Thursday’s List: Important Documents

Teach Away tells us that we’re to take our authenticated documents (the cause of much hair-pulling, sleep-losing stress for many folks) with us when we head to the Emirates in August.  They also tell us to take original documents, because the originals will be needed, which makes me wonder why we go through all the hassle of authenticating anything, really.  But I’m sure there’s a reason, even if it’s just making money for the various agencies the documents must go through.  In my case, the list of documents to take looks like this:

1) Authenticated teaching certificate

2) Authenticated Master’s degree

3) Authenticated original marriage certificate

4) Original teaching certificate

5) Original Master’s degree

6) Original marriage certificate

7) Letter from Board of Education stating that I did, in fact, work for the school I claim to have worked for

Besides these documents, I am to take a bunch of passport sized photos which will be used for a variety of things in the UAE.

8) At least eight passport sized photos

So I’ll put all these things in a heavy cardboard envelope and carry them with me.  But let’s stop and talk about item number 5 for a moment.  The Master’s degree.  What a minor pain.  See, it’s hanging on my office wall. Hanging there in a nice frame, I might add, professionally matted, quite costly.  It looks nice.  And I really don’t want to take the backing off and dismantle the frame in order to take it out.

Now I have a funny story about my other degree–my BA from Emmanuel College.  It’s also framed and hanging on the wall, and looks very nice, too.  It says, among other things, that I “satisfactorily completed the course of study….Summa Cum Laude.”  The funny part is that EC actually had a typo in a number of diplomas.  Mine was one of them.  Shortly after receiving it, a buddy of mine named Mike asked me if I found the problem with it.  I scanned it, seeing nothing.  “Really?” He said. “You’re an English major.  I figured you’d spot it right away.”  He pointed to the word “satisfactorily.”  Only then did I notice that the word was missing a letter.  According to my degree, and his, and probably everyone else’s, I’d “satifactorily completed” my course work.  He was on the way to get the registrar to reprint his degree without any spelling mistakes.  I joined him.  The registrar was and is a wonderful, sweet woman, and she was very apologetic, and murmured something about how many of these had been printed that way.  Right after Mike had his reprinted, she stuck a piece of classy looking paper in the printer, ran off a new diploma with the spelling fixed, affixed a couple of snazzy golden stickers to it, and handed it to me.  “Do you want to keep the old one?” She said.  I grinned.  “Sure,” I said.  I’ve still got the old one, and I get a grin out of it whenever I open up the filing cabinet and come across it.  Now, this story is made funnier when I tell you that I graduated Magna Cum Laude, with a 3.9 average.  I missed Summa by a hair.  It wasn’t until I returned home that I noticed my new corrected diploma indicated a higher degree of honor than I actually obtained.  More laughing.  Maybe Mike was a better student than I was, and he’d graduated Summa, and the lady forgot to change that when she printed mine.  I don’t know.  Anyway, “I’m not going to go back and have her fix this,” I told my mom. “Who’s going to worry about it?”  To this day, hardly anyone has even commented that it says Summa Cum Laude in the first place.  Everything is spelled properly, anyway.

So bearing in mind my EC experience with the ease of printing a new diploma, I figured I’d contact Piedmont College and ask whether I could obtain a replacement diploma.  I got a friendly girl named Megan when I called the registrar’s office yesterday.

“I’m moving to the middle east to work, and they need me to take my original diploma,” I explained.

“Did you lose yours, or was it destroyed somehow?” She asked.

“Actually, heh, it’s hanging on my office wall in a frame that cost a hundred and some-odd dollars,” I told her.  “I really don’t want to take it out, so I thought I might just get another one, if that’s even possible.”  I know it’s possible, and I know, based on my EC experience, that it takes about two minutes.  Actually, considering that my PC diploma is rather plain next to the EC one (no stickers!), it might take even less time than that.  But I don’t know how willing colleges are to do this simple task for folks who didn’t have theirs printed with a mistake, or perhaps burned in a house fire, or eaten by somebody doing bath salts.

“Let me go talk to the registrar and see what we can do,” she said, obligingly.  In a moment she was back on the line.  “We can print you a new one.  What you’ll have to do is send a letter explaining why you need it, with your signature.  And,” she paused, then continued apologetically, “Include a check for a hundred dollars.”

I laughed and she did, too.

“That’s about what I paid for the framing,” I said.

“I know,” she replied.

“Let me talk to the wife and we’ll figure out what to do,” I told her. “Thanks for your help.”

$100?  Really?  Guess we can’t have people running around with too many duplicate copies of their degrees, now, can we?  Maybe I’d be willing to cough up $50 or so, just to avoid the hassle of tearing the framed one out and having to re-frame it later.  But $100? Heck, a hundred bucks isn’t that much compared to tuition (not by a long shot!).  But it seems like rather a lot for a piece of paper that doesn’t even have the snazzy golden seals that my EC diploma has.

Oh, well.  The wife and I agree: let’s see if we can get the one on the wall out of the frame.


7 thoughts on “Thursday’s List: Important Documents

  1. ADEC has only asked me for my transcripts, not my original diploma. I hope they do not ask for my original BA diploma because I have no idea where it is.. What is strange is that they have not asked for my MLIS transcripts or diploma and I will be working as a librarian. I am supposed to start in January and was recruited by Footprints Recruiting. I had the interview in DC on Nov. 15, received the initial offer Nov. 23, have sent in all the documents they asked for and am now waiting for my official offer. Did you wait until you got the official offer to start certifying your documents? Footprints has not told me to start that yet. I have no idea how they can expect me to start in January..


  2. I must add what happened after getting to the Emirates with my original documents: nothing. Although I frequently had to turn in copies of the same things, to the tune of at least once a year (sometimes three times), so that I wondered what they were doing with the numerous copies they already had, I never actually needed my originals. There was only one time when they asked if I had the originals, and I replied, “Not with me,” because I hadn’t bothered to bring the original from my apartment. The guy collecting the documents just shrugged, said, “Ok,” and moved along. I could have left the MAT in its frame. But, to be fair, I haven’t spent more than 3 months in the USA in 3 years, and the frame the thing hung in is in a closet. All in all, it doesn’t matter either way that I took the diploma, does it?


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