In Pursuit of Higher Learning

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By Michelle Dennison/ Julianne AlcottIt was my task a few months ago to pay a visit to a place of higher learning.

*names have been changed to avoid lawsuits

The institution in question has stopped allowing people to telephone them. They encourage email correspondence instead. I emailed them in November last year and I’m still waiting for a reply.

I chose instead to go the personal route, with a face-to-face visit at the student advisor counter. The
lady barely looked at my paperwork, and told me not very much more politely to go away. I held my ground and asked her what the next step was for me to take. Grudgingly, she told me to go to another department in Durban where I could find my answer.

After driving around what used to be the Victoria Embankment several times, I finally found it, hoping to receive better service than the last place. Well I didn’t even get past the lobby of the building. I was stopped and told to go away. More politely this time, and the lady very helpfully got me a phone number where I could obtain my answers.

All I needed to know was if I could do an extra qualification using my existing degree. Not rocket science, ut it took 22 emails to various people, and numerous phone calls spaced over the next month to finally get the answer.

Now, registration is imminent, and I don’t want to be caught missing some little piece of paper, so I
ventured forth to the unmentioned institution once again.

The bathrooms are interesting… if you can actually find them. They are hidden behind unmarked  doors down mysterious passages. Once found, they reveal that they have neither toilet paper nor soap. The back of the toilet doors is not a repository for every bad word in the English language, but an advertising board. Hastily scrawled notes by people looking for study groups, and the prices of books they have for sale.

I stood in the enquiries queue, as I thought that would be a good place to make an enquiry. The lady directed me to 3B2, a door further down the corridor. It was locked, and two large signs sprawled across it proclaimed that my particular course information could be found at room 2B1.

I sat outside room 2B1 for half an hour.

Finally, I went back to room 3B2 and asked the lady where I was supposed to go, because there was no one in 2B1.

Yes, she said. It’s because  they aren’t there.

I had to bite my tongue, lest it let fly all the sarcastic comments my head was thinking.

She offered to help me, and in her I discovered a rare breed… A student advisor who actually wanted to advise students! She even discovered that I had an extra credit for English that I didn’t know I had.

So here I am, about to be higherly educated… hopefully.

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