August/September 2002 Online Publication       

The food might have been shaky, but the staff was awesome!! Learned a lot, got great references, met some fantastic folks and look forward to seeing them at future conferences.

WASFAA Happenings ...
A WASFAA Boot Camp Diary
by Verona Nelson, UCLA

6/1 - Saturday
Arrived @ University of Nevada-Reno... the plane ride was smooth, traveled with my fellow Bruins! Had a great cab ride in... had the most informative driver - pointed out city highlights and actually knew where the "new" dorms were located.

When we arrived and saw the Canada Building, we were tickled pink - only to be informed by the driver we were standing in front of the new dorms that looked old and vacant. Were we bummed!

Okay, so we finally got into the building only to find out that we couldn't get into the rooms because there's no administrative folks from WASFAA there to check us in... but UCLA prevails, we crash the lounge!! That's right - took over!! I mean, all five of us were sprawled out all over the dang floor... laying on the couches, changing clothes, curling hair, etc. etc. etc.

Since we're early, the only real job to do is get the registration materials organized and set up for Sunday's registration, and what better crew to get the job done but, Andy's Angels - Jennifer Fernandez, Verona Nelson, Jennifer Bolden, and Cynthia Mancilla, who all hail from the mighty, mighty UCLA. We got a chance to look at all the bright shiny faces of the folks that we would be spending the next seven days of learning and living the financial aid life.

Since we were still new and no one else had checked, "we hit the town".

6/2 - Sunday
Andy's Angels conducted check-in... we got a first hand look at all the fellow WASFAA'ers as they checked in to the lovely and cozy UNR campus and registered with us. We had on our bright shiny faces, greeted everyone, confusing them with our ever-changing directions and on-site instructions... but I really do believe most folks forgave us for any errors beyond our control! Isn't that right gang?! Opening ceremonies were cool.

6/3 - Monday
What a hoot! All I can say is just "Jack"/Ms. Verlean, can put on a workshop anytime!!! Just goes to show we can have fun and learn at the same time. Looking forward to pictures of the FAFSA change!!

Café food sucks, but at least the ice cream is tasty!!

6/4 - Tuesday
Looking forward to today's session - federal methodology, a.k.a. needs analysis... The session was actually really cool. Got a chance to work in a group - Jennifer from UCLA, Suzanne and Barbara from UNR. We actually learned from each other, walking through each step together - that was great... we didn't just arrive at an answer. We got it done solving each step together. I feel we got more from that experience!

Today was also "white shirt day", and did we look cute! It was a hoot trying to stay clean all day to take the group picture!

Had a café lunch... and I must add, the staff, well... they were rather great! The food on days could be better. I guess we're all a bit spoiled. The staff made it just that much better... they smile, greet and take orders at least three times a day from this WASFAA bunch, and still make a point of greeting us each and every time. Well, they have to greet because I pause to talk every time I'm there. Even took a picture!

The session later today was "Diversity"... got a different view from my immediate group... one I've felt, but it was a pleasure to hear it. We're all the same, though we're different. Let's just get the job done!

Personal thanks to Jennifer B., Suzanne and Barbara from UNR for making this exercise both in federal methodology and diversity, a pleasurable one!!

After dinner I had a first... thanks to Paige... I went to the Super Wal-Mart. Talk about your thrills!!

6/5 - Wednesday
Okay, starting to miss home, and get this - even work - just a bit more... I'm having a great time, love seeing new faces and spreading my special "Veronica" a.k.a. Andy's Angel cheer, but I miss the dirty LA air... Today we did the group name competition... personally we, the "Novi", well, were the cutest!! And I'd be darned if we didn't win... our cheer might have been lame, but we had the enthusiasm. Okay, we were really, really, really, loud!!! The "Novi" team included: Andy Promsiri - Team Leader (UCLA), Frank Gittens - Team Rep (Chela), Diane Aurenz - (Chela), Pete Bauer - (Univ. of Oregon), Brenda Burns - (Yavapai College), Nathan Byrd - (LaSalle Univ.), Andrew Cho - (So. Baylo Univ.), Angelina Corrales - (Pima Community College), Jennifer Fernandez - (UCLA), Cheryl Grim - (Lewis Clark State College), and last but not least, me, Verona Nelson - (UCLA).

Today was also intense study time. We reviewed Pell calculations and processing FFEL and direct loans. We broke into groups to do Pell calculations... that was challenging, and due to time constraints, we did the FFEL calculations as a whole... And tonight it's the Lakers and Nets time!!!

Saw a few movies during the movie break... took a nap to rejuvenate me weary bones, and got up to enjoy the NBA finals between the LA Lakers and the New Jersey Nets with my fellow WASFAA'ers.

6/6 - Thursday
Okay, this morning I'm really ready to go home... I'm on autopilot. Personal note: I don't see how lender reps. and the like handle this grind... I'm missing home like crazy. Truthfully, I'm a bit draggy this AM... went drinking with the girls. Had a great sisterhood bonding!!!

Starting to wind down... leaving for home tomorrow... gotta make sure I got the "hot lines" info websites and numbers, because tomorrow is "D" day.

Today's session was cool. Sargent Stevens was the best!! Didn't know he had jokes in him.

Closing ceremonies was a banquet, which was great. Award presentations were "off the hook". The "Last Supper" was the best dish yet! We closed the day out with a bang! The group sign-off was a hoot. Frank from "Novi" sealed our place as the most spirited and energetic group - "Go Novi"!!!

The best was yet to come... Party at Paige's! Now that was "off the hook". We were networking like crazy!! We definitely put Tuesday evening's "Diversity" example into full effect. One common people with one common goal... WASFAA's 19th annual participants furthering bonding!!!

6/7 - Friday
Yeah, we go home today! Said good-bye to Café!! The food might have been shaky, but the staff was awesome!! Learned a lot, got great references, met some fantastic folks and look forward to seeing them at future conferences.

Thanks to my home school for letting me attend, thanks to WASFAA for having a great production, and thanks to the 19th Annual WASFAA faculty!! And the best of all was the surprise "TP"ing of the faculty floor... will the guilty ride to the sunset!! Oops, the only thing better or more entertaining than the scooping of the "TP"ing... "Just Jack/Verlene", they kicked the week off with a bang!!! THANKS!

Boot Camp Highlights
  • Confusing registration
  • Opening ceremonies
  • First real gripes about campus life as hard working pampered adults!
  • Group name competition
  • Daily raffles
  • Banquet
  • Paige's party

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