The following piece is a guest post submitted by Winston, a freelance reporter:
With the deadline for applications for RD Merit and Distinction Awards having lapsed, Waffle Press is in a position to confirm several new developments.
We understand that overwhelmed SAC staff, struggling under the weight of stacks of hastily prepared portfolios, took the unusual step of travelling to Mongolia to seek divine intervention from a group known only as “The Committee”.
Committee members we corresponded with collectively insisted on keeping their identities a secret, claiming it was necessary to maintain the fiercely guarded opacity of the award process. They also unanimously complained about further delays to their work when they discovered that the face mask supply of the Institution had been exhausted, and a fresh batch had to be procured from the Council Room
The masks had been necessary to safeguard their health from the dense smoke conjured by large numbers of desperate applicants. Reliable estimates confidently predict two-thirds of the cohort were eligible for the highly exclusive Merit and Distinction awards. The opaque smoke has also created conditions of zero visibility, under which we believe the Committee will have to desperately pretend to read student portfolios while avoiding smoke inhalation.
A Committee member we interviewed told reporters that they had decided to introduce a new High Distinction award. He said (muffled by his bulky face mask) that the award would “further differentiate the brightest students, integrate better the different domains of the Diploma, and reward those who have scaled multiple peaks of excellence”.
In this one stroke, this member proved he was worthy of being part of the Committee. Most evidently, he demonstrated astute mathematical abilities, far exceeding the majority of the cohort, as evidenced by the recent Common Test results. Perhaps of greatest value to the Committee, he showed that he too was capable of conjuring arbitrary nonspecific guidelines with no particular objectives.
His sheer mental and physical stamina, accumulated through climbing several high peaks during his Mongolian expedition, will also prove extremely useful in helping him survive the repetitive, homogeneous portfolios and statements and the low oxygen content of his working environment. These abilities mirror those of some reptilian individuals who are well acclimatized to the frigid heights of Suan Mountain and the incredibly low temperatures of the MPH during exams.
The High Distinction award will only be offered to candidates who exceed Distinction criteria in multiple domains. Its most notable and exclusive perk is a free prescription to have an aspiring oncologist from BioSoc assess the condition of one’s lungs, given the copious amount of smoke students must produce to attain the award. While this betrays a dangerous occupational hazard, investigations unsurprisingly revealed that most students were willing to sacrifice their long term health for short term gain, much to the detriment of society.
Students also seemed blissfully unaware that their pursuit of their latest certificate might occasionally require sinking deeper into the stack of papers they accumulated during their race with their significantly more intelligent rodent counterparts.
This new announcement also implies the politically dangerous prospect of the deprecation of the Little White Books. The books explained in great detail the rigid and multifaceted criteria for the Diploma. We understand that student interest group One Earth had recently expressed concerns about the possible pollutive effects of such wasteful printing.
Additionally, in order to boost the value of the Diploma, certificates will now be printed on gold leaves. Economists from the Bingley Institute believe that such generosity may have been encouraged by the Department of Finance’s internationally renowned Standard & Moor Ratings Agency’s decision to award the Institution an off-the-chart sovereign credit rating of AUAU immediately after the recent Common Tests. This stellar grade provides crystal clear evidence that the Institution is presently in a remarkably healthy fiscal position.
Furthermore, constant devaluation of students’ grades and self-esteem has allowed the Institution to accumulate expanding foreign exchange reserves. Speculators believe the forced abolition of a Siloso-themed getaway contributed significantly to the budget surplus.
Most importantly, since green, black and white are the colours of gold, this announcement also means the Institution will now finally be able to realise its long held aspiration to redefine the electromagnetic spectrum and all definitions of colour, despite the protests of the Department of Physics, to suit the purposes of the omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient Department of Corporate Communications.
It is unclear how students will benefit from this decision as we have not been able to determine how thick the gold leaf certificates will be. What is certain is that the Diplomas shall be rendered highly reflective (demonstrating the supposed depth of introspection reached by students), resistant to decay and unsusceptible to tarnish. The Department of Chemistry was unavailable for comment on the success rate of alchemy, the occurrence of colour in the certificate, or how exactly green, black and white were the colours of gold.
At press time, the Committee was squabbling over how best to draw the boundaries for the eligibility criteria of the subsequent Diplomas in the next edition of the Little White Book.