Friday, April 04, 2008

"She's Daid!"

Yesterday I placed a call to a dead person.

Of course I didn't know until the gentleman who answered the phone told me. It's horrible to do that. All I could do was say "I'm sorry. I was calling about the scholarship offered by the Eastern Star."

Gulp. Couldn't I have left that second sentence out?

Anyway, I had to give the counselors a bit of grief for having me call a dead person. If this had happened Tuesday, I probably would have thought it was an initiation rite.

Today is the last day before Spring Break. The principal announced to the teachers that she would allow a dress down day (jeans) today. I'm wearing jeans, but I sure don't remember hearing an announcement or seeing an email telling us all we could. I can't imagine she'd let the faculty dress down and not the staff. We'll see.

Tomorrow Mensa Boy, Nate and I will go to Erskine College for Scholars Day. It's touted as being a day to recognize students for their academic achievements. You may remember that Erskine awarded Nate an $8,000 per year scholarship. I assume it's just the scholarship recipients that are invited. I'm looking forward to it, although we will be gone all day, so I imagine I'll be pretty tired tomorrow night.

A word about Erskine. And Winthrop University. And the University of South Carolina. Last week we saw the handwriting on the wall, telling us that Nate belongs at Erskine. It was handwriting we were very glad to see because it's Nate's first choice and MB and I loved what we saw of the institution last summer during our brief visit there.

The handwriting came in the form of financial aid letters from Erskine and Winthrop. Shortly after Nate received notice of his acceptance to Erskine, he got a letter telling him about the Garnet Scholarship. The day the letter came, I had just pushed the button to send the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). So they gave him this award without even seeing our financial situation. By the time all was said and done, Nate had an award letter worth $19,500 from Erskine, and only $3000 of it was a federal student loan. The rest is all free money (well, there's the work study).

We didn't hear from Winthrop until last week. They did not offer him any of their school money. They didn't offer him a federal work study program. All they put in the letter was the South Carolina HOPE scholarship and a bunch of federally-backed student loans. No grants.

Doing the math, it's actually going to be less expensive for Nate to attend Erskine, where the total bill will be almost $30k, than to go to Winthrop, where his bill would be about $20k.

USC? Nada. No letters.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Work, Shop, Sleep

That's about it. I get to the school at 7 a.m. to open the office. I work like a crazy woman all morning, and then go home to walk the dog, maybe eat lunch or maybe take it back to the office, work all afternoon, run some errands, cook supper, and then go to bed.

The body is very slow in adapting to the new lifestyle. Last week were a few painful days, paying the price of a sedentary, desk-bound job. But I've made a point to move around more. Probably the hardest part for me is forcing myself to get up and walk around when I have a pile of tasks on my desk. I tend to stick to something until it's done, not wanting to break off for fear I'll lose momentum. I think I'm figuring it out slowly now.

But I absolutely love the new job. It's great already knowing my coworker's names, and I'm learning students names every day. As a rule, they pretty respectful and very grateful when we are able to help them with transcripts and scholarship information, etc.

I have had a couple of funny incidents. Here is one of them that I wrote to my posse last week:

Three students came into my office and stood respectfully in front of my desk. I looked up and smiled.

"You ask her," one girl said.

"Are you Mrs. Paulson?" the middle girl said.

"Yup. That's me!" I replied.

"We were wondering when you are going to have cheerleading tryouts," she said.

"HUH?" I said.

"Cheerleading tryouts. The lady who had this job before was our cheerleading coach," the middle girl said.

Third student (guy) laughed nervously.

"Oh. I'm pretty sure I'm not your cheerleading coach," I told them. "Trust me. You DON'T want me cheerleading!"

The first girl turned to the others and said, "See? I told you that having a new person here wouldn't necessarily mean she'd do the coaching too!"