Dear Jenn, I'm thinking of going to Montclair in the Fall, but my cousin went and said that figuring out all the paperwork and financial aid junk was a nightmare. Do you only teach computers? What is Montclair like?
I’m sorry your cousin had such a rough time here. One thing you’ll learn when going to college for the first time is about the enormous amount of paperwork and digital data involved. That, with the large number of students at any state university, will inevitably lead to some tests in your patience and the ability to follow through on tasks. This isn’t just a Montclair problem, you’ll find - it’s an everywhere problem: college, DMV, starting a new job, doing taxes, etc. When you’re working in the “real world,” you’ll realize how hard it is to do the jobs of those inducing your “nightmares.”
The important thing to remember is that you’re dealing with people, and people make mistakes. Most of the mistakes are on the part of both sides - they may lose paperwork, and you may assume everything is taken care of, or you ignore deadlines. *Never* assume everything is well until you have it in writing (a receipt, for instance).
Also - and this is IMPORTANT - always meet with your advisor once you start - at least once a semester right before registration time. If you don’t like your advisor, ask your department (or the advising department) for a new one. They’re going to help you make sure you graduate on time and with the courses you need to succeed.
I used to teach as an adjunct, before I was actually a CompSci major here, and then a graduate assistant while I was taking grad courses. Now I’m the department administrator here, so I don’t have time to teach. When I did, it was the general education course (CMPT109).
There’s this phrase used in tech, “eating your own dog food,” which basically means that someone actually is using the product that they’re creating. These are the type of people who you should trust when giving you opinions on their work. In the past 8 years I’ve been an undergrad, graduate student, adjunct, and department administrator. I’m also living downtown, so it’s pretty obvious that I’m attached to both the town and the university, and enjoying the Beggin’ Strips.
If we offer a program here that you’re interested in, I think MSU is a great choice. The town of Montclair is nice, also - if not a bit expensive, plus there are many folks that live here that think this is the coolest town on Earth (it’s not).
I HOPE THIS HELPS, BRAH.