Close but yet still so far

Dishan Jones

My life changed for the better in 2010 when I decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in recording arts. Both nervous and excited, I took a step that led me on an academic and social odyssey that I’ll never forget. Well, now here I am quickly advancing towards the end of my journey at Los Medanos College. I’ve followed my educational plan, completed my courses for my major, and kept up with the frequent meetings between my counselor and I. And, up until this point, I’d believed that I was on the path to completing my general ed requirements necessary for graduation. However, after filling out my application for graduation in the middle of March, surprisingly, I was denied. Apparently, if a student is on the IGETC path, there exists a stipulation requiring that student have at least three units of a foreign language in order to graduate. I, of course, was not aware of this or I would have complied two semesters ago. Apparently, even with our relentless examination of my transcripts and my IGETC requirements, my counselor and I never noticed this. And, even if it would’ve came up in one of our sessions, we would have both felt secure knowing that I’d taken two semesters of Swahili at Fresno City College in 1997. Well, unfortunately for me, IGETC didn’t approve Swahili for their program until 2007 rendering those two semesters futile to my scholastic progress. Therefore, I was forced to file for petition to walk and register for a foreign language in the summer session. But you have to wonder, how does an institution advocating for successful transfers and graduates allow such a debacle and who exactly is to blame? Furthermore, how many other students are experiencing the same or similar circumstances? Just as any other student whose put in the proper amount of work, time, energy, and effort I’m ready to move on to the next level. Of course, I’ve been on my journey for the better half of three years, so one summer session won’t kill me. Besides, summer school is only six weeks right? Wrong. The principle matter is that this inconvenience is as irritating as a mosquito or fly hovering over your ear during a good dream. It’s annoying and I perceive this as another minor obstacle or, even more so, a bothersome distraction. I’ve become accustomed to all types of hindrances and diversions and recently I’ve realized not to deal with them but ignore them and move forward, which is how I plan to proceed. So, as a precaution, with no financial assistance because I’ve already applied for it through the UC system, I’ve scheduled my class for summer session and filed all the necessary papers. I’m currently awaiting the decision on my petition to walk and informing my family members that nothing is set in stone, quite yet.

But what is even more disturbing is that my Swahili units may not be acceptable for transfer to the UC system.

It’s a bit unnerving knowing that this type of situation can occur, has occurred, and probably will occur again.

I propose we continue to encourage our LMC advisors to keep up the good work, but also, stay well informed and informative so as to help prevent, or at least limit, these types of situations from occurring to future projected graduates and transfer students. And, more importantly, just a few words to the wise: all students should be aware and stay fully informed about their academic status and progress because, as I’ve come to understand, no one will accept the responsibility if you happen to come up short, by no fault of your own, towards the end of your journey.

They’ll simply say, “it’s out of their hands and there nothing we can do.” So take initiative and safeguard your scholastic success!