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).