I am fucking the Hierophant

I used to read tarot. I have two decks, a Rider-Waite Universal deck, and a fun Halloween-themed one. As part of my practice, I read my own cards, and studied myself to determine what card best represented me, but was horrified when I pulled the Hierophant card.

The hierophant is a priest of arcane rituals, with the implication (to me) that the rituals are carried out without being broadly understood by the other participants. Like Kurdish female circumcision, nobody knows why they do it, they just do, and it sucks. In tarot, aptly, it can signal bureaucracy and byzantine procedures to muddle through, or a person who imposes these measures.

I hate red tape. I am utterly baffled by protocol. I swear to god, I would just march into somebody’s office and hit them over the head if I ever wanted some grant money. This is probably why I have had such trouble with my university.

After a grueling undergraduate sentence, I eked out a degree and burst bright and shiny into the world all prepared to drive a forklift part time for an ailing company. BUT- this job will pay for my tuition as a perk, and as a career student, that’s not a bad deal. Fast forward to this semester, my second semester using my work’s tuition reimbursement.

I get online and go about enrolling in my classes, and see a 600 level psychology course that fits into my schedule. I tried to add it to my schedule, but the system tripped up, “Administrator Permission Required.” But that didn’t deter me, I will just get the instructor’s permission and give somebody a piece of paper and all will be well all the way to grandmother’s house. My application for tuition reimbursement from my job even went right through. Happy day, drinks all around.

But no. I should have known it was all going to suck when I misunderstood the start time and had to race down to campus. I arrived on time, started putting money in the meter, but it didn’t register any time. Now being all out of both money and time, I had to leave the car where it was until I got out of class. Of course, when I got out I had a ticket. Tickets seem to be a disproportionately large money-maker for the university. I appealed the ticket online but so far nobody has returned my email.

Anyway, while I was in class, I talked to the professor and she was lovely, and we agreed that I would leave the “Add a Class” slip in the department’s office for her to sign. Great, until the department’s office lady person starts giving me grief and shouting “WHAT?” to my first three sentences. Now, I am soft spoken, I know that, but there is just no need to be rude. The office worker claimed never to have seen the “Add a Class” form in her life, and wouldn’t put a stamp on it until the professor had signed it. Whatever.

The next day the professor dutifully signed the sheet, as well as another sheet I had never seen before, some other enrollment thing the rude office worker must have slipped in. But anyway, both were signed by the instructor, so I took them down to the dean’s office in the college of education where the person on duty refused to allow me entry into the class. We are (at this point, due to the late start of my once-weekly class) a week and a half into the term, I have the instructor’s permission, I have the tuition already paid for (tuition for this class in particular) and an undergraduate degree in a pertinent field to the class, but she says no. Or rather, even more infuriatingly, she refused to come out of the office to tell me this, I had to speak to her secretary and have her shuttle messages back and forth. Is it ironic that the assistant dean’s last name was Pentecost? There seems to be some meaning there that I haven’t been unable to untangle yet.

In the dean’s waiting room, facing a young typist, I hold back tears, ask about an appeal process, and consider my options.

1.) If I can’t get into this class, I might not be able to switch to another one and have it paid for. I can’t pay out of pocket.
2.) It isn’t worth it to me to stay at UPS for another semester to take another 300 level English class (the other class I’m enrolled in)
3.) If I am not working at UPS or taking classes, I don’t want to live in this city anymore

So that’s where I found myself, and my shift started in 30 minutes, and it’s a 20 minute drive and a 10 minute walk and a shuttle ride away, so I called in and took an “occurrence” to my attendance, risking termination to try to sort things out on campus. I also started frantically calling everyone who has ever gone to the university. I stood in the Graduate office hounding the staff. I emailed program directors. I rued the woman in the Bursar’s office who told me not to pay the extra whatever it was to take classes as a “post baccalaureate” rather than “undergraduate, non-degree seeking.”

One kind person finally emailed me back, and explained the situation. In the last year, that particular college within the university has enacted restricted enrollment. So, though a year ago I would have been able to enroll in this particular class, now I cannot. It’s a very special, magical class and I’m not allowed. Somehow the prompts when I was trying to enroll online do not reflect this.

It’s the Heirophant! AGAIN. My life is an exercise in navigating bureaucracy. Too bad I can’t hit this guy over the head. I have to work between the lines and be an exception. I have to play the game the way he wants it to get what I want, though he doesn’t want me to have it.

In other terms- I’m fucking him. Or I am going to try. I’ve found classes that might get me closer to a second undergraduate degree and also fit into my schedule and I emailed the professors and begged for late entry. We will see how it goes. If nothing else works, I’ll have to dedicate the time to finding a program and retaking the GRE and practicing for the LSAT. Hell, maybe I’ll even do well.

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