PSU wishlist for ‘Christmas in July’

As an insomniac who watches a lot of very-late-night TV, I’vebecome something of a connoisseur of crappy, locally producedcommercials for used cars, furniture stores holding their annualgoing-out-of business sales, garden-supply stores that devote aninordinate amount of time to plugging their “hydroponic gardeningsystems,” and so on. The production quality is always low, theactors are even more wooden than on regular commercials and theynever come within a mile of making you want to purchase theirproduct.

Lately, though, I’ve been transfixed by one spot that runs on afairly regular basis. It’s for a bed store holding a sale and thetheme is “Christmas in July.” It features some Adderol-esque perkypeople dressed in store employee outfits and Santa Claus hats,dancing around the store and imploring the viewer to come in andenjoy Christmas early. Apparently the concept is that the place isholding their big Christmas blowout sale six months in advance. Hownice of them. How chock-full of holiday cheer.

I’m not in the market for a new bed, or a new anything for thatmatter, but the whole Christmas in July thing fascinated me. Whyshould I wait a full twelve months for people to give me lots offree shit? That goes against the whole principle of instantgratification that I’ve built my life around. So break out theornaments and the tinsel – I’m going to get started on my wishlistright now.

Actually, come to think of it, there are a number of things thatI want from PSU. This is where the early holiday idea really beginsto make sense, because if I get my request in now, they might -might -just have it processed by December. In fact, it’s probablyimperative to get it in early if I want any results before 2005, inmuch the same way I would probably be receiving my financial aidmoney right now if I had filed for this year in the fall of 1999.Hopefully, this time, timeliness will be on my side.

First on my pie-in-the-sky wishlist is a no-brainer: friggin’tuition, man! Instead of putting up a new building every threeweeks or so, maybe the school could concentrate on improving theaffordability of our education within the physical confines ofwhat’s already here. Expansion is pointless when what’s beingexpanded on has serious flaws that should be getting attentionright now. Just think … instead of being an increasinglyunaffordable urban university, we could be an increasinglyunaffordable big urban university. Now that’s really something toaspire to. Hopefully the school will shift their priorities alittle and shift more of the budget toward making the PSUexperience more affordable.

I also wish it wasn’t such a challenge to get into the classes Iwant. Getting anything close to a decent schedule involves waitingpatiently in front of the computer the night that registrationopens. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck taking Underwater Basket Weaving101. And if you need to make a last-minute schedule change at thebeginning of the term, chances are you’ll be running around all daywith those lovely orange class-change forms from the Neubergerlobby and still have nothing to show for it at the end of the day.It seems so futile to go see a counselor and work out a pinpointplan for taking the right classes to graduate in a specific amountof time when you aren’t going to be able to get half the classesinto your schedule. Don’t get me wrong: I love being here, but Iwould like to leave at some point, preferably with a diploma inhand.

Speaking of computers and waiting patiently, I wish there weremore times when it was possible to access the university’s computerlabs. Some students can’t afford to have Internet access at home -a hell of a lot of them, actually, judging by the lines you have toendure at the library sometimes. It isn’t always possible to getyour homework done between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight (or 8a.m. and 10 p.m. during the summer – even worse). A lot of people,myself included, have to work during the day to fund theiredumacashun and the only opportune time for slogging through thecourse load is very late at night. Running at least one of the labstwenty-four hours a day would ease the strain considerably.

There are a number of other things on my PSU wish list, likestudent bus passes, junking the University Studies program and awide variety of other subjects. However, it would take three orfour Vanguard issues to cover them all in detail, so we’ll justleave it at that. Happy holidays, everybody. Shoot me a present ifyou get the chance.