Thursday, March 22, 2007

Personal Responsibility

Although I have little tolerance for bureaucratic inefficiency, it is important not to use the well-documented miles of red tape as a blanket excuse whenever anything goes wrong. I explained in my last entry how surprised I was to discover that I still need two classes in order to receive my bachelor’s degree in government-journalism at Sacramento State. My frustration was obvious and although I did mention that there was an oversight on my part and that I accepted maybe half of the responsibility, the school bore a significant portion. In that post, it was the school’s portion I chose to dwell on.

After going to the powers that be, I posted an addendum that identified an employee who went well beyond the scope of her position to help me. Although she does not have the authority to just “sign off” on my degree, she offered some hope that I might be able to plead my case to the department heads that could. Although each professor and department head expressed outrage about how the system that should have prevented this broke down, none was able to do anything about it… it’s just too late in the game.

And I understand. Indeed, as much as I would love to place the blame on a single person… I can only identify one individual: Myself. The complaints I leveled against the bureaucracy are all valid; I’ll not rehash them here. However, the bottom line is that if I had put as much attention on the procedure of navigating through this inherently bureaucratic system as I did on my course work - this never would have happened. And I really should know better - my major entails a great deal of study about bureaucracies.

Furthermore, I did not make good use of the resources available to me. This was due partly to the fact that I thought I had it all figured out and because I might have been just a little too focused on the end. Either way, this situation is as much a result of my carelessness as it is an overwhelmed and under funded bureaucracy. It was my responsibility to use the resources available and be vigilant - I shouldn’t expect anyone else to take a greater responsibility for my future than me. Did the school drop the ball? Sure. But I wasn’t there to pick it back up again.

Although this is a bit disappointing, in the big picture it doesn’t represent a huge set back and it might very well open new doors and opportunities. It sure gives me a little more time to carefully consider my future educational options - including the freedom to travel in the fall of 2008. It has been 26 years since my high school graduation - six more months isn’t going to kill me. It’s ironic that in 1985, San Diego State University asked me to leave due to my dismal academic performance (0.88 GPA) and now, Sacramento State is asking me to stay (3.72 GPA).

19 comments:

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I think it is wonderful that you have come to this philosophical view which allows for some positive things to come out of this...I am not sure I would see that side, Mike...And Of course, I would be the poorer for it, whereas you are the richer for it in so very many ways. Bravo To You!

MissMeliss said...

Your attitude about all of this is so inspiring - I never finished my degree, and lately it's been something I'm thinking about - people like you make me consider it more seriously.

As for your comments on my blog - sometimes, I still drink directly from the orange juice container. :)

WebKittyn said...

Sorry to read this, I know what a let-down it can be. I spent 5 years working as a Dept. Asst. at a college near me, I know all too well the bureaucracy you speak ok.

Allow me to echo what Missmeliss said, your attitude is definitely inspiring. I wish I could deal so well and so rationally with what comes may way.

You are an impressive human being.

Awareness said...

HI Mike......

Just getting caught up.....and see that you've been thrown a spitball. How disappointing to be caught in a web of bureaucratic bumbling.

However, if the freedom to travel is sitting for you as the light at the end of the tunnel....well, maybe it is a disguised blessing.

take care.......it looks like you've found your way down a path of acceptance.

dana.

PI said...

I like your attitude young man! To recognise that you could be partly responsible is very astute of you and to publicly admit it deserves applause. I'm proud of you!
Michele says Hi!

Jay said...

Your attitude is impressive. I'm trying to tell my brain to learn something here.

kenju said...

I doubt that I could be as patient and mature as you are about this issue. My estimation of you just went up several notches, Mike. I guess I'd end up looking at it this way: when something like this happens, it may make something else possible that would not have been available to you otherwise. It looks like a damnable delay, but perhaps it will work in your best interest later. I sincerely hope that's true!

Vid Digger said...

Now that's the kinda thinking that will take you far.

Too bad my blogs format would look wierd with a blogroll, but if it didn't, you'll be one of the first on it.

margalit said...

I'm really glad that you put a positive spin on something that must be so disappointing. And also that you took responsibility for the problem as well as intending to castigate the university for dropping the ball. You'll get that degree. I have no doubt about that. And you'll do so with high honors!

Here from Michele

Shephard said...

You have a very balanced attitude toward this situation. Shame the school can't quite match your level of responsibility. But the right and left hand syndrome is ubiquitous. It's easy to be wearied by the process and drop the ball. Great attitude! I bet this does bring something new and unexpected.

~S

Yaeli said...

Poor Mike... I hope it all works out for you! It's always hard not to point the finger. While you're worrying about not being too hard on the uni, also don't forget not to be too hard on yourself!

Catherine said...

The main thing about studying as a mature student is that it's easier to recognise that the real purpose is to learn. So, the two more classes will give you the opportunity to learn more. Whcih may not be quite what you want right now -- hope it all works out for you. Michele sent me.

archshrk said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

It all too easy for us to ignore our own faults and point out the errors and shortcomings of others.

MissMeliss said...

Michele sent me here again, and I wanted to add - my best friend did his undergrad work at Sacramento State - I have fond memories of hanging out in Old Town with him on weekends.

margalit said...

Back again to say that when you DO wear that cap and gown, I can't wait to see the photo. If anyone deserves that degree, it's you.

Catherine said...

Hi, Michele sent me back again.

craziequeen said...

Looking at this from a positive perspective is probably a big help. I am impressed at your GPA (especially comparing it to high school!) I wonder if my Grade Point Average has improved or got worse over the years?

cq
Michele sent me to say hi, Mike.

Bob-kat said...

Don't you just hate it when it all boils down to you? Thing is most things usually do if we are honest. i applaud you for taking responsibility for your situation, I wish more people would. Wishing you loads of well deserved luck with the remains of your studies which Michele sent me to send your way.

Snaggle Tooth said...

BTW- my grad date is in September, because I took (paid for) one summer course to get in what I needed to graduate. Have you inquired about the cost of summer offerings?
Good luck with whatever you need to do. A little extra stress ontop of the crunch- a piece if cake for you!