Universität Wien: The empire strikes back

by Yussi Pick

And the SNAFU continues. The handing-in ceremony at the German Department went surprisingly well. It was a clean cut, took 5 minutes and everything worked fine. They even send the form to the service center independently. I don’t have to get it and bring it there. Ok, they gave me another form (two actually) that has to be signed by me and my two professors who I take the final exam with, but that’s a reasonable portion of red tape – for U of Wien standards. The SNAFU continued today at the history department. The very nice office worker looked at my form and made the sound that I was fearing of since I thought of finishing school: Uh-Oh. There was one class missing. It was a free elective class, so I showed her my 10 extra PoliSci credits, my 10 extra German as a foreign language credits and my 29 students union credits, and told her to choose whatever she thought would fit.

That would be too easy. Turns out the free electives aren’t as free as the name sounds like. It has to be a class that has something to do with politics. Not a problem? I do have 10 extra PoliSci credits? Yes, but that’s not enough. There has to be a form. I have to plea that the PoliSci credits (one of the classes is called historical basis of politics) get accepted for the “free yet political history” credits. But the REALLY bad news is: I have to go to the “service” center and it takes SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS. Three if everything works out.


I have to pull a number. It’s 889. The door says 888. I’m surprised. I wait and fill out the form. My number shows up, I walk in.

(harsh doesn't come even close) 
Do you have a number
Yes, here

Why didn't you get in?
I was waiting for my number to show up.

I called your number five minutes ago.

I resign and give her the form. Because I thought it would be easier, I wrote down all the PoliSci courses I had, so that they could choose which one they thought would be the right one. She tells me that the Bescheid (1) would be negative, if the form stays like this. I have to guess which class they are thinking is right. If I choose wrongly, well I know that in six to eight weeks and the spectacle can start from the begining. But let’s be optimistic. After another mistake on my part (on the front, I was supposed to write down the name of my curriculum, not the number. On the back I was supposed to write the number of the curriculum, not the name. Stupid me.) I was free to go. I will know more in three to eight weeks. There’s nothing I can do.

(1) there really is not a proper translation that fits the horrifiying tone of the word. Verdict might be closest.