I find it difficult to believe that the long and frustrating saga of my thesis is not over yet, but that is the case. My deadline for having my bound copy, plus associated paperwork, to the university is today.

So last week I was feeling rather virtuous, as I had had 2 copies bound, had taken them to the Post Office and sent them off registered post, a week ahead of the deadline. It is more expensive but I couldn’t tolerate the thought of anything else going wrong. I had been unable to find out where I should send it, but the academic administrator at my theological college, who also did not know, told me to send them to her and she would sort it out for me.

When I got home from posting the packages, there was a letter waiting from the uni. It told me about my deadline, and gave me the missing piece of information – where to send the thesis.

Knowing the abysmal nature of my college’s admin, I then sent 2 emails. One was to the academic administrator, telling her I had sent the thesis, asking her to confirm with me when she had received it, giving her the information from the letter, telling her about the deadline, and thanking her for her help. I sent a similar letter to my tutor’s secretary, asking her to keep an eye on it for me.

The theses should have arrived by lunchtime last Thursday. I heard nothing on Thursday, Friday or Monday.

Yesterday, feeling very uneasy, I contacted the uni. Had they received my thesis? No, I was told … panic[1]

I phoned my college’s acad administrator. Yes, she said vaguely, she thought she probably had received it. No, she had not seen my email (that doesn’t mean that she hadn’t received it. It means she hadn’t read it). Why did the university need a bound copy of my thesis? Why was there a deadline? None of this was necessary! And in any case, she had told me that she didn’t know where to send it. I reminded her that she had also told me that she would find out.

I read out the uni letter to her, repeating what I had said in the email. Muttering that she couldn’t see the point, I could hear her rustling about. I told her the address. She said she would put it in the post that evening.

I asked her if she could guarantee it arriving at the uni by today, the deadline. She said coolly that she couldn’t see why not. There was a long pause, while I selected and discarded a great many comments. As she is responsible for the possibility of my not being able to graduate, I waited to see if she would offer an apology. She didn’t. Eventually, she put the phone down.

I phoned the nice helpful postgrad uni administrator again and told him what had happened. He went to his boss, who said that, because my thesis had arrived at my college by the deadline, I would be allowed to graduate. But he would get in touch with my college, and phone me in the morning.

Which is exactly what he did this morning – twice, following up with 2 emails. I asked his advice about the possibility of my making a formal complaint. He gave me a contact name and number.

My heart rate is now slowing down, and I’m left asking, why can some people do their jobs, and not others?


34 thoughts on “UP TO THE WIRE

  1. Oh Gilly how utterly hair-tearing for you – all that incompetence but thank goodness the sensible young man prevailed….. How amazing that you have had to put up with such incompetence and so much stressy weirdness…… Have to say I did a one year little long distance learning course and several of the people didn’t get their final essays back or anything for months and had all this frustration….. whereas I phoned up and was lucky enough to get mine back fairly quickly… Theirs had actually been completely lost for months…. and they were so frustrated and fed up…. WHY some people have to be put through the mill….. :no: just pot luck who happens to get the post at their end isn’t it? :no:

    Anyway… all sorted now!! πŸ˜€


    1. :yes: am still wondering whether to take it further and complain … I don’t like the thought of doing it but if I do, it might make things better for others in the future? πŸ™„


      1. Might be worth it once you’ve safely got all your stuff done and dusted and are out of it…. ? Can you find out if anybody else on your course suffered similarly? It is ghastly having to make a fuss though isn’t it :no:

        You ring up and talk to top honcho and just calmly speak your truth maaaan….. and know you’ve said it and leave it at that?


      2. The head honcho is on sabbatical … but I’m thinking I might email my tutor who is also the principal, on the grounds that I need to be sure the other copy makes it into the college library … and doesn’t sit on said administrator’s desk for evermore! Oh dear, I feel horrible just thinking about it.


      3. Does sound the last thing you need to be doing after all the hurdles you have had to nimbly leap over to get your thesis all bound and done and dusted – I should think you have had enough of it :no:

        Interesting that your thesis and its subject-matter gets mislaid…. the old Devil clearly doesn’t like the idea of anybody being co-operative or encouraging anybody else to be etc 😦


  2. So glad yougot it sorted after all the work you put into it. Gosh, just think if you had not chased it up.

    Going to have a ‘virtual’ glass of bubbly when you graduate.

    P xx


  3. Horrendous! It is not for the woman in admin to question why, hers is to do as asked and follow through requirements. Incompetent, arrogant individual.

    I ended up putting in a formal complaint, as my graduation was being frustrated because people had not done their jobs…let alone followed through a mutually agreed contract in the departmental student handbook. It got the matter sped along at a rate of fast knots. The Registry even found me a seat in the graduation hall together with the PhD’s! I reckon this was the Registry staff’s way of giving me a particularly positive message. Colleagues from my course were two rows back, and I saw I could have been slotted in near them. My two guests didn’t do quite as well. They should have been entitled to better visitor seats, but the totally impossible could not be done.

    It is totally unacceptable, and if you still feel you could complain, it may be worthwhile, both for you and future students. After all, you are the customer and I guess you did not undergo all your efforts free-of-charge of university fees.

    Undergrads, a decade or so ago, protested at the lack of tuition and support they were receiving at Dundee University. Many of them, (a large proportion were from overseas) were paying full fees and even those supported by UK educational funds had every right to expect better. If you are treated indifferently in a shop, as a customer, you walk out and take your business elsewhere. It is difficult for a student to take business elsewhere, but as a customer, you have every right to expect a decent and acceptable level of service and the only way to do that is to complain and/or protest.


    1. Thanks for this, Menhir. The Postgrad administrator at the uni gave me the name of the person who oversees exam process, and I am planning to get in touch with her tomorrow. I am not optimistic about things at my college improving, until the excellent Director of Research returns from his year’s sabbatical. But the behaviour of the acad admin beggars belief. If she had apologised I would have accepted it. If she had promised to ensure the thesis got to the uni on time, I would have been prepared to overlook it. But as she was determined to do neither, it leaves a very unpleasant taste in the mouth.


  4. Oh Gilly I can understand your complete and utter frustration……this is the sort of thing that can drive anyone to the brink! Hopefully all will be well,and by Friday you and Hub can have a celabratory glass of wine:)x


    1. Thanks, Lilian. The postgrad person at the uni has not only been really efficient, he’s also been friendly and concerned. It makes you realise what should happen!


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