Archive | September, 2012

Mouton begins Second Year or “Inscriptions Pédagogiques” for Dummies

8 Sep

Hi there!

NOTE BEFORE YOU READ THIS POST: I have recently been introduced to gifs (pictures that move) by my wonderful and technologically advanced sister. If the picture isn’t moving click on it to get the full effect then return to the post. Let’s try it out:


In the first week of uni our head of course announced that he’d heard many of us were nervous about the upcoming “Inscriptions Pédagogiques” and not to worry, it would all go smoothly. Like a fool, I believed him.

“Hah!” thought I, “Why would anyone be scared of course registration? Weird…” I wish someone had come up to me that day and said “Be afraid. Be very afraid!”

So come sign up day I overslept by two minutes and went online to find the only available classes were at 8 in the morning or 7.15 in the evening, which is how I spent my first term in Paris with no food, no sleep and no social life. From then on I ensured I was always prepared for inscriptions, once sprinting the entire length of Saint-Germain, pushing past ageing glamazons and tripping over small rat-like dogs, just to get to a computer on time.

You have to approach the inscriptions like you would a battlefield; with a watertight military strategy, graphs, tables, maps, plans, back-up plans and options of last resort. Even so, things can still go wrong; with thousands of students simultaneously trying to sign up for the same classes with varying internet speed and keyboard skills, 3 milliseconds can spell the difference between success and failure. It’s a bloodbath!

Personally, I’d be in favour of shaking things up a bit. Wouldn’t it be fun if students mud-wrestled for the classes they wanted, in groups according to gender and weight? Though I’d probably be no better off than in the current system. Perhaps we could compete at timed sudoku, or spider solitaire! I’d be laughing then.

Anyway, signup day this year saw me poised in front of my laptop at 7.59am, cup of tea in hand, frantically clicking refresh and waiting for the signup page to open. A little voice in my head whispered “Let the games begin, and may the odds be ever in you favour!”.

I told it to shut up. Aaaaaaaaaaaand GO!

Ok, straight to Philosophy of Law and “Inscrire!”

… nothing happened.


… still nothing


MOTHERF***!!! Why wont this thing let me sign up?! Ok ABORT! ABORT!

Quick, switch tactics! Plan B: sign up to development economics….


The ominous little “C” signifying “complète” (class full) had appeared next to the course name. I scrolled down all my other choices… C, C, C, C, C…. This was starting to look a lot like my report card.

“MUUUUUUUM!” I cried, “Help meeeee!!”

She ran into the office.

“It…. wont… signup…. full…. classes…. doomed!” I spluttered

“OK don’t panic” she said, “Let’s see what’s left, check under arts classes.”

We cross referenced all the available classes with the gaps in my timetable and were left with…

“Ok so it looks like it’s either ‘Conflicts in Africa: Writing the Unspeakable’ or ‘Baroque Dance'” concluded Mum.

I weighed it up mentally.

On the one hand, two hours a week of murder, rape, incest, mutilation, excision and genocide. On the other, two hours of prancing around in medium-sized heels, waving garlands of flowers looking like a prat. I chose humiliation over permanent mental scarring.

“I pick baroque dance!” I exclaimed and was about to click when a little “C” appeared. Genocide it is then.

A couple of hours, a few tantrums and many, many emails later I found myself with Conflict Literature, hardcore African Economies, Politics of the EU and, wait for it, Administrative Law.

On the bright side, seeing as I have no idea what to do with my life, all these courses could be interesting. I said I wanted to knock economics on the head and here’s my chance! Journalists have to cover difficult subjects so conflict lit will be useful and Admin Law, well, honestly I have no clue what it is!

I am determined to make a success of this year, no more blundering around like a lost sheep (geddit? EHHEHEHE! ). I will jog on weekday mornings, I will actually show up for tai chi, I will cook real food and clean the apartment and stop starting dissertations at 4 o’clock on the morning they are due! Okay

Will keep you all posted on my progress though somehow I doubt ridiculous things will just stop happening to me (and would I want them too?).

Second year:

Mouton OUT!

PS. I realise there are an insane amount of gifs in this post. All I can say is…