During my time at Marc Garneau, I’ve visited the Student Services office exactly three times. The first was for a course change. Another was to obtain a community hours passport. The final was to return said passport…unsuccessfully.

For those who are unfamiliar, the process of handing in volunteer hours at Marc Garneau is both strenuous and tedious. I’d heard horror stories of friends having had their hours rejected on the basis of its being “non-community work.” That third time I entered Student Services, I was greeted by two rows of unoccupied hard backed seats. Two lovely ladies were seated behind the curved countertop in one corner of the room (I’m told that the one on the left is friendlier). A gaggle of students surrounded them, all vying to put their hours in.

I squeezed myself between two elbows and staked out some space on the countertop. One of the ladies was berating the two girls beside me for not following the stringent hours process.

“It needs to be filled out here, here and here, signed by your immediate supervisor wherever you volunteered, signed by your parents to make sure you did the work, and initialed again over here…” were among the requirements that I overheard. I looked at my own passport: blank, unsigned, and sure to be rejected. Heaving a sigh, I turned my back and left the office, dejected.

I would need to return to the site where I’d volunteered and chase down the ever-absent woman who coordinated student volunteers to sign my documents. Elsewhere, the letters they sent would suffice, but not at Marc Garneau. A year would pass before I remembered the ever-dreaded volunteer hours, and this time, they would come for me, instead of me going to them.

They called for me in fourth-period Astronomy class in grade eleven. Mr. v. Bemmel sent me to the Main Office promptly. There, I was greeted by a charming lady who inquired about my missing hours. I explained to her my dilemma of having to return to the volunteer site.

“Oh, don’t worry about that. We don’t really mind, we just want them in,” she replied amicably.

The next day, I handed her my volunteer letters and my blank hours passport, and went on my merry way. If only every administrative miscommunication could end so pleasantly.