Two weeks ago, my classmates and I received an e-mail informing us that there would be a mandatory meeting taking place this morning. The agenda of this meeting was later sent: we were going to get information on the ‘mémoire’ we are supposed to write next semester, along with some infos on the different classes we could choose to take, etc. To be totally honest, I was very excited about the meeting because I missed all the ones that took place at the beginning of the school year!
Still, we had a pretty bad snow storm taking over Lyon over the past couple of days so I was not able to bike to campus like I usually do because the roads have not been cleaned and it simply did not feel very safe. So I took the subway but then, there was no tramway to take me to my final destination so I had to walk. It was not much of a walk really, but just enough to make me show up about 10 minutes late to the meeting. Turns out, it was pretty much over by the time I got there… The head of the department had already explained that the other person that was supposed to lead the meeting was not coming because there were no train to take her into Lyon. Since she only works on Thursdays, the meeting would be postponed to next week.
She did not seem to have much to say herself so she went on to talk a bit more about the diploma, explaining that it was created as a way to give access to grad school to the undergrad students who could not keep up with two foreign languages. She explained that it had to be funded by the university but that since there was no money, they had not been able to offer really good classes and that we really should not be expecting to be able to work at the end of the school year and that we should most definitely do another year of grad school. In so many words, she was totally looking and beating down on the diploma that she was responsible for and she was very unprofessional about it, having very few answers to the questions that were being asked. Right there and then, she even improvised a date for us to turn in our ‘memoire.’ First she mentioned mid-april but then she said it would be a lot of work for one professor to correct seven 15-pages papers so the deadline should probably be March 31st. It was obvious that all of us were in shock… We had pretty much been told that our diploma really was not what it was advertised to be and that it was really meant for students who could not keep up with the regular curriculum.
Nonetheless, it was a bit too obvious to me that she was too much of a French cliché: an unenthusiastic pessimist with a can’t do attitude! I really hate it when I am confronted with those kind of situations because I try so hard to convince myself that the cliché is not real or true and that I really need to be as non-judgmental as possible. Still, that was pretty disappointing! Yet, as far as I am concerned, I am not really going to let it get me down. I am getting a Diploma in Translation and I will make it a really good diploma to have. I just hope that they won’t go public with the kind of information they gave us this morning and make the diploma meaningless on the job market!