Friday, 8 July 2011

Some Frustrations

As all of you have been regularly reading this blog know, I am so happy here in Botswana. The only thing I have been able to complain about so far is that I am being served too much food, which isn't even really a legitimate complaint. But last night I was faced with my biggest challenge and frustration since being here: SOLUS

SOLUS is the online program used by Queen's University for class enrollments, tuition payments, and countless other slow loading applications. It was meant to be the newer, faster and better version of the outdated QCARD that so many students loathed for years. Originally, I was on Team SOLUS. It is easier to navigate, has more options and features, and even is decorated in a pretty blue colour! But after last night, I would be happy if the system crashed and never returned to the working world wide web again.

You see, yesterday I had my enrollment appointment on SOLUS; my time slot to register in classes for the upcoming year. My time was 4pm Eastern time, or 10pm here in Botswana. No big deal; I asked Kabo if I could use the office and lock up when I was done, and Fais and I chilled until my time came. The anticipation was brutal. As the clock ticked closer and closer to 10 my stomach progressively became tied in more and more knots.

The minute my computer clock switch to ten the battle began, with me frantically hitting "enroll" over and over until SOLUS told me it was "Processing". I don't know why, but even though I was nervous I still had this calm feeling that everything would be OK and I would get into all my classes. After all, a psychic I know told me I would be happy. Ahh, blissful (and willful) ignorance. 5 minutes turned to 10, and 10 crept towards 15 and SOLUS was still "Processing" my request. And then it happened. The page turned white and then switch to a new page. Big red X's flashed across my screen. My stomach dropped and the world blurred. Out of the five classes I had tried to enroll in, I got into two. Fight or flight, fight or flight?

I chose flight, moving on to my Winter term enrollment instead of trying to frantically fight to enroll in my back-up Fall classes. This time, I had none of my earlier naivety. I warily hit enroll and waited in the calm before the virtual storm. The results were a little better, three classes out of five. Combined between Fall and Winter classes, I had achieved the status of a Part-time student.

Around 11:30pm, after trying for half and hour to enroll in some of my back-up courses (all of which failed me) and sending out about a dozen emails to Profs and Department Heads pleading to let me into their courses, Fais and I decided to pack it in for the night. Failing to get hold of a taxi to come pick us up, we set the alarm, locked the doors, and headed out into the dark. We were both on edge, seeing as it was the latest we had been out since being here. However after walking to the main road and waiting for about five minutes we managed to hail a taxi and get ourselves home without incident. I didn't get to bed until after 12 (my new record!), and slept restlessly.

I was up at 6 this morning to bathe, wash my hair (always a struggle), and pack for our weekend trip. Despite  being up so early Fais and I still managed to be late for work, since there seemed to be no taxis driving through our neighbourhood. This was made worse by a call from Thomas saying that everyone was standing outside since we had the keys. Great.

After getting to the office and finding everyone already inside (Thank God!) I set up camp and started the battle all over again. As of now, I have had some small victories. I now am enrolled in three Fall courses and four Winter courses! One more Fall course and I can move back up to a full-time student! I will keep fighting until I leave the office at 1 to start our weekend in Tuli.

It's strange; I always thought that university was a place where you could pursue subjects and courses that you were interested in and passionate about. My on-going battle with SOLUS is teaching me that that might have only been the idealistic dream of a young girl.

1 comment:

  1. Funny how its a western thing that has led to your biggest frustration....and here we are always trying to tell other cultures their business and we have a lot to get straight. Good luck with it and glad you are now a full time student again. Moo (not anon)