School Limbo

Update – housing has officially been canceled. Everything sucks.

Yesterday was the day we were supposed to hear from my daughter’s college about plans for the fall semester. The day went by and there was no email. Finally, right as I was about to go to bed she gets the email

As expected, the plan is to have a hybrid of in-person and online classes. Classes of more than 50 will most likely lean toward online. Labs and other hands-on type classes will be in person. Dining halls will be open, but set up to allow for distancing and will have the option of food to go. Dorms will be open but adjusted to reduce density. Triples and quads will no longer exist. Some dorm space will be reserved for possible quarantine of students who test positive for Covid.

This is where we are still in limbo. Because my daughter was supposed to study abroad this fall, she missed the deadline for getting a lease at the on-campus apartments. She was finally able to secure a dorm room. The problem now – they only expect to offer housing to around 75% of the people who applied for housing with the emphasis on giving all first-year students housing.  That means there is no guarantee that the room she was supposed to have will still be there. We have no idea when we will know for sure. She was in a single, so we are hoping that increases her odds of keeping the room, but being a junior she might be on the bottom of the list for housing. I hope we hear something soon so we can join others in the mad rush to try to find off campus housing in the area so she’s not commuting to school.

I guess I understand why they want to guarantee housing for freshmen, but it makes things stressful for existing students who were supposed to live on campus. It sucks that we are in this situation because they took so long to tell us that study abroad was definitely not happening and we have no idea if she will have the option in the Spring either. Now we are left in limbo again while we wait for res life to tell her her status. I’m not a fan of waiting.

A Frustrating Day

man showing distress
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The real world crept back into my life today. I was reminded that sometimes the real world can be not so great. Here are the things that frustrated me today when we interacted with the world outside our house:

I signed up for a free month of CBS All Access. I signed up online with my email address. I then used the Amazon Firestick to log in on the TV. The Amazon account is in my son’s name. Somehow, logging in on the app there transferred the account to his subscriptions and I couldn’t find where to turn off auto-renew. I contacted CBS All Access and they said it wasn’t their problem since I signed up via Amazon. But I didn’t. The Amazon account seemed to not show it as a channel to cancel. It was nowhere. I finally dug around and found another random Amazon spot to adjust the account. It is just terrible customer service to not help a customer figure out how to access their account on your service. It’s also dumb that it transferred to the Amazon account because I logged in on an app there.

My wife has been doing the grocery trips for the family. Today she asked me to go pick some stuff up. I had a very small window to do this. I never made it in the grocery store. I had to abandon the line. I get the reason for the line. I was just frustrated that I wasn’t able to get what we needed. I guess I need to get there earlier next time.

My daughter was supposed to get housing for school taken care of today. We had to call last week to fix it when they told her she didn’t have guaranteed housing. She tried to get a spot today but couldn’t because she is not part of a group. Apparently, to live in a suite or apartment you need to recruit your roommate in advance or you can’t live there. An individual is denied access to these rooms. It doesn’t matter that she missed out on the housing her friends have because the university still won’t confirm if study abroad is happening or not. If she can’t find a group that needs another person she has to wait or traditional housing to open and hope she can get a room there. UMD has shown me lately that they really don’t care about their students’ living situation.

I’m done with the outside world again.

Tuesday Tater Hot Take: Maryland Gets Hot

We are entering another stretch of extreme heat. Temperatures in the 90’s with a heat index above 100. This is not unusual for Maryland. Maryland gets hot and humid in the summer. This summer heat can start as early as May and can extend in to September. The heat is not a shock. This is Maryland weather.

Even though this heat is not unusual, there are several schools in the area without air conditioning. Every year, either at the beginning or the end of the school year, there are closings and delays alerts for schools being closed or closing early due to heat. Every year. For some reason, even though this is an every year thing, the local school systems don’t think putting AC in the schools is a priority. I guess they don’t think school disruptions matter enough to spend money on AC. It seems like a small investment to make sure students and teachers have a comfortable space for learning.

My daughter just moved in to her dorm at the University of Maryland. She, like her brother his freshman year, does not have AC in her dorm. Multiple emails have gone out with advice on how to “beat the heat” and now emails telling them they are putting mattresses in air-conditioned common areas and opening them for people to sleep if necessary. My daughter spent her first weekend at college at home because she couldn’t sleep in her room with temps at 90 degrees. She went back this morning just in time for her first class. We toured a lot of colleges last year. Maryland seems to be the last hold out in updating their dorms. I guess they think other things are more important. I’m not asking them to build luxury dorms. The traditional dorm is still fine, just add AC. We aren’t north enough to not have AC.

I know there are people who think “I didn’t have AC when I was in school and I was fine” but I disagree with that thinking for a coupe of reasons. First, I don’t think “it was good enough for me” is a good argument against advancement or updates. Shouldn’t we be working to make the world a better place? Even if that just means giving our kids a place where they can learn comfortably? Second, the world is getting hotter. These extreme temperatures are going to become more common. We have to be prepared for this. This is not the same world we lived in 30 years ago. Also – I had AC in my small town school in Kentucky 30 years ago and AC in my dorm in Kentucky. You’re way behind Maryland.