Merdocracy #1

End of June: receive acceptance letter only a few weeks after submitting my dossier. I will be starting a Master’s degree in Music Business at the Sorbonne this fall!

June 28: receive a surprisingly organized and clearly written email containing instructions on how to complete my inscription (the sign-up process). I gather together my dossier and make my appointment online as directed in the email.

July 10: After almost dying walking up the three flights of stairs due to my cold (the ancient elevator with it’s stack of cardboard boxes blocking the door taunts me – the only thing worse than no elevator is a broken elevator) I arrive at my appointment. I am told that I am missing a form and need to go turn it in in a different office before attending my appointment.

Black hole of dossiers

Black hole of dossiers

After a frustrating 20 minutes of going to the wrong place, I find the right office. I encounter a man whom I’d met before – when doing research of Master’s programs, he’d looked at me like I had two heads when I asked him if I could see the class schedule to see if it would conflict with my work hours, and if I could speak to current or past students. This time he was a bit less mean and he told me I needed a directeur de recherche (thesis advisor) before I turned in the form, and gave me a professor’s email address to ask about getting a directeur. I went home directly and emailed the professor.

July 17: I receive a reply from the professor: I’m not the right person to email, email this professor instead. Ugh! Send an email to prof #2 and get a prompt response: You don’t need a directeur before you sign up. **smacks hand to forehead** The July inscription period is of course over now, so I have to wait until September after les vacances.

September 6: Call office phone number several times and send an email, asking when I can complete my inscription, and after receiving no response, go to new building in the north of Paris because that’s the address that was listed on the website.  Once arrived to the office 5 flights of stairs up, am told I have to go to the original office in central Paris, the one where the elevator is broken.  The woman in this office thankfully looks at the email from the professor I printed out and puts an official stamp on my acceptance form that shows I don’t need a directeur de recherche before I sign up.

September 9: Go to correct foreign students office; it’s closed on Monday afternoons.  Naturally.  And this is not written on the website. Take a picture of office hours with my phone so I know for the future.


September 10: Go to correct foreign students office – I have to have an appointment.  Even though I tried to make one several times in the past few months and the website was either broken or not working my computer.  Go home and it magically works again – all the appointments are taken until September 20, 4 days before I’m supposed to start classes!

September 20: Go to my appointment. The woman helping me sees the official stamp on my dossier but ignores it and tries to hand it back to me. I show her the email from the professor and she freaks out and shows it to her boss and colleague. They are all really pissed that this professor changed something about the inscription process. They spend at least 10 minutes discussing it (funny, as I’d just overheard them stressing out about how many students were waiting in line to sign up and how they’d have to work not only in the mornings that week but also the afternoons to get everyone signed up!), proclaiming that they might as well just leave their jobs to the professor since he seems to know more than them. The lady makes about 20 copies of the email and gives it back to me, then FINALLY takes steps to officially sign me up.

I pay tuition (1/2 the price I was quoted when I applied!) and €259,10 later I am officially a student at the Sorbonne! You just coughed your drink out of your nose – if you are any nationality but American it’s because that price is “so high.” Does this affordable degree make the 3 month headache of just signing up worth it? To be determined after graduation…

September 23: The day before classes start, the schedule is posted online, with one column missing – the Saturday column. And, it turns out, I have classes on Saturdays…


2 thoughts on “Merdocracy #1

  1. along with your excellent food & travel blogs, you could now put together a collection of bureaucracy blogs. keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s