Why am I surprised (or: Universität “Red Tape” Wien)

by Yussi Pick

Today my red tape marathon at University of Vienna began. SPOILER ALERT: I’m not going to make my final exam date that I planned for END OF APRIL.

Step two (1)

I study at three different departments (German, History and Education/Licensure). That means: Three different office hours. “Office Hours” in the Austrian sense: It’s open twice a week for two hours. Tuesdays is Education-Day, so I grabbed all my things (diplomas, validations, the form I filled out 5 years ago) and went to turn it in. I filled out the second part of the form I filled out five years ago and gave it to the nice lady at the counter. She took it, went to her little archive and pulled out the duplicate of the form, I filled out five years ago. She gave it to me and asked me to copy what I just filled out on the form that I filled first out five years ago onto the duplicate of the form I filled out 5 years ago. When I told her, that I was done, she asked me TO COME BACK IN 4 WEEKS TO GRAB THE SIGNED FORM THAT I FILLED OUT FIVE YEARS AGO. After looking really sad and desperate (I practiced in front of the mirror) she put the form that I filled out five years ago on another pile, so that it only takes 3 weeks. The person who signs all these forms filled out five years ago apparently has only one signing day a month.

Step three

When I get it back, that’s not even close to getting my degree. There are two other forms I filled out five years ago that I have to turn in at two other offices. When I get those three back (I hope four weeks is the limit, but it might as well be longer), I have to go to a place that is euphemistically called Students Service Center. It’s open – boy I don’t know, there’s no website where I could find that information, but as far as I remember it’s 6 hours a week. Good thing there: the queue is especially long since all students who study languages or various histories have to go there to hand stuff in.

Step four through seven

When I turned my three forms that I filled out five years ago in, I’m still not even close to my final exam. I have to wait: at least 4 weeks. Then I have my diploma, which means I can turn in my thesis. To turn in my thesis physically I have to upload it to a plagiarism controller first. This ridiculously expensive program controls if I plagiarised. It takes one week. For a machine. To run my thesis through Google. After I waited in line at the Service Center again and they accept my thesis, I have to wait two weeks to take my final exam.

Step eight – the bonus round

Does that mean I’m done? Well, yes. If you don’t want to have commencement. If you do want to show your family what it’s worth to put you through school, you have to register. There’s only 4 commencements per semester. There’s a waiting list. There’s a line at the Service Center where you have to register for the waiting list. To get a commencement date THIS JULY, (next date: September) I have to be done with my final exam END OF APRIL. To get a final exam date END OF APRIL, I have to turn in my grades in JANUARY. To do that, I’d have to be done with my courses in the spring term(2). Without any petty looks, sad faces and desperate bribing attempts it takes one year from your last exam to your commencement. With all these obsequious gesti it still takes a semester.

Abstract

I had my final regular exam on March 2nd. My thesis is done. If I’m lucky my commencement will be in July.

Rant over? Hell, no.

(1) I spare you and me the part where I take exams and wait for grades for a month or more. Grades I need to get this whole process, that is coming up, started.

(2) For classes in the winter term you get graded not before February. See me.

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