The asterisk (Update on the paper)

1 02 2008


Baseball fans know what that’s about. Maris and Mantle were trying to beat Babe Ruth’s homerun record, but the commissioner stated that any record broken after 154 games would have an asterisk. The record would be broken, but would go down in history with an asterisk, a footnote meant to minimize the impact of the accomplishment.

I feel like a footnote. I am Coop, MPA*. I’ve successfully completed each requirement for my degree: classes, internship, area of concentration.  I have an asterisk.

I have an official letter from my school’s registrar stating that I’ve successfully completed each degree requirement. I have a letter from my advisor stating that I have successfully completed all degree requirements. I have no more classes to take.  I have an asterisk.

Why? I chose to do some extra work overseas – extra work that was not required but provided new perspectives and experiences.  My degree work was complete in August.  That extra work is keeping my degree hostage. My school won’t give me my degree until that extra work is completed. They informed me of this on January 3.  Graduation was in December.  I’m in protest.

The paper is not done. It was due 13 minutes ago.  I’m not working on it now. I’m angry. I’m out of ideas. I’m embarrassed. I feel humiliated. I feel unjustly punished.  I’m unmotivated.  I have been made the scapegoat for several people failing to do their job.  Information was withheld from me.  I’m furious and I can not bring myself to write one page.  I physically can not write.

They may never get the damn paper. Here’s the really funny part: if I fail the 2 classes by turning in nothing, I’ll get my degree. As long as it’s incomplete, I have an asterisk and no paper to hang on the wall.




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