Monday the financial aid lady has hours on the law campus, to make it more convenient for us. I find that incredibly nice of them; she sits up there in the Dean's conference room from 3-6 and almost never has anyone in there to see her. So after my class ended Monday at 4, I dropped by to see her and spent an hour talking about my plans. She was really helpful. I now understand how a Consortium Agreement works, what I need to do assuming I'm admitted to Tulsa's program, and how I can get the most money possible for this trip to London. First of all, she's worried that at the very beginning of the semester I'm going to be at a financial disadvantage. That's because the financial aid won't be released until the first day of classes here, regardless of when the London program starts. That means the first couple of days will be taken up with distributing money to students here on campus; then they have to send the money to the University of Tulsa, then Tulsa sends me whatever is left over for living expenses. Yuck. The good news is that the housing is offered through the school, so I assume the housing will be paid for when the tuition is paid for, so I won't have to worry about down payments and first month's rent in advance, etc. (I assume that, but it might not be true.) The bad news is that I'll have just paid for a really expensive plane ticket, and I'll have to buy books and food without help until help arrives, maybe a week or three into the term.
So what to do? I decided to go ahead and put in for reimbursement for my computer. That money is gone already, out of this semester's aid, so when I get the reimbusement I can set that money aside in my savings account and designate that as London money. The other thing I can do is take two summer classes, get the maximum amount of aid available for the year, and because of the way the disbursement system works when the summer money comes in, I'll also get part of the fall disbursement. So I can put that money aside (something like $6000, based on guessing figures) knowing that part of it will have to go back to Tulsa for tuition but that part of it is my living expenses for the semester. That will help.
But that means I need to take two classes this summer, which means I may have trouble with a full-time summer job. During summer term, I can get $1000 for living expenses for each term, so that means $2000 financial aid to live on between May and August. Not a whole lot; just enough to cover rent. That's a relief, but not enough. So I'll have to find a job flexible enough that it works with my class schedule but that pays enough that I can buy food, pay my phone bill and maybe have a little fun. Ugh.
I HATE this being so poor bullshit! I'm so sick of having to watch every penny. It's one thing to be frugal, I think more people would benefit from being frugal. It's another thing entirely to walk the fine line between being ok -- barely -- and being homeless. I cannot wait to get out of school and get a real job, one that allows me to shop without comparing the price of iceberg lettuce (which I hate) to romaine and deciding that I have to get the iceberg lettuce because it's 50 cents cheaper even though it tastes like nothing at all. Damn.
But this is supposed to be an assessment of how the London thing is going, so enough bitching. Aside from the financing issues, it does look doable (assuming I can get all of the private loan money I'm elligible for -- always a question). I have filled out and sent in the applicaiton to the program; I will have to submit the $200 application fee as soon as I have it but that's no problem according to the program director. I've filled out the Consortium enrollment information, and the registrar says all of the classes would transfer except the Evidence Workshop, which is taken care of since I'm taking Evidence this summer. I need to find out where I can get health insurance, because it is required to participate in the program yet I don't qualify for either Tulsa's or L&C's program. But I can probably get it through the fraternity, thank goodness.
Right now as far as the academic portion, I have to take 12 hours while I'm there to satisfy my registrar. I'm looking at English Legal System, International Environmental Law, English Advocacy, Law of the European Union, Comparative Media Law, Comparative Corporate Law, and one more...can't decide. It's either going to be Comparative Family Law, International Trade & Shipping, or English and Comparative Alternative Dispute Resolution. There's a comparative immigration class offered that sounds dull, dull, dull and Criminal Procedure, which I would gladly take if I weren't already taking that next semester here.
Then there's the question of which other class to take here next summer, and I have to start thinking about signing up for classes for next spring (this spring I'm supposed to sign up for the whole year, and if I get admitted to Tulsa then I'll just drop the fall half). And all this while studying for finals and entertaining my mother and keeping up on my regular courseload.
Weeeeee. No wonder I had a breakdown.
But I'll be going home in just over a month. Just over a month, just over a month. It's a mantra I use both to scare myself into studying intensely and to placate myself when I feel as though one more hour staring at these books or this screen and I'm going to chuck my laptop through the library window.