Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In his 'Last Lecture,' terminally ill Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch drives home the point that walls are there to make us figure out just how badly we want something.

Clearly, Randy Pausch has never been to France.

Don't misunderstand me--Professor Pausch is pointing to a bigger picture in his lecture, and I think he hit the nail on the head, because he's right: you never know how badly you want something until you're faced with obstacles to getting it, and only those who are truly motivated find a way to surmount the walls.

But really, Professor Pausch, you've yet to meet France: this is the nation that should have built the Great Wall of China, because getting ANYTHING done in this country is nearly impossibly without jumping like a pedigreed dog on show over countless obstacles.

Case in point: my masters applications. I've been working on this file since oh...October? It has involved the following:

1) completing the online information file
2) getting copies of both my high school and college transcripts
3) having those copies sent to a foreign nation
4) dealing with a jack ass of a translator and paying good loads of money to get those documents officially translated into French
5) Signing up for a French language exam IN PERSON at Paris III
6) Taking that nearly six hour language exam over two days
7) Emailing everyone under the effing sun at Campus France to figure out if I'm required to do a phone interview for my file
8) Submitting the entire file once without uploading scans of all those documents because, and I quote the user manual, "the uploading of these documents is OPTIONAL" because sending a "paper file is required."
9) Getting a phone call from the head of Campus France in Washington telling me I HAVE to upload those docs and that she's unlocked my file so I can re-do it.
10) Me re-doing the file only to figure out my scans are too large.
11) Me reformatting all my scans
12) Me uploading all my scans and submitting the entire file AGAIN.
13) Me getting YET ANOTHER CALL from Washington yesterday telling me the quality of the scans is too poor. WHY!? Because I had to make them SMALL ENOUGH for their damn upload requirements!!
14) Me sitting here in Ile-de-France calling Campus France in WASHINGTON two days before the submission deadline to get this shit sorted out.

Excuse my French, but if France wanted a hoop jumper and a wall climber, they sure as hell got one. I do not give up, I do not give in, and even though I'm exhausted and tired and just want this damn file to be done, it's not over until it's over.

So bring it walls. I'm not scared of you. I'll keep climbing until I collapse. And that's a promise.

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