1467179118_05e9042949 After enduring the wrath of Financial Accounting, Human Resource Management, Popular Culture and Japanese exams over the last two weeks, exam period is finally over! Sure, I may have had a seven day break in the middle, and overall my exams were spread out pretty well, but if we add my procrastination and lack of motivation to study for anything unless it is two days away to the equation, then exam time is pretty frustrating. But in hindsight, who cares, because I am now freeeeeee :P

What made exam time a little more fun though was receiving an e-mail in the middle of the first week stating that students who had applied for exchange had to get faculty approval. Fair enough, I thought…everyone who applied knew such task was coming…but not that approval forms would be due a week later! :O To get faculty approval, students who applied for exchange get e-mailed a document outlining their exchange “study plans” which they must print out and present to each Faculty they study within to get approval. I study within two faculties, Commerce and Arts (for Asian Studies), so I had to submit the form to people from each and hope they would get out their overly expensive, felt tip pen and sign it with an awesome-looking signature. I decided to harass the Business School first, which turned out to be pretty easy. I handed my form in to reception on the Friday and picked it back up on the Monday, thankfully with a signature on the bottom with a lot of loops that looked cool enough to be an autograph – plus, the pen was felt tip :O . So things were going smoothly at that point, but it wasn’t long until my mission turned a little sandpapery. Sandpapery, I didn’t know that was a word…but hey, if Windows Live Writer isn’t correcting me, it must be! On Friday I had booked an appointment to see someone in the Arts faculty on Monday morning to get the form signed in person so I could then hand it in to the Exchange Office the same day, hoping to get this part of the application process out of the way and not have to worry about it anymore. I turned up for the meeting ten minutes early (hoping that would leave some kind of better impression), at 10:15 I went into the meeting, and by 10:17 I was walking out of the office. This is where I would have been happy to say everything went so smoothly it was over and done with in no time at all, but in reality it was quite the opposite. It turned out that not only did I not need to make an appointment to see someone, but also I was for the most part meeting with the wrong person – if I wanted to see this person about exchange, I had to see someone else first, and even then, I didn’t need to see her.

The someone else turned out to be the Japanese language coordinator, or Head of Japanese studies, who I actually walked past on the way to the appointment in Arts. So I headed to his office, knocked on the door but he wasn’t in. The lady at the administration office didn’t know where he was but said he usually was in at that time. I decided to be a little bit of a stalker and walk around to see if I could find him, because I didn’t want to have to come back to Uni another day as it takes about an hour of travel, and I should have been at home procrastinating/studying. And plus, the deadline to submit the form was rapidly approaching. I guess I need to work on my stalking abilities away from Facebook because I didn’t manage to find him. So I went back to the lady at administration and asked if I could make some kind of appointment for that day to see him, but appointments couldn’t be made so she suggested I come back in an hour and see if he was in then. I took her advice and went to the Library to study for about an hour and a half. When I returned, my mission to get faculty approval appeared to have returned to a smooth run. I knocked on the door, he answered, I handed the form to him, we spoke for a few minutes about the rest of the application process, he wished me luck and then I was off. He even said that after he signed it, he would pass it on to Arts and then get it passed on to the Exchange Office. So this part of the application process, in theory, was over! :) I was told I would be contacted if there was any problems with my form, but I haven’t been contacted yet so I hope that is a good sign.

Wednesday night came around, the day of the deadline, and I decided to check my application status online on HERMES. “Application: SUBMITTED…First Referee: SUBMITTED…Second Referee: SUBMITTED…First Faculty: Not attempted…Second Faculty:Not atte…” WHAT?! Because I was still studying for exams, I didn’t want to panic too much about this at the time, but I couldn’t help but be a little worried. I didn’t want my whole application, which I had spent countless hours on already, to be denied over this. And plus, I had already created my blog :P So I decided to assume that each form would have to be manually entered into the system, so it may have been a little slow being updated. But Thursday, Friday, Saturday went by and no change…its status remained “not attempted”.

Now here is the kicker…as I was writing this blog post last night, I discovered…or rather, realised something that changes this story significantly; something that was written in large, bold writing in an e-mail sitting at the top of my inbox. It turns out that I… kind of…somehow…misread the date the application was due :O. I must have read “DEADLINE: Please return to the Study Abroad Office by 16 July 2010” as “DEADLINE: Please return to the Study Abroad Office by 16 JUNE 2010”. I’m sure the fact that towards the end of semester and during exam time I didn’t really know what the date was most of the time had something to do with this massive error too. Now I am sitting here wondering how less stressful this part of the application process could have been if I had actually completed it after exams had finished, like most students probably have or are going to. Sure, I probably still would have made the same mistakes, but at least I wouldn’t have had the rapidly approaching false deadline to encourage me to resort to stalking to try and solve them :) . At least now I know though, as I was planning to e-mail them about it tomorrow morning while at the same time trying not to sound too desperate (they actually emphasised in the e-mail about faculty approval not to worry if you don’t hear anything right away). Instead, I can sit here somewhat comfortable knowing that there is still plenty of time for my form to be processed and passed along to the relevant people, and that is probably why mine hasn’t been done yet…because it doesn’t need to be done yet. I guess the positive thing to come out of all this is that this part of the application process is at least done and out of the way for me now, so I wont be one of the students who has left it until the last minute for once :P And if there is anything wrong with my form, I will have plenty of time to fix it :) If only I could be this “proactive” about other things haha…

So lessons learnt for other UWA students who may be applying for exchange to Japan:
            – You don’t need to make appointments with anyone in the faculties to get approval, just hand it to the relevant administration staff (at some sort of front desk) and they will get the approval form signed for you and let you know when you can pick it up (most likely within 24 hours). They will contact you if there is something wrong, and probably advise you to make an appointment then.
            – If you are studying Japanese (I presume 99% of you are), then you have to get approval from the Head of Japanese before getting approval from Arts, and in that case the Head of Japanese will likely take your approval form from you to give to Arts later on (and then it will get passed along to the Study Abroad/Exchange office).
            – Check the faculty approval deadline date carefully, don’t leave it too late but don’t stress yourself out by trying to get it all done within two days after receiving the e-mail like me :P You will most likely have a month to get it all done, so don’t lose sleep over it!

I better wrap this up here, as this post now has a longer word count than one of the essays I had to do first semester this year :o . Until next time, I will be working on putting up as much of my exchange application as possible and hopefully finding some time to enjoy University holidays :P !
- Michael/マイケル