11 September 2006

Generally Redundant Examination

So on Wednesday I woke up at 05:00 so that I may beat the traffic to Johannesburg. I left the house at roughly 05:45 and headed out to the highway in the dark. There was already traffic on the highway. Lots of it. I shall never understand how people can live in one city and then work in another. People driving in to Johannesburg from Pretoria. People driving in to Durban from Pietermaritzburg. People everywhere in their cars. But not driving, really. Because it's more like waiting. I arrived in Parktown at 07:15. That's an average speed of 40 kph. So much for all the signs prohibitng speeds in excess of 100 kph - there's just not enough room on the N1 to attain it. I listened to Zero 7's In The Waiting Line whilst stuck somewhere in Midrand. How appropriate. I cannot imagine doing this every day. I wouldn't do it and I respect all of you who daily commute between home and work. The lab is about 15 kilometres from my home, and travelling that distance every morning frustrates me to no end.

Empire Road is the home of the Thomson Prometric office, where I had to take a GRE test. The GRE test being one of the requirements of the Fulbright Commission, even though I have a BSc(Hons) degree in the field of molecular biology and will hopefully have an MSc degree soon, too. Luckily the Fulbright people at the US Embassy gave me a voucher, so I got to take the test for free. This test measures your language and basic mathematical skills. In the end I felt like I had driven 120 kilometres and spent a whole day proving something that I felt could be ascertained by reviewing my tertiary education history. What a waste. We are all slaves to bureaucracy and there's nothing we can do about it. Or is there?


arcadia said...

'n fulbright scholarship! respect. sylvia plath is cambridge toe met 'n fulbright. sterkte - ek hou duim vas!

Lexi said...

wow......hope it all works out well

Triggermap said...

wow. good luck:) From reading your blog, I'm sure you had no problem nailing it.

The GRE's aren't meant to test how well you can do all that but rather how you compare to the average applicant/ test taker - its a hmmm.... standardisation test (but you must spell it standardization, haha). Guess you gonna have to write TOEFL as well?

twanji said...

From what I hear u r fantastic, so good luck - u know u've got it!
The traffic situation is terrible, that's why I love living in Cape Town, even with traffic you're always at most 30 minutes away from everything.

mike said...

Driving through cities is hectic and frustrating, I know what you mean. I was stuck in traffic this morning, but I don't Durban's is anything compared to Johannesburg's!

Anonymous said...

was that the second language proficiency test you took?

Empire Road is a horror - the horror of all horrors, rivalled only by the Allandale off-ramp in Midrand. Ugh.... I hate the drive too.

Unknown said...

arcadia & lexi:
Thanks! This is a big step for me.

Yeah, I've already done the TOEFL thing, which went very well. But I've now been told that I have to do the GRE Subject Test for biochemistry and cell biology as well. It never ends...

Cape Town is great, but maybe a little squashed against the sea - it looks like everybody needs to squeeze in during the day and then evacuate en masse after work. Is this true?

I hate traffic, period. I think it stems from my anti-'herd mentality' mentality. If everybody is doing something for no apparent reason, I'm sure there's something wrong there. And all Joburg roads seem to lead directly to Hillbrow.

karen little:
It looks like all of the news footage I've ever seen of highways around Los Angeles: eight lanes, filled to the brim with stationary vehicles. Maybe we should all buy mopeds instead?

gm said...

Fulbright! Baie geluk en eindelose respek. En hey, die beste toetse is die waar jy weet jy't dit ge-ace.

~d said...

Oh man, oh man, oh man! I wish I had a geographical VISUAL for where you are talking about! Would you mind giving me some large ummm, reference points? You know?

**abt the GRE, when do you get the results?**

Debaser said...

I found the traffic home from JHB quite relaxing. It must have had something to do with the pulsing brake lights...

Unknown said...

Ek sal nou nie sĂȘ ek dink ek het dit ge-ace nie - van daardie wiskunde is al 'n bietjie rusty.

Get a map/globe. Locate Africa (it's the continent shaped like an upside-down triangle, but NOT the one under the USA). Look at the southern tip of it. Find a giant metropolis named Johannesburg and a smaller dot next to it called Pretoria (which is actually the nation's capital). Have fun dreaming about exotic traffic jams. Oh, and the results take something like 4-6 weeks to arrive.