Elephant hunting

8 May, 2010

Postgraduate Admissions, it said on the door. Opening Hours 2.15 – 5pm. I’d arrived at 3pm, clutching the forms and letters and certificates and every kind of ID I could think of, determined to register, and it was deserted.

Well, deserted doesn’t do it justice. It looked abandoned. Apparently the zombie apocalypse had been and gone, leaving behind an entire bay of disused cubicles, sticky notes long unstuck, stacks of chairs and calendars unturned since July 2008.

"Hellooo? Anyone here?"


I waited. I waited some more. I called the person I needed; in a distant bay, a telephone rang unanswered. I read a brochure about MSc courses. I did some more waiting. Just as I was about to give up, she arrived and I explained that I was trying to register.

“Do you have The Letter?”
“I have the letter.”
“Do you have The Form?”
“I have the form.”
“Do you have The Stamp?”
“I have the stamp.”
“Then come with me…”

Naturally, I can’t tell you anything about the actual initiation. Suffice to say that I am now a fully registered PhD student, with a shiny new ID card and everything. I exist! I am a student again! πŸ˜€

An unexpected side effect of the transfer is that I’m now in year 3 of my PhD according to UL*. I’d better get a move on, then πŸ™‚

* though not, happily, according to Lero who are funding me.



  1. Several things from your post are of great interest to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    1. You appear to have been hunting for elephants in an office building. This is unusual.
    2. Your suggestions give rise to the concept of Zombie Elephants… discuss.
    3. If it were indeed abandoned and you moved your stuff into there, could you claim squatters rights?

    This randomness brought to you by lack of sleep and Coca-Cola πŸ˜‰

  2. 1. These are not any old elephants (which are to be found in Africa and Asia) or even the rare Small Painted Elephants (found in London, I understand). These elephants are the anthropomorphic personification of tedious and unnecessarily complex administrative procedures. They are only to be found in large concrete buildings during working hours. Sometimes not even then.

    2. I battled this elephant and won. I don’t want to think about the possibility of it coming back.

    3. Likely. But I wouldn’t want to. The desk I have is much nicer, and also I can go to sleep underneath it if I want.

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