Monday, March 31, 2008

Arghhh, you can shove your hoops!

This is the last day of my work contract. Through work, I've had access to full-text articles and other such resources that help me to work on my master's thesis, not to mention various regular class projects. Since I'm not done with my thesis yet, I asked if it would be possible to continue to keep an account there to finish all my master's work.

They told me that it is possible through some sort of "non-paid contract" and I provided documents for this. Then, just before the long Easter weekend, the secretary emailed to tell me that in fact the "non-paid contract" isn't possible unless I'm registered as a student. Although I am indeed a student, I am not registered through the university as such. It costs money and isn't required by my program. Well, she wanted me to be registered within two days.

I contacted Mainz and was told it takes weeks to register, but they would send me the forms by mail. I told the secretary about this problem and she said I might as well just register in Heidelberg instead, and the cost would be around 100 EUR. Then we all left on our respective vacations.

When I returned I tried to get things in motion to register in Heidelberg, but I was apparently confused about what is necessary. How can I register at a university where I'm not studying? I tried finding out some information, but was sent in a giant circle from one phone number at the university to another. Finally, the secretary's vacation-time replacement helped me, and it looked like things might be working out. It was all going to be finalized this week.

Today I got an email from the secretary informing me that the cost to register here in Heidelberg will actually be nearly 600 EUR for one semester. This is outright impossible. I just don't have the money and to save that much, I'd settle for getting friends to help me find full-text articles and whatever else I need. Also, having the "non-paid contract" still means I'd have to give the secretary a time schedule of when I will be in and out, when really I wasn't planning on having a schedule, just coming in when I need some articles!

So, I'm back to trying with Mainz, as my deadline for getting it done has been slightly extended and I might still be able to pull it off. I know it was much less than 500 EUR when I registered there my first semester. I emailed them with some questions and received the following email in response:
This e-mail was sent from an unmonitored e-mail-address and we are
unable to respond to any replies without the following subjects-fields in
your e-mail.

Your questions about the application process for international
applicants at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz can only be answered if
you use one of the following 5-digit words (for example ZUL-D) in the
subject field of your e-mail:

if you require information in German

if you require information in English

if you have already read our information and have further questions

if you want an appointment.
Please indicate favorite day and if you prefer morning or afternoon

if you require information about PhD-programmes
What the hell!? What next!? All this just to have access to scientific journals. I have my own computer, I have SAS and Excel and Word and internet access, all I need is access to journals....


  1. The modern form of, 'Press 1 for this, 2 for That or 3 for The Other.' Could it be due to the fact that they get they get many for this info?

  2. I emailed you... Hopefully this helps!

    : )

  3. Dear Heidelbergerin,
    actually I do not recall exactly how I came to read your blog (via a blog of a friend or so...), but I have been reading in secret for a while (my apologies for that) and decided to "delurk" (me being a German Ph.D. student in statistics at a research institute in the North of Germany and I like Heidelberg).
    Why don't you just become a member of the university library of Heidelberg? Not officially being a student you might have to pay a yearly fee (but that should not be as expensive as registering as a (guest?) student) and you can make use of the university's online journal access (probably only from their computers, but anyway).

  4. J: After I used the code, they sent me back an email so generic, it got filed in my Spam folder. I don't know why they can't have a human vet the emails! It's frustrating.

    Michelle: Thanks, I will check out what you sent!!

    Sabine: Stats, very cool! Thanks for the library member idea; I didn't know that was possible! I will check that out too.

  5. Always remember, you have a friend who is a librarian... I seem to have quite the sideline going helping people get copies of articles and such for research, so feel free to add yourself to the list :)


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