Saturday, March 26, 2011

5 Stitches

Apparently, I have the balance of a 5 year old.

I was sprinting across the house, over newly mopped tile, tried to turn, slipped, didn't quite put my hands out in time, and smashed the floor with my head. At first, I thought I'd managed to catch myself, then the headache caught up, and when I clutched my jaw, which had taken the brunt of the blow, felt the chipped tooth, and then noticed the blood on my shirt.

Checked in the mirror, and there's a little bloody half circle on my chin and blood running down my neck. I washed it off, it just looked like a tiny cut, and put a bandaid over it. Plus some rubbing alcohol, which stings like hell. 20 minutes later, blood was spreading out from the bandaid and my parents noticed. They took me to the emergency room for some stitches. I thought that was pointless, it looked fine, but they thought I should go; my father's main argument was to stop it from scarring.

So. I explained to the doctor what had happened and he laughed the whole time he was stitching me up. Apparently, this specific placement of the cut, and method of getting it is really common among 5 year olds, who are still learning how to walk, but haven't yet learned to put their hands out for a fall. I'm in college, people. This dumb cut took 5 stitches. He was pretty funny about it, actually, had me smiling while he pulled a chunk of metal and thread through my face.

I'm going to feel like an idiot explaining this to my friends.

ROTC Denied

Well, I got a call from an official from AFROTC, and despite my attempt to appeal, I was definitely denied.

The second set of SAT scores I sent were taken 3 days after the December 1 deadline. The only December SAT date is December 4th, why does the website say the last possible SAT test is the December test, when they meant "before December 1st?"

Bright side: I can apply for AFROTC almost immediately once I start college, and possibly get a 3-year scholarship.

Dark side: RPI is going to cost me 20,500 for my first year, not even taking into account international flights and everything I need to move into college. Which includes an obligatory laptop.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I learned about a week ago that my application for the ROTC scholarship was denied. I sent an e-mail to The Major asking what I could do to appeal, since the most likely reason I was denied was the miserable PFA scores, but that I had shown quite a bit of improvement on the second CFA.

He answered by sending me the information from my ROTC file and asking if it seemed complete. It didn't.
It was missing my second, and much higher, SAT scores.

I rushed over to CollegeBoard to see if I had sent them. I had. On the 19th of December last year. I remember it clearly because I had to pay extra to send the damn things because it was either past the 4 free score reports limit, or past the 2 weeks I had to send them for free. I don't remember how much it cost, but it wasn't particularly cheap.

So. Mad, because while I didn't study for the tests, they weren't exactly fun to take, because I was depending more than I should have on that ROTC scholarship to help pay for college, because I want to be an Air Force officer and that's the main way to do so as well as getting a degree, because those scores were paid for and never received....!

I typed out a page begging to be reconsidered, added the SAT scores, the second CFA and a print out from CollegeBoard saying when and to whom all my scores had been sent. I faxed it to AFROTC Headquarters, and sent another copy by mail. I would have sent some more by telegraph, morse code and messenger pigeon to make sure they got them, but mainly to make a point, but those methods are all extinct.

My parents got a call yesterday from someone we will refer to as The Captain. I'm at the University of Costa Rica during the week (and I suppose they don't have my cellphone) so my father got to talk to him. He told me a bit later what he said, and as far as I can tell, this is the gist of it (remember, you can't cite 3rd hand sources, not if you want anyone to believe you, so as far as you're concerned, these are all rumors):

They got my fax, saw my scores. The Captain repeated various times that the scores were really good (well, they were, 2110) and that I possibly deserved the scholarship. A bit about needing more leadership ability (I think I mentioned in there that my school doesn't really have any clubs, and being class president of a group on 21 students doesn't really count for much re:leadership), and that he was looking at my second CFA scores and they weren't too bad. He thought I might even have a reasonable chance at being accepted by the Air Force Academy. He didn't make it clear whether they already had the scores and I was denied for a different reason, or if they had just gotten them now. Honestly, I would rather they already had the scores and decided I wasn't good enough than have lost the chance because of a bureaucratic error.

However, and here things get ugly, they can't do appeals. The budget has been used, all the money assigned to other applicants, and I could always try again next year.
Well, it was really quite nice of him to bother calling. And I sent him an e-mail to that effect.

The real problem here is whether I take out loans to pay for the first year of college at a school like Rensselaer and ask for the scholarship once I'm in. If I get the scholarship, all is nice and flowery and rainbows. If I don't, I can either cut my losses and return to Costa Rica, or go deep into debt for a nice degree.

Other solution: stay at the University of Costa Rica, change my major from Mechanical Engineering to Medicine, get a degree in medicine (either 4 years plus 1 year working at a state hospital, or 5 years and one working). Either way, I'm younger than pretty much anyone else with a medical degree in the US. Apply to various schools and scholarships using that degree as leverage and study what I want to study. That's what my parents, uncles, aunt-in-law, and neighbor are suggesting. Also, I'm kind of making this sound like I don't like medicine, but up until about 2 or 3 years ago I was completely decided to become a surgeon. I still think it would be interesting and useful to society at large, but I have other interests as well. And this route kind of takes me bit farther from the Air Force than I wanted. I suppose it would also be easier to gain entry once I have a decent degree.

There. It felt good to get that off my chest. Excuse the novelization, but this is the rest of my life we're talking about.

RPI Acceptance

Accepted at RPI. Major of Choice: Aeronautical Engineering.

They gave me some financial aid, but without the ROTC Scholarship it won't be enough. It's actually more complicated than that. I can pay the first year reasonably, and apply for AFROTC again once I'm in the first year of college. However, if I don't get it again, then I really kind of have to drop out. I could take out an incredible amount of loans and graduate with a lot of debt and start my career already God-knows-how-much-money behind.

More on ROTC on the next post.

ASU Acceptance

Accepted at ASU, Ira [something] Fulton School of Engineering. Major of choice: Aerospace Engineering (aka Astronautics).