I recently began a document on how to study abroad. Since this process has been one giant headache from almost the very beginning, I figured that others who follow me wouldn’t have to deal with such shenanigans. This, indeed, will be a key point in my document. How to deal with hysterical parents, a 30-hour long shift at work, a flight to a city you’ve never visited and a sick cousin who was supposed to house you while you’re IN said city.

When you apply for a Visa to study abroad long-term (more than 3 months), there is a form that needs notarization and proof when one travels to the Embassy to receive the Visa. Quite frankly, it’s complete stupidity, but we’ll pretend I didn’t just admit that. Because the students interested in study abroad are clearly in Middle School and have no responsibility of their own, the parental figures of said students need to prove that they have money to pay the university if and when the student’s meager resources run out (thanks, in part, to $500.00 physiology textbooks from sophomore year).

But, you see, the hell-breaking-loose part comes when you tell your parents that you need a copy of their banking statement or something proving that they have the money that the embassy needs to see and say, “Okay, great. I see you’re a rich American.”

So in the nick of time, we’re assuming, the Parental Units Involved (PUI) make unnecessary calls to 1) the Business Office at UND, 2) the International Center, 3) the French Embassy and 4) You. Nobody has any idea what you’re supposed to do about said form.

You, however, want to take the form and use it for compost because that’s about how frustrating it is at the moment.

In the meantime, the fantastic cousin that you’re supposed to be staying with is sick, in MEXICO, with some awful gastro-intestinal something-or-other. She’s not going to actually BE in Chicago when you’re in Chicago. Fabulous. So there goes Plan A. Well, as fate would have it, Plan B is sick with something too. Plan C is a hotel, downtown, and your pocketbook will not allow such frivolity.

A park bench is looking appealing. Your packet of information regarding every personal document known to mankind about you in particular is getting really heavy and you’d like to hurl it over the observation deck of the Sears Tower.

And that 30 something hour shift at work? Oh yes, throw one of those on top of all this, and you have the full-blown melt-down of one French Study Abroad Super Senior.