Saturday, November 13, 2004

What you don't know can get you deported

Sorry it's been a while. I was doing the thing where you set aside a week to write an essay, and suddenly it's the day before it's due and you haven't written a damn thing, and you promise yourself this isn't going to happen again but I think we all know it totally is.

This English essay, handed in yesterday morning, was the first assignment I've done since coming here. That's not nearly as bad as it sounds, since most courses only consist of an essay and an exam at the end of the term. But I was freaking out a little bit, because it's been almost six months since I've had to use my brain and I was starting to think I really couldn't live up to the academic standards here.

So it was the day before my paper was due that I made my first mistake. (Or what I thought was my first mistake.) I went to see my advisor to let him know I was struggling in my classes due to the fact that they were in departments I had no substantial background in. I don't know what I wanted him to say in response. Could he please switch me into some different classes that didn't require my effort or attention or attendance? Needless to say, he did not find this request as amusing as I did.

The real problem arose as I mentioned in passing my Celtic Civilizations class, which I understood to be starting halfway through the term. I would swear on my life -- or someone else's, that would probably be safer -- that my advisor told me this. Well, apparently, I understood wrong, because it is now week 7 or 8 and I was meant to have been attending this bastard class this whole time. Add this to the list of things my advisor was not finding amusing that day. Add me to the list of people who did not find this amusing either.

The worst part of all this is the fact that although I am registered for this Celtic Civilizations class, IT IS NOT ON MY OFFICIAL TIMETABLE. On the list of when and where I'm supposed to be each day of the week, this class nowhere to be found. Obviously, I've known all this time that I was signed up for this class, but I really believed it wasn't meant to start until the second half of the term. The timetable supported this. I've been totally oblivious. This is my defense.

Under ordinary circumstances, I would drop the class from my schedule entirely. But without it, I'm just short of officially being a full-time student. If I'm not a full-time student, I get shipped back to America. So now I have to make an appointment with the head of the department and beg him to let me into the class seven weeks late. If he rejects my appeal, I go home. My advisor's smug comment: "I wouldn't blame him if he didn't let you in." That's some good advising right there. Asshole.

I'm pretty sure my advisor thinks I did this on purpose. I kept trying to leave his office and he would repeat phrases like, "I think you really blew it, Eric" and "I can't believe you left it to the last minute like this," as if I hadn't found this out at the same time he did, and I wasn't just as horrified. Eventually, I did manage to escape, although when I checked my email he had sent me a message informing me, "The primary lesson to be learned here is that as an adult you must face up to your responsibilities." Because I'm 12, and the reason all this happened was because I'm lazy.

So I'll be meeting with the head of the Celtic department next week. Wish me luck, yo.


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