IT'S NOT THAT I DREAD going on campus. In fact, I love walking the grounds of this beautiful university. Founded in 1890, the old buildings are blended in with the new, and 100-year-old oak trees draped with Spanish Moss provide a picturesque and shady backdrop for scholarly pursuits.
Going to the bookstore is a necessary function for most students, and while I order a great deal of my books online, I ultimately end up wandering through the stacks of textbooks, notebooks and other supplies each semester to pick up stuff I couldn't find on Amazon, Alibris, etc.
This year we have a new bookseller and so the bookstore looked a bit different in terms of organization. The student workers were very helpful and pleasant. It was the first day for sales, and everyone was fresh and optimistic.
I was the first Title IV-E grant recipient student to appear today so I helped them work out the bugs (my books are paid for via the grant, and the bookstore has a system for this). After three visits to the book store manager, the workers successfully rang up my nearly $600 worth!
I had been extremely lucky (or so I thought) when I snagged a nearby parking place. The spot sat directly in front of a signpost without a sign on it. As a commuter, all of my classes are taught at a satellite location, so I rarely go to campus. Call me naive, but I thought nothing of it as I grabbed my satchel and headed to the bookstore.
After I left the bookstore, I headed to my car. As I loaded my books into the front seat I noticed a ticket flapping in the summer breeze from the windshield wiper. What? Imagine my horror when I lifted it to read that I'd been cited for $75 for parking in a faculty parking place.
All I could think of was "I just quit my job! I can't afford this!" Not exactly "Law of Attraction" or positive thinking, eh?
I decided that I wasn't willing to argue or fight today so I drove around the traffic circle three times, and asked two different campus security officers where I could park to go pay my parking ticket (to avoid getting another ticket)!
Once inside the building that houses the Cashier's Office, I stood in line with lots of other students. I arrived at the window, and after fumbling around for the ticket (I'd absentmindedly stuck it into the pocket of my sundress), I said to the women behind the glass, "I guess I don't really want to pay for this ticket!"
Her face registered the same expression I'd had when I first saw the amount.
"Do you want to fight this?" she asked.
"How can I do that?" I asked.
"Go to the Campus Police Department," she answered.
"Do you think it will help?"
"It's worth a try," she said. "Seventy-five dollars is a lot of money. And, if you have to come back here, you won't have to stand in line."
I took the kind woman's advice and drove around the traffic circle three more times until I found a parking lot that allowed commuter parking. Once inside the campus police station, I was greeted by a man who, after hearing my tale of woe, wrote off the ticket and told me to be mindful as they might have towed my car from that spot.
I promised him that I would never park there again. And, I thanked him profusely. I'd have had a lot of explaining to do to my husband!
~Ms. T. J.
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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.
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