In high school, folks called it “senioritis.” What to name it now? What conditions do you make up for a guy or gal who has spent almost five years working on a four-year degree and has grown less interested in going to class by the hour? “Life” comes to mind.
Luckily, I know the antidote. For me, it came in the mail Tuesday.
My head was killing me. Maybe it was stress of not wanting to go to work or thinking about why one of my best friends hadn’t called because he’s pissed at me.
With Deborah Cox’s re-mix in my CD player and blasting from all four of my car’s windows that were down, I parked my car in front of my apartment complex’s mail boxes. Inside it, I found 1,148.2 reasons to turn my mid-semester frown upside down: The “net check.”
More than four years ago, those two glorious words became part of my vocabulary. Most college students would agree — it’s the turning point of the semester.
I’ve been around long enough to remember the days when the net check rolled off the printing press during the first two weeks of school. Some of the more experienced college students, or those who had learned to scam the system, would register for more classes than they planned on attending, get mounds of financial aid and bail out of the courses before drop/add ended. This guaranteed you didn’t have to pay for the classes, but the money was still headed for your pockets.
Things soon changed. The net checks were split in half and shopping sprees disappeared. Students barely have enough money to pay tuition with the first financial aid installment that now goes out after drop/add. Those in my classes have complained that they couldn’t buy textbooks because of it. And at this point, when midterms are here, what’s the use of buying a book?
On one hand, splitting the financial aid disbursement is a noble thing that encourages responsibility. On the other hand, it forces some college students to freak out and think they are poor. I’ll admit, when the first disbursement of checks went out earlier this semester, I complained. Not only did I not get a check, I still owed the university more than $100 in tuition and fees. To a college guy used to being self-supporting, that meant asking mom and dad for a little cash.
Instead, I worked more hours on my job. I hate asking my parents for money. I’m almost burnt out. Out of energy. Out of patience for the end of the semester to arrive. And definitely out of cash.
The net check is here, and that’s reason to celebrate, but not reason to spend. Like most people who don’t have money, I thought of all the things I’d do when I ‘d get it. A trip to International Plaza wasn’t on my list. Instead, I budgeted rent, cell phone and past-due high-speed Internet bills.
I can mark off the final X on the countdown calendar to the day of the net check’s arrival. Like the Second Coming of Christ — OK, maybe not as big — the net check has redeemed my soul and renewed my spirit.
I’ll likely wake up early today and put it in the bank, then pretend to forget about it until it clears.
Congratulate me on making it if you see me on campus today. And if you’ve got any spare change, loan me a nickel. I’m waiting on my check to clear.
Kevin Graham is a former Oracle Editor in Chief. firstname.lastname@example.org