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Why I Might Need To Pay 1000 Euros For A Copy Of My Highschool Diploma | A University Shit Storm | Storytime

So, I’m an idiot. Okay, so some of you might know that I’m finally going to start my studies in September this year. It took me so long to figure out what I want to study, but I finally made that decision and started what I figured would be a long process. Boy, oh boy, was I right. It’s been…let’s just say an interesting process. As in, super-stressful-please-someone-else-take-the-reins process.

Somewhere last year August, I had my Ah-ha moment and realized I wanted to be a nurse. I then went back and forth on this for a total of four months. My problem was that yes nursing ticks off all the boxes, something felt missing. My husband then had a brilliant idea to look into specializations I could possibly explore once I’m a nurse and that’s when it just clicked for me. My job title when I’m all grown up is going to be a Research Physician Assistant. It’s a real mouthful but your girl can’t wait. I’m so incredibly excited to start my studies. It was something I never in a million years dreamt was even a possibility for me. Yes, I’m terrified. It’s going to be a new and scary experience. It also doesn’t help that it’s going to be all in Dutch and I’m a bit older than the average student when starting their bachelors. I’m quite obviously going to have a steep learning curve…but before I even get to that I need to jump over one of the biggest hurdles ever. I need to get in.

So, as you can imagine, the amount of paperwork that I need to enroll in a Dutch university/college is insane. We had to take my good old South African Highschool Diploma and have it verified and compared to the standards of education here. We basically just had to pay a company to have an official certificate that says I meet all the requirements. It took a bit back and forth to get the application filled out and then we had to wait a few months. Once we had this document, I then just had to complete my one last language test (something I needed to do for my immigration anyway). I then enrolled into my top choice. That’s actually a funny story. While working in the garden, I pondered if the open day would be canceled because of the coronavirus (it was) and if I should just check if I can enroll and start the application process. I went upstairs a few hours later, and before I knew it, I had enrolled and I now needed to fill in my application. I had a mild freak out moment, as in my heart raced, I felt a bit dizzy and lightheaded, I broke out into cold sweats and I started to hyperventilate. Like I said, a “mild” freak out moment. Luckily, Onno was there to bring me back and help me slowly fill in the applications. We send through everything, quite confident that we were more than well prepared and gave them everything they possibly could need…

Spoiler alert: it didn’t go so well. They came back to us in a few days and rejected two incredibly important things. My language certificate (basically proof that says my Dutch is at a level where I can study here) and my Highschool Diploma. As back then our sweet little innocent souls thought we did everything right, we emailed them and asked for more information.

They needed my official Highschool Diploma and a specific diploma for the language part. We then responded with multiple links, screenshots, and documents that showed that my Highschool Diploma was indeed the official one for that year (they kept referring to a one with a blue border – this fact is important to keep in the back of your head) and explained that I was still waiting for the Immigration place to send me my last certificate. I had an appointment to pick it up in early April, but this too was canceled because you know, the coronavirus. Anyway, we were able to send in the certificates we had for my language diploma. We then sat back and hoped for the best.

A week later, they came back to us…with well sucky news. Let’s start with the good news, they accepted the language certificates I have and said that as soon as I get my last certificate in the mail, then I meet that requirement. I basically don’t need to wait for the diploma (you basically have to hand in all the certificates you get when you pass the four language exams and get a diploma). But then…they stressed that they need the official South African Highschool Diploma, specifically the one with the blue border. I then proceeded to have another freakout moment and launched into a really good rant. I whipped out my pirate curse word book and really blew off some steam. I then, quite confident in myself, messaged a few friends and asked them what Highschool diploma they had. The green one (the one I have) or the blue one (the one they want or I can’t get in). And then my bubble burst and it’s been a hopeless shit storm without any clear answers a week later. So, basically my dumbass got it all wrong. The certificate I have, the one I always believed was the official one…well it’s not the official certificate. So, it turns out the certificate with the blue border is the official Highschool Diploma that the graduates had to pick up a few months later. In my defense, at that stage, I was already abroad and NO ONE FUCKING TOLD ME ABOUT IT.

So, what’s the big deal? Just apply for a new one? Well, sit the fuck down because this is going to get so much worse. One of the first things I did when I discovered that I didn’t have the right certificate, is to contact my old Highschool. I doubt I will get a response while we’re in lockdown but as it’s been over five years, there is an incredibly slim chance they still have it. My one friend said her school kept it for five years while my friend who went the same Highschool than dummy over here said she thinks our school only kept it for six months. So, most likely my certificate is with the department of education. Which, trust me, isn’t the best news. I have emailed them to explain my situation, but got back an automatic response that said their department is closed during the duration of the lockdown which is the best fucking news ever. You see, the normal procedure for them to re-issue this certificate isn’t exactly in my favor. One of the very first fucking steps I need to take is, get an affidavit (basically a fancy letter/statement that says you lost the original copy) at a SOUTH AFRICAN police station which is a big fucking problem considering I don’t live in South Africa. So, that’s fun.

Three things can happen now.

  • The Department of Education will get back to me and either make my life super easy or super hard. As I never received the certificate (so I couldn’t possibly lose it), they hopefully have this in their system and can then send me a digital copy of it. I can even arrange for someone to pick it up for me. Or, they can swing to the hard side of things and tell me that my only option is to go through the normal procedure which again isn’t the best option to have. I really hope if it comes to that, the South African embassy here will be able to help me. I doubt it.
  • I can hopefully make some type of arrangement with my university/college where they accept the current certificate, (it does state that I meet all the requirements and it has my marks so it should be good enough for now) if I fly down to South Africa, in the October holiday, to start the process. Fuck me, it’s going to be an expensive certificate. 1000 euros give or take…definitely take. The plane ticket alone is 600 euros. Fuck me sideways.
  • Worst case scenario: the university/college can’t accept me until I have this certificate. I will then have to postpone my studies with six months. Yeah, six months in the grand scheme of things is nothing…but I really put my heart into me starting now in September. I would still be forced to fly down to South Africa to apply for the certificate, which we really didn’t plan for.

So yeah, the best news all around. And guess who send a super witty response back to the university after their email…this dumbass! I basically, in a nutshell, asked if we could arrange a digital meeting as there seems to be a misunderstanding. I was fucking convinced that they had their facts wrong and couldn’t fucking spend two seconds to look into shit. Like I legit thought that they just changed the look of the certificate from the green to the blue border after I had graduated. I was getting so frustrated because they kept mentioning this blue fucking border certificate that I DO NOT HAVE and we were getting nowhere. Turns out that I’m an idiot and this is going to be a nightmare. FML. If I sound sour it’s because I am. It’s hard not to be. All my fellow South Africans will know how much of a bitch it is to get any official documents done.

I will keep you guys updated as I’m pretty sure that this whole experience is going to make a funny storytime when I’m done. Like, not for me, but it should be entertaining for you all. Bath in my misery. All jokes aside, I do find this entire situation slightly funny. I’m just going to keep telling myself that if that’s okay with you all. It’s just something that would happen to me, ya know? That’s just how life has been treating me these past few years. Anyway, I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy throughout this scary time.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

End Note

PS I finally committed to a solid new plan for my website. I now just want to tweak the new system a little bit and work on the content. I will attempt to launch Plan B and have the new system up and running by the end of April. Fuck, it’s going to be so much admin work. Ew.

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