Here are the steps I have taken to apply for graduation over the past two weeks:
1. Arrive at Office A to turn in signed copy of Program of Study. Office A receptionist tells me to walk outside to Office B next door where they can help me.
2. Arrive at Office B, where receptionist looks at me confusedly, looks at my Program of Study, and tells me to walk across campus to Office C, where they can help me.
3. Arrive at Office C after brisk walk in AZ heat, slightly sweaty and losing time to prepare for teaching in a short while. Office C receptionist asks me to walk down short hallway and through threshold of Office D, where a woman is waiting who can help me.
4. Arrive at desk in Office D, where woman sitting behind counter takes Program of Study, which I just realized was never signed by the Dean in Office A, but I decide to risk it. Woman looks it over, takes it, says she'll take care of it for me. When I ask her what the next step is, she directs me to Office E.
5. Arrive at Office E, which is further away from Office D than either Offices A or B, and pay my $25.00 fee to graduate. Clerk in Office E hands me mandatory Graduate School Experience Survey and informs me that I cannot "apply" to graduate until I have completed said survey in full. Clerk hands me a golf pencil.
6. Walk to Office F's waiting area, which is only place in Office E's building that has writing surfaces and I take 15 minutes to complete mandatory Graduate School Experience Survey, most of which has zero to do with being an MFA student. Pocket the golf pencil for my trouble; walk to Office G.
7. Arrive downstairs at Office G, which is triumphantly called "Graduate Office." Hand receptionist my graduation fee receipt and survey and she tells me to have a seat. Moments later, another clerk calls my name and asks if I know where my Program of Study is. I say, I turned it in to Office D. Oh, clerk says, well we need it. You can either go back to Office D and walk it over here or wait a few days until it arrives here for processing.
8. I go home.
9. A week later, as I'm driving to school, I call Office G and ask if my Program of Study has arrived. It has. Having a brainstorm, I ask if they need to see my payment receipt again. They do. I return to my house, grab my receipt, and leave again.
10. Arrive back at Office G, where receptionist takes my receipt. I have a seat. They call my name. A woman review my Program of Study to make sure I'm not a big liar, then hands me a display folder for my diploma, which will eventually be mailed to me. I sign a paper that says I'm not a liar. She says, Congratulations.
I think, for what? For graduating or for finding the hidden cheese?