2018 So Far (pretty good, with a side of “Fuck you Student Loans”)

I don’t know about you but my 2018 so far has been pretty awesome. Well, I say awesome. I mean, it’s been good.

I’ve started doing that Year in Pixels thing — I wasn’t even going to, but the planner I bought and put into my binder had it already laid out on a page so I was like, hey, why not — and I’ve decided that when deciding if a day was good or not, I’m not going to let the 5 shitty minutes color my view of the entire day. I am committing to being relentlessly positive about life, on top of very ambitious and driven. So I’ve had mostly good or great days this year, with the exception of a row of “so-so” days when I was down with the sickness (OH-WAH-AH-AH-AH).

'I'm not going to let 5 shitty minutes color my view of the entire day.' Click To Tweet

Also with the exception of a couple of bad days, courtesy of Student Loans.

Some background: Student Loans now does things through an online dashboard. You apply there and get info about your loans there. Since sending off my declarations on the 4th I have checked my dashboard relentlessly for news. They didn’t get my declarations until the 11th, and then didn’t update my page for another several days, and THEN last Sunday they told me my total funding was $1,293.

Cue heart attack.

I had a decidedly bad day last Sunday; it was my first truly bad day of the year. I fell deep into depression, and had to fight off suicidal ideation. The next morning I tried to be more positive, and checked my dashboard again just to see if anything had changed.

It had! On the left hand side it now told me my funding was $5,440, which is much more livable, and on the right hand side it said $1,293, which will have my failing my classes, starving, and evicted before the end of the semester. Ok. So which was which?

I didn’t get a chance to go to Financial Aid during the week, because their hours were not really compatible with my class and study times, but I did chat with another classmate about it and she said the number on the left was what she actually got, regardless what the number on the right said. OK, so, probably just a really confusing way of telling me stuff. I stopped worrying.

Then I got my Notice of Assessment on Friday. Yeah, they’re only giving me $1,293. The $5,440 is what I’m eligible for, apparently, but they’re subtracting a fuckload because of “outstanding overawards”.

WHAT OVERAWARDS?

Apparently “overawards” are what they determine when you drop below the required course load — ie, when you withdraw from classes after getting your loan. There is basically no way to do this without getting a W on your transcript, as loans never come in until beyond that deadline.

So Student Loans thinks that at SOME POINT in my schooling at VIU, during which I last had loans, I dropped below 100% course load while having loans.

I went and checked my unofficial transcript. Nope. Not a single W, and every semester listed I was in at least 9 credits (which is considered full time at VIU, or was when I attended).

The only way they could be considering me as dropping below the courseload is if they’re counting my two Fs in a semester in 2012 as having “dropped” below the threshold. That semester, though, was when my back flared up and I couldn’t walk for weeks. Also, counting Fs as dropping below the courseload is bullshit. Life happens; people fail courses. They’re still taking them till the end of the semester, so even if they fail — it’s not dropping below the threshold for full time studies.

The other possible way is they didn’t count those courses because they were self-directed courses that I had started in an earlier semester. But I was still doing them that semester, so they should have continued to count for the courseload. (And HOLY FUCK if they DIDN’T then MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE AUTHORIZED THE LOANS IN THE FIRST PLACE FUCKOS.)

So it is almost the end of January, rent is due in a few days, and I have NO IDEA if I’m going to be able to pay it for the rest of the semester (or for February, for that matter). I’m marching into Financial Aid first thing in the morning and asking for their help in appealing the fuck out of this, because it’s bullshit.

I never took loans out with the idea that it was “free money” or that I could skate by without paying them off. Do I fundamentally believe all loans should be forgiven and post-secondary schooling should be free? Fuck yes. Does that mean I don’t intend to pay back my loans? Fuck no.

'Do I fundamentally believe all loans should be forgiven & post-secondary schooling be free? Fuck yes. Does that mean I don't intend to pay back my loans? Fuck no.' Click To Tweet

I took them out with the full knowledge of the responsibility I had, and I planned to get a job — any job — as soon as I graduated so I could start repayment as soon as possible.

Then my back fucked up, destroying my ability to work in any of the jobs I have training for. I have been scraping by with freelance for years. I finally decided I am tired of that and I want a steady career that I can physically do — but to do that, I needed training. Training I am now getting at school.

I am literally going through this course track so that I can get a career so I can make enough money to have a life and pay back my debt. But in order to complete the schooling, I first need to go into more debt — which sucks, but it’s what I need to do.

And Student Loans is like, “Naw, fuck you, your husband can use 120% of his paycheck on all your bills.”

'Student Loans is like, 'Naw, fuck you, your husband can use 120% of his paycheck on all your bills.'' Click To Tweet

When I got the Notice of Assessment that confirmed my worst fears, I didn’t get depressed this time. I got angry. I am fucking LIVID that I have to beg and scrape for scraps just to go to school. Going to school is an action that betters our society as a whole, and yet we have to pay out of our asses for the privilege.

I wouldn’t even be able to go if it weren’t for my amazing mom and parents-in-law, who have supported us financially a great deal so I could START the semester. But there’s still something like 12K “unmet need” as Student Loans puts it, yet they’re unwilling to give it because I MIGHT have gotten some extra money 6 years ago during my BA.

HOLY SHIT, JUST ADD IT TO MY TAB AND I’LL PAY IT BACK WITH THE REST FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

They are getting a fierce appeal from an angry cripple. I don’t relish the idea of having to spend a good chunk of my semester fighting them for money I need and should be getting, but it’s necessary. And I will use every ounce of political energy I have left to yell at the BC NDP to fix this fucking trashfire we call a student loans service. (Thanks Liberals.) Which is not a lot of political energy, but I’m going to try.

In the meantime, I refuse to let the bastards grind me down. I am still writing on my book every day — From the Ashes is up to ~66K and motoring along nicely from the middle to the end. I am doing my homework and getting good grades (104% on my Medical Terminology exam!*). I am working on tidying up my house, reorganizing my bedroom/office, and packing up more boxes of books in prep for getting out of here.

2018 is my year and I’m not going to let anyone take it from me.

-Katje

'2018 is my year and I'm not going to let anyone take it from me.' Click To Tweet

*For the math nerds like my husband: there were bonus questions.


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