Financial Aid has been driving me crazy. I'm stressed about meeting tuition. I've vented some of my frustrations with the school about various policies in well-crafted letters. about our compulsory health care plan that forces students to be on it even if we are already covered by parent(s) health plan(s). Today, one of my professors whom I had confided some of my frustrations in told me I should go to Fin Aid again, that the president had been on a soap box at the most recent faculty meeting talking about wanting to make sure that students can still afford to go here even during this time of economic crisis. She urged me with fingers outstretched and eyebrow elevated as if she knew something.
I trudged up to the attic of the admissions building, where the people that I like to think of as the Powers That Be reside. I approached the office sheepishly, gathering up the wear-with-all to bear my financial soul in a plea for institutional humanity. I breathed in deeply before crossing into line of site of the head officer's door in an attempt to fortify myself so as to avoid showing the disappointment I assumed would ensue. As soon as I entered, she leaned over and said "I think I know why you're here." I'm a trace of "thank god" meshed with the usual skeptical gestures that take hold of my facial muscles.
She gave me a form. She said I can ask the school for more money if my situation has changed. She said I had to be detailed enough but not too much. She said be honest and ask for what I need. The anger, the frustration and resentment I have been carryign arounf with me for the lst week dissipated as we went on to talk about work I've been doing with my Transgender Oral History Project. I felt like things might be okay for the first time in days.
Towards the end though, our conversation returned to what I needed to put on the form. My living expense and income. Not money I don't report to the IRS. Not my mother's information. She was specific about that last one. She said I needed to include a letter explaining how my situation had changed. She phrased in such a way that I knew she was thinking it had something to do with gender/sexuality (after all aren't they one in her mind?). At the very least, it had something to do with some new development. I took the form and am filling it today tonight and turning it in. I hope that the sympathy can get me somewhere. I'm a little conflicted that she is going to resume something that isn't directly connected, but I am not going to state it. I am after all a good student struggling to come here just as I've always been; maybe economic meltdowns are good for something...