Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"peace for our time"

3 days after I keyed in my login number and password, I finally walked out of AS7 waving a white piece of paper to myself. I felt like Chamberlain walking out of his airplane with that so called peace treaty in his hand, waving to his people "securing peace for our time". Yup, what I secured was only a short term assurance. For a short term assurance I killed 3 days of my life, wonder what would follow next...

The story started on the day the wonderful National University of Singapore decided to internetise everything... So, this Overseas Programme Application was to be made online, ONLY. And as with everything the almighty(not) Internet has to give, this online application basically just screwed me left right centre.

Okay, I admit I was also at fault. The online application was opened from Thursday to Monday morning, and as you know Joan, she procrastinated. She logged in on Saturday and wanted to do that application but she procrastinated cos it just looked too tedious. She tried it again on Sunday, and that was when everything went wrong. I tried uploading a beautiful picture of my online but it failed, think it was because I was too pretty le, but that's not the point. The point was that every time I clicked on continue, I'd get a "cannot find server" error page. And refreshing the page made me lose all my details and I HAD TO WRITE THEM OUT ALL OVER AGAIN!!!

I tried for 3 times before giving up and waiting for half an hour before trying it again. I tried it this time without uploading my picture, and it got through, to the next page.


I encountered another problem in the next page. Under department I'm under, I couldn't find my department, European Studies. So I skipped that and proceeded and filled everything up. Then I clicked on continue, BUT I GOT ANOTHER ERROR MESSAGE which I don't even know what is the error about. I tried refreshing the page. Luckily this time round what I've typed, which was a lot a lot more than the previous page, was saved, by cookies I think. I better thank them by buying a couple more Famous Amos this month. I tried all I could do but I kept getting that error message. I even tried waiting a long long time again before sending it over, but it was all not of any use.

In my frettered haste, I composed emails to the IRO, International Relations Office, my department, European Studies, under the Office of Programmes, and my department head, Dr Turner. But of course, it was a Sunday, no one would reply me. And more so it was because it was midnight so obviously waiting was no use anymore.

I woke up the next day at 8am and went to the Office of Programmes but it was closed. It would only be opened at 8.30am. These lazy bums, work so late, make me wait, but what to do, I'm at their mercy... wahaha~ I went back at 8.30am and the clerk there told me that I shoud be approaching the Dean's Office for help in SEP matters, and directed me to go there. I went there. The wait there was so bureaucratic. I was to approach one clerk and she would find someone to assist me, and the office looked reasonable empty at that time of the day... Lazy office people~ I bet those who went early were hanging out online somewhere.

So, she told me to send a hard copy of my application to my department by 2.30pm that afternoon after much deliberation. She actually told me to go off first and later told me that through a phone call. hmm... But I was having class, so I could only do that after my class.

After my class, I received an email from Dr Turner telling me to go look for him immediately. He's the head of my department, he was the biggest, so I ran off to look for him immediately. I ran to his office far far away, forgetting my cap in the meantime. Dr Turner was great and told me what I should be doing and directed me to be filling up my study plans. So he dismissed away to get my study plans done then look for him before 3pm that same day. The time then, was 12.30pm. So I ran back to the computer lab and picked up my cap and proceeded with my study plans.

These study plans sucked big time cos the websites for the universities I was applying to weren't systematic, and they weren't in English. Freak... I tried to get up a somewhat decent study plan by 2.15pm and decided that the longer I stayed in the computer lab the more pek cek I'd get. So I gathered what I have and went to look for Dr Turner, also with the 2.30pm deadline on mind.

Apparently, according to Dr Turner, I wasn't looking in the right place for the module information. So we tried to look for stuff online and try to decipher the German. Along the way, another girl applying for a French exchange came by and she too had some problems she needed to settle with Dr Turner, but her problems weren't as serious as mine. And another guy who had just finished his exchanged came by. And to my benefit, he had just came back from Heidelberg, exactly where I wanted to head for and he gave me the proper webbie which I should be looking at for modules.

Apparently that might look as though it was sloving problems, but it was now 3.30pm and Dr Turner was heading off for a lecture and couldn't assist me any more. Armed with the hard copies of my application form, he directed me to Vani in the Office of Programmes.

I went back there to submit my forms, and before she could do anything about them, she told me apologitically that she was rushing for a meeting. So, she directed me to the Dean's Office to submit my forms. I went back to the Dean's Office, where I first started out in my trail. And interestingly enough, the Dean's Office refused to do anything for me, saying that there was no way they could help me because I was lacking a certain endorsement, and where would I be needing to get it from? Vani and Dr Turner.


If this was a Chinese drama serial, *thunder and lightning*.

I was so pissed that I just left a note with Vani and left the school. The stupid thing about this whole rushed thingie, the next day was a public holiday.

But I almost gave up all hope le. Really, at the most I'll have to go in my third year first semester lor. But an hour ago, I received a call from Vani calling me to go down to the Office of Programmes and submit that damned application online again. I was to go down to the Office cos they had technicians on hand and basically would be able to solve all technical problems.

After much waiting and waiting, I finally was able to emerge out of the Office with that white piece of paper in my hand, thus "securing peace for (my) time". But as history went about, Chamberlain did not really managed to secure peace, and the picture of him waving that white piece of paper became the biggest irony of WWII. Until I get the results of my application, I guess I'd have peace, but well, if I fail to garner my SEP, I'd be going through the hassles of appeal and godknowswhat paperwork, online and offline, and if I get my SEP, well, visa and more module planning will basically revert me back to my dishevelled state.

Until then, I think the NUS system of making everything online plain sucks. I'm not complaining of them putting everything online cos I too believe internet makes life easier, but if they want to put things up online, hell make sure that those things work! And not screw up my day just like that. And they should alwaus have a back up plan. So much for the top university bragging.

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