Those of you who are friends with me on facebook will probably have thought that my status updates for the last little while are really quite whingey, and if you're not from New Zealand, you probably won't have a clue what I'm complaining about. "Allie wonders if Studylink was set up simply to distract students from their study." "Allie should be awarded a diploma in negotiating with government and university departments over a long period of time and managing to stay calm." I've joined a facebook group that is called: "Dealing with Studylink is more challenging than my degree."
Those who have to live with me have also noticed a peculiar level of aggression in their flatmate. I emerge from my room at odd times, knock on their door, and proceed to tell them everything that has managed to go wrong with my enrolment, and now with my Studylink applications. I make phone calls to Studylink, and after hanging up, start screaming or grinding my teeth in a menacing fashion.
For those lucky readers of this blog who don't have to deal with New Zealand universities or government departments, Studylink is the department of the government that deals with student loans and student allowances. Yes, I get free money from the government for part of my living costs, because my parent earns under a certain threshold. Technically, I should be very thankful to Studylink for providing me with funds, and I am...
And yet, in reality, my student allowance is my legal entitlement. And Studylink have managed to muck up my application in just about every possible way this year.
First of all, my enrolment with the university took a ridiculously long time (not Studylink's fault). The entire History department had to approve my proposal before I could even get enrolled, and once that was approved, my enrolment was lost somewhere in the computer system of the College of Arts. After four or so weeks of waiting (living off my savings and borrowing from my father), the enrolment finally went through. Hooray! Now I can start eating again!
Or so I thought.
First, Studylink claimed that I still wasn't enrolled. Back and forth, back and forth, between the university and Studylink - finally, they admit I am a student.
Second, Studylink claimed that I wasn't a full-time student, and therefore am not entitled to my allowance. [If doing a Masters degree PLUS an undergraduate course in Russian doesn't make you full-time, I don't know what does.] After several phone calls, they told me just to wait, and it would get sorted out in the next few days.
Next, after several more phone calls, they told me I had to make two separate applications for the one student allowance - one application for my Russian course, and one application for my MA. In my second application, I have to send in all the same information again - my father's income, proof of money I'll be receiving - even though I've sent in the exact same information for my other application.
So it looks like I won't be receiving student allowance this week. Seven weeks into the semester, and Studylink + the university have managed to muck up almost every aspect of my enrolment. I am hundreds of dollars in debt because I haven't had the means to pay for my rent/food, and I am stressed and ready to rip my hair out when I should be studying.
When I am a dictator, I am going to reform bureaucracy or just get rid of it altogether. That alone will give me total power because everyone will love me for it.
Sorry about the long whinge. I really needed to get that off my chest.
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