Posts tagged university
Posts tagged university
Being apart of two very different faculties one can be qualified to make certain inferences about the two. It has been a constant battle between students of different faculties to determine which one requires more work. Well I am about to step in and put those rumours to rest. I must stress however that I making these inferences on the basis of two degree programmes. Theatre Arts and Environmental Natural Resources Management. One must take note however, that there may be much more demanding degrees under both faculties that I have not experienced.
Its is an academic fact, that any degree under Humanities and Education require less work hours than any degree in Science and Agriculture. All Humanities students are restricted to doing is15 credits, mostly comprising of courses that are worth 3 credits. Science and Agriculture students are required to stay above 15 without exceeding a maximum of 21. Their courses are mostly comprised of 4 credit courses. For those of you who unfamiliar with the term ‘credits’ it is simply a term to tally at the end of your degree programme. For example Science and Agriculture students must attain a total of 101 credits, in order to graduate. One must wonder why on earth is a Humanities student restricted to doing so little, as compared to so much for the Sci and Agri?
I know a lot of Theatre Arts students may be quick to complain that they have rehearsals. However, to be completely fair, students of my degree program also have rehearsals as well. 5 hours standing up in a laboratory is just as tiring as any rehearsal. If by chance you want to compare the rehearsals, there is no doubt that Science and Agriculture takes the cake. You have 5 hours to conduct an experiment and produce your academic paper in a structured format at the end of the class. Most students of the Science and Agriculture faculty live in the labs, with up to 10-15 hours per week. Most students of this faculty go to school 5 days a week, while many humanities students boast that they structured their time table so that they have a day off! There is no possible way that a student of Science and Agriculture can orchestrate this.
Let’s talk a bit about grade weighting. There is a absolutely no course in Science and Agriculture that I ever came across that offers 100% in course assessment. The majority of courses are always 40% in class and 60% final exam. This speaks volumes because the majority of University students do not test well and prefer in course examinations. In the humanities faculty if a course is not 100% in class assessment, it is usually 50/50 or 60% in course and 40% exam. Students of the Humanities faculty are ritualistically accustom to getting A’s, this is not so for the majority of students in Science and Agriculture.
Let’s speak about a real life incident. When I told my lectures of the Humanities faculty that I have to read through 9 slides and over 12 chapters to sit and in-course exam for 2%, they were flabbergasted. I explained to them that our lecturer designs the course like this in order for us to keep up to date on our readings. At the end of my final exams I manage to suffice a pass in English, an A in Climate Change, an A in Production 2, and a D+ in Tropical Forest Ecology. The very same course I was telling my lectures about. There is absolutely no doubt that the faculty makes you work extremely hard for your grade, ever though I prepared for that course with equal vigour as the rest.
One of my friends told me that many of her colleagues make it seem that Theatre Arts is a drive by. In my honest opinion, In Trinidad and Tobago, Theatre Arts as a primary career path is very shaky ground. If you do not have the resources or the talent to make it big in Theatre Arts, it is pointless to pursue it. I never saw Theatre Arts as a full time practice for myself. I know that I do not have the talent or resources to further it as a career. If on the other hand you are convinced that you have everything you need, there is nothing in the world that can stop you, to actually have a chance of succeeding in the field. Do not get me wrong I love theatre arts. I really do, but IT CANNOT BE MY BREAD AND BUTTER. There is many things that I want in this life, and due to the competitiveness of the field, I would not be able to get it sooner that I would like, even if I decided to put in my all.
I have worked side by side with both students from each degree. I do not have to state which has the most discipline. Lets take a real life example again. As you all may know, for those who keep up to date with my blog, I recently came out of a production entitled Nation Dance: The Pilgrimage. I attended 2-4 rehearsals per week between January and March. with each rehearsal lasting 3-4 hours. This would tally to around 72 hours for the minimum and 192 hours for the maximum. (See Theatre Arts does have its fair share of work too :p). Would you believe that it was only until the production was over in April, did one of my fellow students recognized I had a blackberry. Lets throw down the converstation
Student: OMG You have a blackberry? Since wen?
Me: Since ever
Student: So how come you doh be on yuh fone like d rest of dem in class?
Me: Since the beginning of rehearsals sir said phones are off set. I don’t use it in class
SIMPLE DISCIPLINE!!!! I lost count of the amount of times that I saw students acting and bbming at the same time. Clearly they have skills that I do not have to make it big in the industry. Apart from that, I stopped arriving early, cause the majority arrived late. Not 5 mins late. I am talking 1 hour- an hour and a half late. And people expect everyone to respect the arts? I understand why they don’t. Many artistes who claim to be artists, do not respect the very thing that they do.
Its not because its sciences, people are so respected. Everyone takes what their doing seriously. We are not even allowed to reach 1:05pm for our field trips. WE WOULD BE LEFT BEHIND! Lectures, labs and tutorials happen whether you are there or you are not there. There were many times rehearsals were canceled because of the unavailability of students, and my question is why? There is so much work that you could do with one student in the Arts.
I could go on and on. People would say I am insulting the arts. But I am not. I am hear to provide a solution. You want respect, there are many things that you can do.
1.)Lobby among students for administration to raise the minimum on your credits per semester so that you can do more, and not have a holiday during the week.
2.)Courses that demand a lot more work, demand more credit. Reach on time to your rehearsals.
3.)Come out if the box. Do a totally student oriented production outside of your degree requirements. Promote your degree everyday.
4.)Perform in the quadrangle on Fridays.
5.)Boast that you are a student of the arts, just like students boast that they are of the scientific field.
6.)Boast that you are a pioneer and an innovator and that you have the gift of craft and entertainment.
I am always quick to explain something scientific when I get the opportunity to engage my knowledge. I never hear one theatre arts student come to me and apply literary skills to a movie or to a play unless its for credit. “Dah movie/play was rel nice eh… oh gosh ah rel enjoy it” And you doing a degree in Theatre Arts? Oh helllllssss no!
I could go on and on about this topic. I am very sure a lot of people would disagree with me, or even bash me. However I must state that my mind is attached to this opinion, so if you do disagree. For the sake of our communication happiness, let’s agree to disagree :)
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
If you keep up to date with my blog, you would know that I am doing a communications course to make up some extra credit towards my degree. Today we had our first oral presentation that was worth 5% of our final grade. The thing is 5% is a lot, since I know what its like to fight down 2% in a midterm exam. The oral presentation was suppose to be 1.5 minutes and we had the freedom of choosing any topic that we liked.
I debated with myself on what exactly to present on. It was a bit difficult deciding, but I wanted something different, and something that could have appealed to the audience. I then decided to do my presentation on the letter ‘C’. My presentation, almost word for word, was as follows:
Hello good day my fellow students, my name is Shahad Ali and I would be presenting on the letter ‘C’. Yes you heard me right, the letter ‘C’ as in the third letter of the alphabet. You may be wondering why on earth would I choose something so simple and so trivial to present to a tertiary level education class. Well it is of my honest opinion that tertiary level students disregard the basics and as such fall victim to simple errors. Have you ever heard of the English rule ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’. Well you could imagine how many times I made the mistake spelling the word ‘receiver’ in this communication class. The letter ‘C’ has also been made quite popular by celebrities, have you ever heard of Cookie Monster……..’C is for cookies that’s good enough for me. C is for cookie that’s good enough for me, C is for cookie that’s good enough for me, oh cookie cookie cookie starts with C’. ………I also noticed that there are a lot of scientists in this class. Well I am sure that when you are writing up your labs you do up calculations and conclusions. Well without the letter C you would be writing up ‘alulations’ and ‘onlusions’ which doesn’t make much sense now does it? In closing I would like to let you know ho to get a grade C in this communications course. All you have to do is ignore the basics and I guarantee you that a ‘C’ would be definitely headed your way. Thank You!
I thought out the script very carefully. The students in the class being tertiary level, were both mature and young. I had to maintain elements that all of them could relate to. Cookie Monster and the letter C was a pure give away. I also had to have an underlying mature message and that’s where university students and ignoring the academic basics came in. I remembered that there were quite a few students who were in the scientific field so I kept it as relevant to them as possible. I also had to grasp their attention, and while others chose climate change, computers and movies, I stuck to something I sure a lot of them were not expecting.
With my presentation I used proper gesticulation, movement and even singing. You may be wondering as to why my presentation was one of the worst I ever did? Well, If there is anything I hate to be in class, is being the know it all. I hate it! I honestly was expecting the majority of this tertiary level education class to bring their ‘A’ game. I honestly thought that students would prepare and practice and even memorize. I mean its just a mere 1.5 minutes which tallies to about 200 words. We memorize far more than that during exams. There was probably one or two students who did their own off of memory, but the majority of students had cue cards or even the entire speech itself. I was so shocked to see people rush for a podium to do an oral presentation in a communications class. What are you mad?
At the end of my presentation, My lecturer told me that I should be in theatre arts. I chuckled to myself as my peers told her that that’s my minor. I learnt a lot about my first oral presentation and we have to do a repeat of it, to show how we improved from the first. I already know what my topic is, and its going to be twice as entertaining.
It was my worst presentation ever, because I thought everyone was gonna bring their ‘A’ game. If that’s their ‘A’ game…. I could comfortably bring my ‘C’ game……. pun intended so hard.. you would not believe…… lol :p
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
Today was the first day of summer school, and in order to ease my workload for the new academic year, I decided to do a communications course to make up some extra credit. I always advise people to do courses outside of their main degree, because sticking to one set of courses, usually forces yourself into a very tight bubble. Naturally, because this was my first communications course that I ever did, I saw myself having to peak out of my own bubble.
My main degree, Environmental Natural Resources Management can only be done once you are enrolled as a full time student. There are no evening classes, but rather early morning classes and 5 hour labs in the afternoon. As such there is no possible way you can get an ENRM degree on a part time basis. However degrees in Sociology, Theatre Arts and Communications are offered to both full time and part time students. This made up the crux of my bubble like issues.
Since it is a course with evening hours, there are a few mature individuals in the class. I noticed something for the very first time with the contrast of older students and younger students being present in an academic atmosphere. Many younger students do not participate in class and I do not think its because we do not want to participate nor I do not think its because we do not know the answer. For me personally, I avoid being a know it all. Not that I do not participate in class, but I am very conscious of the fact that there other students in the class. It seems that with every question posed, there were two mature students in particular that seem intent on answering and making some kind of suggestion of some sort. Naturally my brain began to develop a hypothesis. I wondered if these mature students felt some form of insecurity among the younger generation? I wondered if they truly get some form of satisfaction actively participating in class? I wondered many things, without even a close hint of an answer, so I truly just stopped while I was ahead.
Many of my friends also told me not to worry, that this communication course, was an ‘A’ course. After my first class, I was wondering on what grounds they decided to make this lofty judgement. According to the lecturer many people have failed this course before. I was so flabbergasted. There were some students in class who had fail this not only once but twice. I refuse to make mention of their obligations outside of the classroom, because if you are incapable of doing a course, because of external reasons, you should not being doing the course in the first place. Of course being in a bubble, I was also shocked that this was a core course for another degree, and hear I am looking to make up some extra credit.
We have a very exciting course work assignment already, and to be honest I cannot wait to get started on it. Its simple enough, but since this is the only course I am doing this semester, why not give it my all. Thus far the course has been interactive and very interesting. I hope I am not fooling myself when I say that the course is bounded to only get better. I better not speak too soon. As for peeking out of the bubble, I seriously need to do it, more often than I usually do….
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
Apart from the fact that I have an exam tomorrow that I only feel 60% ready for, I have loads of other useless things on my mind. My education and my immediate future cannot seem to vacate the places that I could be holding valuable climate change information. I am the type of person that continually keeps thinking: What’s next? December of last year, I had the first portion of 2012 planned out. I was glad that the major life events played out the way I wanted them to, but now things have become a bit tricky, as the second part of the year begins to play out. Let me see if I could break it down for you.
My first issue is that I cannot seem to get out my head this stupid foundation course at my university. It is basically an English course that redefines every ounce of English that you have known before. Its English for the tertiary academic student, that demands certain use of vocabulary for different methods of expository writing. All mechanics and grammar of English must be observed. Deductions for the final exam can be attributed to the misplacement of a comma to a sentence that proves to be too wordy. It is the only foundation that I have not passed, and considering that I have failed this once before, it has me on edge for many reasons:
1.) Failing this course would mean having to redo it during summer school. This would prevent me from working, since I the classes are during the day. If I chose not to redo it in summer school, this would mean I would have to expand my degree to over 4 years, as oppose to the 3 and half years that I am trying to get it completed.
Apart from the English course there other points on my academic agenda that is stressing me out so much, that I cannot help, no matter how hard I try to stop thinking about it while I am preparing for exams.
2.) I intend to take evening classes for Summer School, while I work. I would be doing a communications course that would help knock down some of the credits I need for my degree. This would allow me to take less courses in the new semester.
3.) In the new semester I would be doing two theatrical courses, and 3 environmental courses to bring my total to 18 credits for the semester, and the 101 much needed credits to finish my degree. However, this brings me to the issue number 4.
4.) One of the mandates of completing the minor in Theatre Arts is a course in Educative Theatre. I have no idea if its offered in the first semester or in the second, and checking the humanities booklet does not help the situation at all. If this course is offered in the second semester, I am back to the issue of completing this degree in four years, rather than 3 and a half years.
5.) Either way I cut the cake, I would be graduating next year November. However I am looking for permanent employment by next year January.
Those are my academic issues. Then there are the issues of how the hell am I going to run the couple weeks that I have to myself, if I become employed by the ending of May. Let’s take into consideration that my brother is visiting for the last two weeks of May, and that my summer classes being on May 21st. It is an issue since spending time with my brother is mandatory and I do not get to see him very often. This being said a mini vacation to Tobago is also included while he is here.
I am also trying to balance the fact that I have 1 performance in May, 3 performances in June… and all of this, inclusive of my personal rehearsals, must happen while I am taking my evening classes, going to work and spending time with my brother.
I also am coordinating a project with the National Youth Climate Change Forum to construct two eco carnival costumes by June the 16th. The logistics are not complicated, I am just hoping that I can have the strength to get through all of this.
I think my exams need to finish now so that I can breathe partly a sigh of relief. My academic stresses are getting to me and I really cannot do anything about it. However, passing that English Course would do positive wonders to my stress levels…… If only god is so gracious upon me! I am trying to save the world!
Always looking at life,
Even while working my ass off,
Shahad the Sentinel
Ok Kevin, let me first welcome you to my blog. I do not think I ever told you about it, because to be honest I think half the things that I post here really do not interest the majority of my friends. This blog is subscribed by at least 110 individuals from around the globe, some as far as Australia and London. These individuals subscribe to my blog for the unexplained reason that my entries are somehow interesting, and they take the time out of their day to read it. As such, I write entries as often as I could so that I can satisfy my reading audience. It is nothing more than just a hobby to blog!
Considering that today is your birthday…(everyone say happy birthday to kevin :D), I decided to use you as a clear and concise example for the topic of my blog, “Anyone Can Change”. I am going on the gut feeling that you would not mind me using you as an example, and that you would in fact be flattered. If however you do have any issues, I would remove the blog post at your immediate request. To be honest Kevin, I think the strides that you have made in the last 5 years that I have known you, should not go unnoticed and in fact be celebrated. I make no moves to offend you, but please note that as you read, I mean every word with a multitude of sincerity, respect and dignity.
So my readers. for those of you who think that you cannot change your life, my friend is a living testament of how you can consciously turn around your life for the betterment of yourself.
I am honestly frustrated and tired of many people who do not take responsibility for their actions and refuse to stand alone when facing the consequences. There are too many people in this world who prefer to feel sorry for themselves and fabricate ridiculous stories that reflect society’s eternal debt towards them. How can anyone progress when they expect to develop on the premise that others owe them something of value. My friend Kevin reflects none of those absolutely stupid concepts that I just mentioned, and the mere fact that I can safely declare at least one individual as my friend who has never displayed such tendencies, I consider myself very lucky!
Now I must admit that by that last paragraph, it seems that my friend is ultimately a good catch! And the truth of the matter is… He is! I know Kevin for 5 years of my life, and within those 5 years, I saw a human transformation take shape. 5 years ago, I refuse to have anything to do with Kevin. He was the most mischievous person I knew, and of course I was the goody two shoes, so naturally our personalities would have easily clashed. His name was synonymous with other class clowns back in our high school days The Dean’s office was a weekly visit for him. I marveled at the fact that Kevin had on a golden prefect badge just like me attached to the left corner of his shirt collar. To think the academic heads of that College equated both of us on the same level of leadership, was an absolute daunting idea for me to think about.
After we left High School, we applied to the same university to study for our first degree. Sadly for me, we were in all the same classes, and I had to put up with Kevin. We were not really friends, but we were close enough to acknowledge each other. Trinity College had us in a brotherhood mentality which is impossible to break, no matter how much your personality clashes. I still could not appreciate Kevin for who he was, what he was and almost everything he represented. At the same time, I was civil with him. We never had arguments, but just like oil and water, we really could not mix. I just could not forget the Kevin I knew from our high school days. I was struggling so much with my first year courses, and there I was, pondering how on earth, was Kevin making out.
By the time we were in the later period of our second year, Kevin was no longer Kevin. It was Kevin 2.0 and I had no idea where the outdated version of the original Kevin had gone. He called himself the Crackshot, and it was clear he was out to make up for times lost……………….
I have to break the story here, because I have to make something very clear. Kevin did not change for anyone. He did not change to be liked by a different group of people. He did not change for the sake of some girl, nor did he change for his parents, siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles or who ever else existed in his life. KEVIN CHANGED FOR HIMSELF!!!!!!!! He was interested in his own accomplishments, and what he can do to make himself a better person. One thing that I learnt from Kevin, is that you have to make that change for yourself, no one can make it for you…..
Kevin was now the Vice President of a Hiking and Recreational Fraternity that is still doing extremely well and fostering a host of interested individuals of the outdoors. I still remember Kevin printing flyers and single-handedly going around campus and putting them up and promoting the group everywhere and anywhere. Anytime Kevin was in charge of organizing a hike, there was always a large turn out. I obviously supported Kevin in his venture and was more than happy to this for him and his group: http://www.guardian.co.tt/gie/2011/03/14/university-health-fitness-and-adventure-fraternity-exploring-outdoors
Kevin did not only change his life academically and co curricular wise, He is one of the very few friends that I have who has been able to find a balance of mind, body and spirit. As an academic student it is difficult to strive to find a balance between the three. However Kevin managed to find that balance seamlessly. Taking a look at Kevin’s timetable for school, you would see where he fits in time for the gym, as well as time to study. Kevin also makes no jokes about his appearance, and while the majority of uwi students sports slippers as fashion statements to school, Kevin makes sure to have on proper footwear at all times. It may seem ridiculous but I have been embarrassed by many, who tell me it is absolutely improper to wear slippers to school. Kevin has also found the time to strike a balance between friends and other aspects of his social life.
Perhaps the last point I have to make is responsibility. For example, I love dogs so much, however at the points in time that I did have them, the responsibility always was thrown on my dad, which he hated, and we always had to give them back. Taking a ride home with Kevin one day, made me realize that he loves animals more than me. He makes sure to feed them, bathe them and take care of them. As for me it had evenings where I had dad preparing dog food, while I was rushing down a lab that I had due the next day.
I am not saying Kevin is perfect. To be honest he is far from… -_- As a matter of fact, I have a whole lot of issues with him, but like with many other friends we do have our differences. The point of this blog is though, the tables have turned. Today I can safely say that I look up to Kevin as one of my leading inspirations and motivators. I wish I could be half of what Kevin is, and I can safely say he has me driven. These are the types of friends that I love to keep around. I literally die when Kevin usually beats me in an exam and to this date his GPA still stands an impressive 0.4 points above mines!!!!!! Shocking…. U have no idea -_-
Kevin Happy Birthday! And I wish you many more to come. Celebrate your life! Trust me when I say it is worth celebrating. I just need you to know the amount of respect I have for you as a person and the many trials and tribulations that you have overcome is a testament to how strong you are! Keep pushing and reaching for the stars. I am backing you 110%
Now doh get accustom to dis bullshit eh! Ah tellin yuh upfront, from tomorrow is d same picong in yuh ass!!
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
THE SENTINEL: OMG This reminds me of one of my lecturers lol :p
When I was small I initially told my parents that I wanted to be the garbage truck man. Every other morning I would rush out onto the porch just to watch the garbage truck. Today, I realized that I was much more fascinated with the mechanics of the actual truck, rather than wanting to be the garbage truck man. I was young, I did not even know how to express that I was interested in the mechanics of a heavy duty vehicle.
As I grew older I realized I had a passion for the arts, and thus that’s how my interest peaked in writing and performance. However, I grew up in a family where money is everything. Many of my family members would claim that money is never an issue. They would claim that happiness and love is very important. I am not saying that they are lying or being false, but I have lived with them long enough to know that money is a very important factor for them.
Thus I had to choose something that would satisfy them, and still choose something that would earn me some type of satisfaction as well. This is how I became an advocate for environmental issues and is currently pursuing environmental management as my major. A few individuals told me that your first degree is for your parents, after that, you can do what you want. To be honest, with respect to the students of the University of the West Indies, I believe that this is very true. True to the point where my mind is very closed to other opinions.
When it comes to journalism. I love it. I did it pro bono for two years. The costs of doing interviews and event coverage were all thrown on my allowance. I just love it. I love meeting new people, and I love finding out the facts. I love doing the research behind it, and trying my best to know at least 0.1% of the topic or person before tackling it head on. I still consider myself a budding journalist despite being published in a weekly magazine, with over 150 articles. I probably consider myself as such since I focus mostly on feature writing as oppose to hardcore news.
I recently had to cover the School of Business and Computer Science 25th Anniversary Celebrations. The day before the event, a story ran in the headlines about an alleged fraud with respect to 20 million dollars in gate funds. I met a veteran journalist at the event, he was old, wrinkled and his clothing was clearly outdated. He had NO IDEA about the story, and was asking me.. a freelancer… to update him the “alleged fraud”
It’s things like this have me emotionally traumatized as to why I am not doing a degree in Journalism at the Mona campus in Jamaica. I do it part time, so I never really take it as seriously as I should. However, if this was my major, I know it would have been a difficult challenge for me to get it completed, but I know to myself that I would have loved the challenge and accept every failure and success with good graces.
I honestly think that Journalism is going to be my second degree….. I am going to start by doing some short courses… ironically at SBCS… during the vacation to get a sense of what I would be up against. I really need to delve deeply in this field….
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
2012 is not getting off to much of an exciting start as I had originally anticipated. Its basically starting with overcast clouds and the chance of an isolated thunder shower.
I got results for two of my Theatre Arts courses. The grades do not really matter, because all I am concerned about is my GPA standing. The grades that I got for these two courses dropped my gpa by 0.1 points. I know its a little, but at the same time, its quite daunting for me as I await results for my environmental courses. I know to myself that I always put in much more work for my major as oppose to my minor, and after some predictive calculations I can assume it would raise by 0.2 points for the better, or 0.1 point for the worse. In the end I am finding peace in knowing that it would raise before the new semester beings.
The new semester beings this Wednesday, even though the university classes begin on the 23rd. I am to report for classes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2pm-5pm. Its horrible I know. I would be honest I am not ready to go back to classes. These are the classes for production 2 for my theatre arts minor. After suffering from the least impressive grades in the department, the last thing I want to do is walk back in so soon. They really did not give me a sufficient period of time to fully catch myself from this small downfall.
I would have really appreciated if I had known about this before. They may have sent a verbal memo, but this department doesn’t use emails or online learning for anything. Its always word of mouth or notices on boards. Because I have to go to school early in the new year, I have to take time off from my part time job. Thus I would be losing $112.50 every week. Who the hell is going to reimburse me? There is no choice in the matter, because to be honest I cannot afford to not have a job right now. I have to get books, as well as pay for at least 3 carnival fetes that I MUST go to. I can’t afford to play Carnival on the road…. but I could very well afford to go at least one all inclusive :D
Ugghhhh…. Okay the upside to this is that these classes are rehearsals for our production in March. Next year marks the 50th Independence Anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago, and the production would be based upon this theme. We haven’t decided what our exact roles are, but I am hoping that I do not have to perform. I prefer to work on the production, rather than be on stage. The only reason that I want to work backstage, is because everyone wants to be an actor. Everyone wants to be a star. I personally am not for that. I would be just as proud to invite all my peers and tell them that I helped build this production and I would like them to come and see.
So yes next week is gonna be all about rehearsals and all that fun stuff… but $112.50? Dread I aint go lie… that go relll hut meh! Every cent counts with me. I am contemplating to only attend two classes per week to get the gist of everything. If all three classes are mandatory, then I would have to kiss that money goodbye.
I know part of my resolution is to have respect for the Arts, but having respect for the Arts is costing me dollars. I guess its a sacrifice that I would have to make….. bye bye vacation :(
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
Walking into the Zoology Offfice at UWI, I came face to face with a somewhat peculiar scene. There was a yellow caution sign on a clearly damp floor and sheets of newspapers in the shape of a letter “U”. As much I was trying to figure out why there was a U shape on the floor, my friend suggested that UWI itself has been leaking in more ways than one, whether it be through the air conditioning units or fine holes in the ceiling.
UWI’s obvious delapidated state is not the point of my blog today. I was in the zoology office to hand over some past paper question attempts to my lecturer. It was so disouraging that he had not corrected my previous two papers. I was planning to do some more tonight, but apart from just appearing as utterly annoying, his desk boasted of sufficient paper stress. The last thing I want is for my essay to myseriously disappear.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with Stacy these days, and as much as we are studying as hard as we could. Last night I took drinking and enjoying myself to the maximum level. I was on cloud nine, and it was not even my birthday we were celebrating. Needless to say I did have a good time.
I am sooo exhausted at this point, and my text book is staring at me devioulsy and urging me to read its pages. The text itself is long, expansive and boring. Every time my eyes hover over the words I manage to suffice a yawn that can swallow a horse. I am not worried though, I have four pending essays from my lecturers. They serioulsy needs ito hurry it up!
For now I am enjoying the gentle afternoon breeze and the subtle spin of my head if I jerk it around too fast. I would savour this moment, for my exams are 2 weeks away and I am glad I am more or less in a happy place :)
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER UNIVERSITY?
This was the very scary and thought provoking question that my friend Rajiv asked today. It dawned on me that we spend at least 2-3 hours almost everyday, working on one of our semester long projects. One cannot help but ask what is going to become of our time once we have graduated.
The dawning is not as in depth for me as it would be for others. I am extending my stay at the University of the West Indies for an additional year, but for my friends like Rajiv, this is their final year. It is a bit of a scary revelation. Would you work? Would you be at home? Would you start a second degree? Would you do your masters? Or would you become a lab demonstrator like most people who cannot find a job within their field?
This year, most of us are getting the heavy hands on experience that we have been craving for so long. Without a doubt its a lot of the work, but it beats being in an extremely cold air conditioned classroom and being faced with monotonous power point slides. We have learnt a lot with this semester project. We are testing the effects of pH on plant growth.
Shockingly our learning does not necessarily come from working with the project itself, but being placed in an environment of practice, we have been theorizing like real scientists. We came up with 3 suggestions as to why the greenhouse had sprinklers set up in different areas that come on at different times. We orally examined a theory at a time as it was suggested till we finally came to a conclusion. We realized that some areas of the greenhouse may not be occupied by plants throughout the entire year and thus it would make it easier to switch off the sprinklers in certain areas. We also theorized that the general spread of the sprinklers allowed for the equal distribution of water among the plants. To be quite frank it was extremely simplistic, but if this was written on an examination paper, chances are we would have fought to figured out the MOST correct answer in order to get our desired grade.
Yes we are having this wealth of practical experience this semester, but how would we use it? What is going to happen after University? I have been discussing with some of my colleagues that new jobs are being created every year. As such theere are no current degrees that allow for the qualifications of those jobs. As such, people who have degrees in the most closely related field would acquire these forms of employment. Most people did not know the function of an IT professional 30 years ago. With the expansion of different technologies and multiple innovations, we must be prepared to work outside of our field of expertise.
It is frightening, but all we can do is cross our fingers, hope and pray that a bright future is ahead after all this tedious work :)
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
When I step into the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, I consciously know that there are approximately 20,000 students enrolled at the University. It makes me wonder if getting a degree is as meaningful as it should be. I am enrolled in one of the largest faculties, Science and Agriculture and to be honest, their acceptable standard of education is highly deplorable. I am not being ungrateful for free education. I am just stating the plain facts.
I personally do not believe that I should have gotten into any tertiary education level institution because I am struggling so much to make the necessary credits to progress in each successive year. I do not have the most impressive grades in pre university courses, and now I am a lower average student in this faculty that has an obvious sub standard.
Out of a possible 4.0 GPA, the minimum acceptable GPA for any student within my faculty is 0.75. This means that you can get D+’s in all your courses and still manage to come out with a degree at the end of graduation. This of course would not be a 1st class or a 2nd class for that matter, but it would be a degree none the less. Its so ridiculous almost everyone can be enrolled in University education and there is little consideration to the capacities in which we all study and learn.
My core classes can be as much as 200-400 students. Every other elective fills up very quickly and you honestly have to move like a fox to get the desired course you want when online registration opens up. I remembered that Marine Ecology was closed by Day 2 of online registration, accepting only 60 students. However in general, classes that make up the brunt of your degree are extremely large.
Our faculty also has a nasty habit of setting in-course exams for 5% and 10% of our final grades. They make us work strenuously for the grade. We are suppose to have midterms, however midterms apparently occur two weeks before final exams. The stress is honestly not easy. Labs are now worth 2% or 4% each, as they all add up to a grand total of 20%. Its honestly nerve racking.
Why is a degree pointless? Well when 90% of UWI graduates each year are currently unemployed at the point of receiving their degrees and the other 10% have links for elitist jobs in their respective fields of work, it makes you wonder why you should even try that hard? It really is very discouraging.
Learning in uwi is like an eagle regurgitating worms for its young. We vomit back the information that was given to us during a class room session. Getting an A is probably the most easiest thing, but learning in UWI is one of the most difficult things you can try to do. Its honestly plain talk….. bad manners
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel
I am about to dabble on the courses that I intend to do for the upcoming semester. I have only two more weeks of my internship left at the Environmental Management Authority, and as much as I would like to stay there, I have a multi-faceted degree to complete.
If you ever took a look at my bio and I know some of you all have. I am doing Environmental Natural Resources Management with a minor in Theare Arts. This semester I would also be taking up Microsoft courses in order to enhance my marketability with respect to increasing global human resources.
Lets start off with the green part of my degree. I have one core course that I would be doing this semester, Pollution and the Environment. From what my senior colleagues have told me, it is a course that I need to pay special attention to. It is a “BIOL” course and thus, with any BIOL course comes extensive reading and labs. Labs are now 5 hours as compared to the lovely 3 hours we had in our first year. With respect to my elective, I would be doing Operations and Extensions. This course, from what I have heard, is an easy “A”, however every course has its ups and downs.
With respect to my minor in Theatre Arts, I would be pursing Directing I and Production II. Yes I know……. some seriously exciting stuff. For the love of God I cannot find the timetable for Production II online, so I am not sure if its being offered this year. Registration officially opens on Monday, so I would have to wait and see :)
With respect to my 5th course. I am torn between doing either Caribbean Island Ecology or a course in Play-writing. These courses are from Natural Sciences and Humanities respectively. I am extremely torn, and both of them sound very interesting. Any suggestions as to what I should do for my fifth course?
With respect to my newest addition to my pursuits at the University. I have decided to start Microsoft courses. I am starting it off easy, by doing Microsoft Word at first. They are 2 credit courses and they only contribute to your degree once you have completed at least 3 of the courses. I seriously dreading when I have to do the excel course :s
I have also taken a new challenge in my life, and I think its relatively safe to make the announcement here. I have thrown in my hat to run for President of the EMA Youth Ambassadors for the coming year in office 2011-2012. Hopefully my colleagues would think that I am suitable enough to run the Executive and the General Assembly accordingly for the upcoming year.
I have a humungous announcement that I need to share… Its so massive that I cannot even share the details because its still in the stages of consideration. However when the time comes, whether or not this opportunity does or does not come through for me, I would let you know how much of an honour it was just to be considered.
Let’s just that thinks are looking up, despite some big challenges ahead :)
Always looking at life
Shahad the Sentinel
As much as I would like to talk about Bertie Bott’s Every Falvoured Beans that my friends and I had today, there is something else that I would like to talk about that has been on my mind for quite sometime. Its literally jabbing me in my head that I have to bring up the thought of university education, but its necessary to illustrate my point.
I am sure that we all are very familiar with the Grade Point Average system, better knows as our GPA. It is what sets the minimal bar for acceptable performance within a university environment. For the Ivy League schools that are celebrated, the acceptable GPA standings are probably well over 3.0. For the University of the West Indies, we have a minimal performance standard of 0.75! I know this may seem quite shocking for international readers, but its very hard to maintain for most students.
Yes it is of course a very low standard, and I almost laughed at the declaration of our degrees, when they collectively said that they were considering to raise the acceptable performance standard to 1.0. I honestly do not have a problem with the standard, it could be whatever it wants to be, just as long as my GPA is well above it.
The whole idea of this minimal performance standard as compared to other Universities, has created what I like to call an “on the brink” kind of attitude at at our University. One of my friends recently proved this to me. I would admit that I was entirely disappointed by his meager efforts and perceptions on his purpose at the University. He made me felt as if, his purpose was just to stay in, and to prevent himself from being kicked out.
After substantially passing only one of his courses during the last semester, he was scared shitless at the thought of being kicked out. He hustled to attempt a course during the summer vacation. He was pretty determined having scored 100% on his midterm. He did this with hard work and dedication, having stopped all the things that he was very addicted to.
He soon came to realize, that the substantial pass he had obtained during the last semester was enough for him to stay in UWI. The administrators told him that he had nothing to worry about. No sooner that he had heard of this, my friend started indulging in what I like to call “time wasting activities”. We all do have time wasting activities, however 6-8 hours is really over doing it.
He promised that he was going to stop his time wasting activities when the new semester started. He told me he was starting “afresh”….. Hello two years of University has already gone….. Why are you still playing the fool? I am the type of friend that really takes pride in encouraging everyone. I would admit that the impression you gave me was just for you to simply stay in UWI. It’s as if you plan on living there and see what eventually comes. Two years have gone… TWO YEARS!!!! Can you please fuck everyone else off… and see about you for a change!!!! I actually give that much of a fuck to blog about you!
Anyways, you never seem to take my advice that much in the first place, have fun living your life…. on the brink!!!!
Always looking at life,
Shahad the Sentinel