It is likely the case that every invididual has his or her own personal vision of hell. I have recently concluded that mine is the intersection of bureaucracy and academia that is the Russian university. Those of you who have read the previous post understand the origins of this sentiment.
Today I had to enter the fifth circle (reserved for the wrathful and slothful) for a meeting. As hell has not yet frozen over, it is still necessary to check one's coat at the entryway to the large academic building before plunging into the inferno.
I approach the coat check which is marked "For Students Only." No problem, I think to myself. I have my student ID card right here.
"Are you a student?" the woman barks at me.
"Yes," I reply, reaching for my student card.
"It's not necessary. What kind of student are you?"
"I'm a graduate student."
"What level? Have you graduated from here?"
"Are you in the first level or second level?" I'm not really sure what she meant by that.
"I'm in the second level."
"Then you can't check your coat here. You have to go to the other coat check in the next hall over."
Ok, I can understand providing a separate coat check for faculty (which they do). But not allowing graduate students to check their coats where the undergrads do? What possible reason could there be for that? The only logical reason I can think of, which is not logical at all, is the academo-bureaucratic beast's lust for additional layers of regulations and rules. In which case maybe this is the second circle of hell and not the fifth. My fear, of course, is that by the time I leave Russia I will have discovered firsthand that in fact the Russian university embodies all nine circles of hell.