured it out: the break point is 18 transcripts." We say goodbye, exchanging air kisses.
Back to the forms. I punch in "25" for quantity.
Unfortunately, the order form doesn't recognize the discount. With shipping, 25 transcripts cost $200. I cut the order to 10.
Meantime, I could have driven to Madison, picked up my transcript, and driven home with it. It would have been easier--and not much more expensive.