You would think that the hardest part of being a student would be the coursework, but it isn't. The learning part is the joy, where we submerge in stem cell research and the human genome project and why we use case-control studies instead of prospective cohort studies but only because we couldn't do a randomized double-blind clinical trial with a two-month run-in period. That stuff? That stuff is the sh*t. The real hard part is the supplemental bullsh*t.
There is an endless stream of it that goes along with being a student. Such as faculty musical chairs so intense that class structure is disorganized to the point where even the Ones With Massive Brains stop going to classes because they are too confusing and instead just read the textbook and put things together in study groups. Or a prof so arrogant, condescending, and lost in the windmills of her own life that she gave an exam that contained not only questions from modules we hadn't covered yet, and questions from a different class entirely, but structured many of the questions with two, three, four negatives so that the issue became not whether you knew the information but whether you could decipher what she was asking. And when I had the apparently unmitigated gall to bring this up in class, she sneered at me and said, well, here in my class we don't call them tricky we call them questions that require something called knowledge and deep thought.
In other words, in front of a class if 60 students, I just got called stupid. (Or is that stoopid??? :) yeah, feeling good, feeling fine . . .
But really, I haven't gotten to the truly fun part. As MPH students in this program we are required to do 12 full credits of internship over the two-year program with 3 credits equaling 20 hours a week of work. Now, if in order to receive financial aid you have to be enrolled for 12 credits a semester then it translates as 3 classes and 20 hours of internship a week. Which obviously leaves no time for another job or even much time to clean, socialize, exercise, or scratch your private parts. And also why those of us who aren't either independently wealthy, shacked up with our parents, or the recipients of a scholarship Choose paid internships. Paid Internships. That we choose based on the fact that they we were to be Paid.
Which brings me to the fun part: I haven't been paid since mid-August. Yep. I haven't received a paycheck in over two months. I began this current internship mid-September, and I just learned today that they are going to try and get us checks by mid-November.
Can you fathom that? What struggling, financially insecure adult, as most every grad student is in a a program like this, can go months without money? And when I presented this question to the woman who handles the payroll she just smiled and shrugged and said that's just what's happening.
But really, my favorite is what happened to several of my friends over the summer. They were hired for fulltime internships over the summer for $12 an hour and then a couple of weeks before they were to start were told, oh yeah, by the way, we're only going to pay you for 18 hours a week. I thought riots were going to break out. Bad, bad scene. Can you imagine getting hired for a job, in a position where it was too late to find another and then being told, oh, we're only going to pay you for about 40% of your time here, although we will require you to be here for that full 40 hours.
But back to me and the freakin paycheck(s), I honestly don't know why I'm so upset. Seriously. There is nothing to be done. I know this by now. When I did the undergrad thing the financial aid office would just arbitrarily do crazy sh*t, like hold my loan money for weeks or split it up into two payments over the semester but take the entirety of the tuition for the semester out of the first payment. It's unrepentant insanity. And it is the freakin deal.
Nothing to do but max out the plastic, hope it holds out til January when I get more cash, and remember to be grateful that I am in school at all, that there is such a thing as financial aid, that money will eventually come, and that Life is good.
I still want to whoop that prof's ass though. She could seriously use a good ole southern style ass whoopin. . .