Friday, September 30, 2005

My $302 Table of Contents

Well, I've lost. My thesis formatting was rejected again, and this time it was for all the marbles (at least for 302 of them). As I may have noted is some previous post (though I can't remember), MA students at TEDS have 2 years to complete an MA program. If not finished with all requirements by the 2 year mark, a "continuation" fee of $302 dollars is assessed for each semester past the deadline. Having completed all of my requirements back in May except for the simple task of formatting my thesis, I was not overly concerned, since I still had the whole summer before my 2 year deadline. Seven rejections and five months later, I still have not been able to get it past the formatting police. Though it has been approved by my readers, and though I received an "A" for my thesis credits back in May, my inability to adequately format the table of contents has led to continual frustrations and rejections. My frustration mounted as each rejection (sometimes coming over a month after I would turn in a draft) led closer and closer to the fateful deadline. And now this last rejection has taken me past the deadline.

"What," you are asking yourself, "could have possibly been wrong this last time?" Good question. I will tell you.

First, in an attempt to fix this, I moved the page numbers in the table of contents half a number too far to the right, encroaching upon the sacred one inch margin. The format guy actually used a ruler to draw a line right down the middle of the farthest numbers on the right. Imagine being off by half the width of the number "1."

Second, I missed a period after the "D" in "A.D.," in a footnote on page 153.

Third, I used single quotation marks, rather than double quotation marks, in a block quote on page 90.

Fourth, I had too much "open" space between the footnote separator line and the last line of the main text on page 51.

For these mistakes I will now have to cough up $302 dollars. Incidentally, I am told that the continuation fee covers library access, faculty access, and protection of my thesis topic. I am in need of none of these anymore (though I do like having the library access--but not for $302 a semester). I suppose I will try to appeal, beg for leniency and otherwise throw myself on the mercy of the court, but I don't have high hopes.

I had been thinking about doing a second MA in New Testament at TEDS, but now I just don't know. I'm so disgusted with the school. I'm going to sit down and have a talk with the dean once my thesis is accepted. Don't know what good it will do.

Maybe its time to think about Wheaton.


Melissa said...

Sorry to hear about all of the frustrations! Keep at it.

Todd said...

so, if your thesis isn't accepted for another two years, what do you own then?

seriously, this guy has got problems. perhaps he thinks your a heretic and doesn't want your thesis in trinity journal, ever think of that?!

Gerald said...

It's crossed my mind. Maybe he is a staunch Calvinist and doesn't appreciate my Augustinian bent. It's just hard to believe that he puts every MA student through these petty hurdles.

The Cubicle Reverend said...

Tag, you're it.

the forester said...

My heart aches for you, man. So I'd like to share this bit of wisdom: whenever I get slapped with some ugly speeding ticket or higher insurance or overdue fine, I try to consider the lasting effects of the last slap. That $585 seems absolutely, inconceivably whopping right now -- but 5 years from now you won't even miss it, and 10 years from now it'll be hard to remember if it was $485 or $585 or $685.

As a public school teacher with a wife and child, all of us living on one salary, I know that things like this really sting. But that's the tyranny of money. In the end, we will all be dead and raised to everlasting life with Christ. In the meantime, God is gracious and provides for our needs. So we can laugh through our tears, and scorn the devil's pathetic attempts to hurt us through something as trivial as money. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so what's $585 to us? A mere inconvenience.

That thesis reviewer, on the other hand, is another issue. One would wonder why it takes him a month to draw a 1" margin line down your table of contents.

The next time to submit, I say you insert a line of text in the middle somewhere to the effect that Jay Leno is a better theologian than Calvin. Then, when he rejects your manuscript again for formatting issues, without having read the content -- show the dean. Clearly he's obsessing over the wrong priority.

Seriously, I would suggest that he is threatened by your talent, so his defense mechanisms are finding ways to nitpick at your work.

Gerald said...


Thanks for the thoughts. A friend and I always joke about the future "good story" value of any hardship. I've already got plenty of mileage out of this one. I'm not sure its been 585 dollars worth yet, but I must be getting close.

Somehow in the twisted maze of providence, I still believe this.

(not that this really caused me to doubt this).

David Nebraska said...

I'm speechless. Know any Goombas? :-)

Gerald said...


Anonymous said...

It's time to dig in your heels and report this hoodlum to the chain of command. I would not stop until said hooligan either gets reprimanded, or your thesis is accepted.

--Artsy Fartsy on the West Coast

David Nebraska said...

It was a joke. Ya know, "wiseguys" foget bout iiit, ehhhh, ow ya duin, ehhhh, ure bustin' my chops errre. Goombas, get it?

Gerald said...


Still a bit uncertain, but I'm not sure its worth the effort. You can explain it to me the next time we talk.

Lily Cross said...

Haha! Well, at least you can learn from it that it would be good to double check everything before passing it for revision. Writing thesis writing can really be hard and it would be harder if you forgot some format and rules to follow. You can mess everything up in just one mistake.