Defining Terms

Kinda Done

Yesterday I took the last exam of graduate school. What a great birthday present! At 5:30pm I was done with school for years to come. Kinda.

You would think that satisfying the requirements for a degree in December of 2005 would get you a diploma that says December 2005 on it. But you would be wrong. You have to complete all of the requirements and also turn in a diploma application two weeks before the end of the semester. How did I find this out? I actually pulled out the 42 page degree requirements document to make sure I wasn’t missing anything for graduation. Apparently I was.

So I went down to the CSE Graduate offices today and asked if I can still graduate in 2005. Nope, sorry, you can’t apply for a degree after the last day of classes. That was on Tuesday. The diplomas won’t be mailed out for 12 weeks. One might think my name could still be snuck into the pile over at the diploma office, but rules is rules.

Additionally, I was promptly reprimanded because Dawn sent out emails a long time ago to everyone about this. This was news to me. So I came back home and searched through all of my past emails with terms like “diploma”, “application”, “blue sheet”, and even “graduate.” What did I find? Nothing. Nada. Nichts. I guess it’s possible I didn’t read an email or two and deleted it, so they’re not longer searchable. So I went further. Guess what? I’ve never ever gotten a single email from Dawn. I’m getting pretty suspicious that I have never received information from her and that the department never included me on these informational emails. If I hadn’t decided to read through the entire graduate student requirements document, I never would have known that I wasn’t going to ever graduate. Needless to say, I’m not pleased with this.

Fortunately, this all doesn’t change things much. It seems they don’t actually check to see if you belong at commencement so my dear family can still watch me participate in the ceremony on Sunday. My job at Siemens is not contingent upon graduation by a certain date, so as long as I don’t lose my job in the next 6 months, I guess it doesn’t really matter if it says 2005 or 2006 on my diploma. Even so, it’s annoying that it will be July before I get my diploma I earned this month.

Update: Apparently the information about graduation requirements gets sent out to one or more CSEG Lists. According to the CSEG site “CSE graduate students are automatically subscribed to cseg when they enter the program.” While there is every indication that I’m a CSE graduate student, I was not subscribed to any of these lists, and in fact had never heard of them until today. Whoever did not put my email address on these lists when I enrolled at U of M, I’m holding you personally responsible for delaying my graduation by 4 months. If you could only see my annoyed and disappointed face right now, you would cringe, whoever you are.

Update #2: I went back to the CSE office and talked to Dawn, who apparently knows something about UofM, which the previous person did not. I can petition the regents for correction of my graduation date and the next time they meet in the capacity to do that kind of thing, I’ll get my diploma. They only meet in this way once or twice a year, so it might be summer or fall before it happens, but in the meantime I can get verification that I’ve completed the requirements for graduation and the diploma is on the way. So, it seems that all is well.

Update #3 (2006.04.19): I have turned in the petition for a backdated diploma, so I should hopefully have it in the next 6 months.