14 septembre, 2007
Step 1 of 3 on the journey to my CDS acquisition
So, I have both good and bad news. But, I will get to that soon. In the meantime, I will share my experience as a student for the first time in a few years.
I had arranged to head to the Pref(what the cool kids call it) around 14h with roomie as she was nice enough to offer and I was distressed enough to eagerly accept. I had my first day of classes this morning from 9-12 actually 9-12:30, well, because it's France. That was a long morning, let me tell you. I ended up with the teacher that is apparently less preferred by the students, to put it nicely. Her teaching style involves randomly calling on people in the class and she is CONSTANTLY asking questions. I managed to avoid this phenomenon by taking notes like a crazy woman almost the entire class(my hand is not used to all that writing and it hurrrrts!) She didn't call names from the roster, but by asking a question and then saying what do you think, toi? You had to be paying attention at every single moment and I was writing my hand off and trying to formulate answers to her constant questions and I swear I had a huge headache by the end of class. I was so glad to be out of there! She said our contrat as students meant we were obligated to interact. This statement makes me nervous. I am beyond shy in front of groups of people and just add in the fact that it's in French and I'm the only American who would prefer to remain anonymous for now, well, I nearly had a crise cardiaque.
I luckily should only be exposed to this stress once a week, 18 more times(I counted!), so I'll be keeping that in mind each class whilst thinking don't call on me, don't call on me, don't call on me! I do get to work with the other teacher who I don't have as my group teacher, so I'm happy about that. I also learned of all the books I have to buy(barf), the conference that I will have to attend several times and the modules that I could sign up for if I wanted. I won't give my full opinion just yet on the methods of forming teachers here in France until I spend more time as a student and can fully judge, but let's just say that today only confirmed what I thought before and I think those of you who have either been a teacher or are knowledgeable about the system here will have an idea what I'm thinking.
So, after class was done, I rushed home to check email and have some lunch before leaving to meet roomie to go to the Pref. Well, I got a call from roomie. She won't be able to get out of work at 14h as planned, so I decided I should prob just head to the Pref myself anyway, grab a number and wait for her. I get to the Pref around 14h15 knowing that it closes at 16h, but I thought it should be fine, it's not Monday afterall when everyone goes. Boy, was I wrong! The girl in front of me at the ticket machine made the discovery for me that the machine was not working. Upon talking to the pleasant(lie) woman at the accueil , we learned that the service to the foreigners was closed. There were too many people. What the BLEEP?(Sorry, the Pref brings out the swearer in me and that was OF COURSE in my head that I said that.) So, the girl in front of me left and I headed to the guichet area not yet decided as to what to do. Not that many people, actually, and who was working at the main window, but the nice lady! Oh mannnn. It was destiny as she was the only one who told me it would be fine to change CDS and I felt, in the moment, that she was my only chance.
I went outside to call roomie who had not yet arrived and told her the sitch and, despite the fact that destiny was sitting only a guichet away, I hesitated. I explained that sometimes people take more than one ticket and will give you theirs when they leave. (Moral sidenote: I normally would never take someone's better number to be ahead of someone else if I already had one as I find this unfair, but since the machine was giving no more numbers and there weren't enough people that I would ever prevent someone from making it to the window, I thought this would be ok.) I also told her that they might re-open the machine to the public and it could be worth waiting to see. So, roomie said she would be there in 5. I took a seat far away from the mean lady who was working the second window and had been at the Pref yesterday to witness tearfest 2007 and waited for the ticketed people to be done.
Roomie meandered in 15 mins later in true roomie style and we waited...and we waited. Slowly, but surely the ticketed people were clearing out. There was a girl across from us who was waiting sans ticket as well and 3 people who had tickets that the number had already passed. Well, one of those people went up to mean lady when the next number was called saying he had been waiting since 12 and stepped out and his number must have been called. (Moral sidenote2: if that were me, I would have never left...gotta know the ways of the Pref!) Mean lady refused to let him stay. This prompted his friend to check out the ticket situation. THANK GOODNESS for that! When I noticed friend came back with two tickets and I saw that the numbers were way later than what we were on now, I practically sprinted to the ticket machine. Ca y est, c'est bon! I got myself a ticket and there were only 2 people in front of me. But, it was 15h30 by that point, the question remained, would we actually make it in? There were of course people there to drop off documents, ask questions and the worst of them all, the CDS picker-uppers that were eating up all the time. With 15 minutes to go, I was one number away. [Insert horrendously unpleasant beeping sound here] 596 was called...it's my turn!
Even though it's nice lady, I am nervous beyond belief. I give her a big smile and a friendly bonjour and say I am there to renew as a student. I first hand over my passport and student card to avoid an automatic "no" once she sees my CDS is an assistant one and patiently wait. She asks for the CDS. Moment of truth, is this going to work? I hand it to her and she says nothing! Phew, in the clear. I then hand over my justificatif de domicile and my justificatif de ressources. She takes one look at the JD and asks if I have a quittance de loyer. Yes, of course, Madame. It's looking good. She gets to the JR and this is where the bad comes into play. What I have provided is not enough. I get ready to argue my point and somehow, magically, she just says ben, je vais vous donner le recepisse quand-meme. HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH! What I came for, baby! However, the bad is that I a)will have to come back with a complementary justificatif de ressources and b)she also takes a second look at my CDS and sees that I was an assistant. I don't know what to say. No, I'm a student. Yes, I'm an assistant. So, I settle on: Yes, I WAS an assistant, but I am now a student. Unfortunately, she decides to note this on my dossier saying that it will be a voir because she doesn't know if I am technically allowed and she also notes that I will need a complementary document for the JD.
And now for the good news...I GOT MY RECEPISSE!!!!!! Which, btw, it was kinda dumb on her part if she wasn't sure if I was allowed to have it, but not like I care! Step 2 will be providing an adequate JD which should be doable. Step 3 would be going to the Pref, convocation in hand, to obtain my CDS...fingers crossed! My major worry is that between either Step 1 and Step 2 or Step 2 and Step 3, someone will look at my dossier and say that it is pas possible. Like one of those two Prefecture B*****s, for instance. I am just going to focus on the fact that I have to get my proof of income and that I have three months extra time than I did yesterday. It's gonna be baby steps, folks, but I definitely feel a lot better moving onto Step 2 as Step 1 proved to be such an enormous hurdle. Any advice from those that have had to provide proof of income to the Prefecture as to what to give them? Besides a coup de boule? Haha, just kidding!