Hey, hey! I’m back again!
So, tonight’s affairs regard education. Broad topic, I know, but what can I do?
Damn it; this broad topic thing makes it hard to decide where to start… I suppose, from primary school? Yeah, that’ll do for now.
Personally, primary school was great for me – I mean, I had friends (which doesn’t seem to mean much since everyone in my year seemed to be friends), and I think that’s all that I really took note of. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t in a superficial way where my life was based on popularity or something (I mean, I’d attended two schools, and at one, I had no friends – spent my breaks reading books in the sun, because that’s how cool I was…), but I didn’t care for much else, in the sense that, I was contained in this little world of mine, and the ‘larger picture’ did not cross my mind, whether it be about who I wanted to become and where I wanted to go etc. I guess I seemed a little non-ambitious. Also during this time, though, my marks weren’t that great; maybe it was because of this little world of mine, or maybe I just was not that apt at absorbing new facts, but for this period, I don’t think I cared too much. But I think this point really affects the future – it sets our whole mind set on learning and goal setting and all that fundamental concepts that you hear self-help speakers advocate (to which many of us scoff at the obviousness); I had a great experience to start me off thanks to the educators. Unfortunately, I sometimes feel like this standard at which I had experienced has diminished slightly; with further research as to what’s the best approach etc. I think some of us have become a little more methodical and mechanical, less flexible, you know? It relies less on that natural instinct to teach which many have inside; and maybe there are more less passionate teachers simply because some people pursue the degree as it has less years, give or take the equal amount, if not more job availabilities, let alone a career path which is not likely to be replaced by machinery in the visible future. I don’t know, but it makes me sad, that’s all.
Then high school. As far as my regular, old public school went, we weren’t divided as thoroughly into the typical Americanised system of junior, sophomore etc. The only distinction was either junior (years 7 to 10) or senior (years 11 and 12). I think this is when I truly blossomed as far as my studies went; I started to absorb information a lot more. But that being said, the downside was that I was never one to crucially question – I would simply make sense of what I was learning, and unless it was completely illogical in my mind, I would no longer question it and memorise the facts (how un-Orwellian of me). So, as far as high school education of memorising facts went, I went well enough, assisted by my fairly reliable memories. I started make close friends as well, and would try different extra curricular activities; everything was enjoyable.
But then the choices came. Despite being an advocator for choices, I am indecisive. By natural ‘talent’, I was competent at a lot of the subjects offered at school, and would often achieve above average marks. No complaints. But when it came to deciding electives for the final years of high school, I simply struggled. I ended up enjoying the subjects I’d chosen, no doubt, but I query whether I would have had as much success in those which I was unable to try out. Then the same thing happened again come choosing the subjects for my HSC (the final secondary school education, from which you obtain a mark depicting a rank – the position of your mark, after scaling/adjusting the marks according to subjects, against the state cohort). After this, I knew I was going to university. It was just what I was going to do – learning was simply what I did. I’d considered a gap year, but simply decided against it. Anyhow, still in my final years of school, I did not know what I wanted to do at university, and subsequently, for the ‘rest of my life’ – I wanted to try a bit of everything, and there were only a handful of things which I said I did not want to do. There are too many options. So, being the controlled individual I am, it frightened me to the bone not knowing what path my future was going to take in the slightest. While many of my friends walked on heavily paved roads to their future, I was off my wits, bush bashing in circles. Nonetheless, I chose a few courses at various universities to apply for, and although I did not obtain the marks to study the course with the highest cut off on my preferences, I got a reasonable mark, and gained university admission.
But here I am now, a university student, and do I have my future sorted? Nope. Not even close; and I’m in my second year at university. Mind you, I started off with a generic degree which accommodated for my lack of decision making talent, but now, for some obscure (well, not that obscure – the outcome is somewhat appealing to me) reason, I transferred to a more specific degree. And to be honest with you, I’m still frightened; not knowing my unwritten future, I mean. There’s no instinctive drive that’s pushing me to one area as a career – I want to try it all, but I don’t want to ‘waste’ time to discover something I may not find. Great. This is what a rut feels like. And not going to lie, more often than I should, I’ve thought about (once finishing my degree, because I just don’t leave things unfinished) simply opening up a cafe/bar in the suburbs not far from the coast; in my mind, I don’t thin that’s totally out of line, I mean, I like accommodating for people’s wants and needs. But that doesn’t mean that everyone will see it that way. Anyhow, talking about being indecisive and not knowing doesn’t help me to be decisive and to know, so let’s keep going.
The main reason I’d started this post was actually to whinge about university (at least my one), so sorry about the detour! The main problem I have (in conjunction to the commuting hours mentioned in my, I think, prior post) is the contact hours. For those who aren’t so familiar with this term, it simply refers to the number of hours you actually spend in class – so this can consist of practicals, tutorials, and of course, lectures. Before starting universities, everyone seemed to promote it; how great it was, especially for its flexibility and how it accommodating for the students. From my experience, that’s been a lie to a certain extent. Sure, it’s flexible as far as transferring goes, and to a certain point, marks. But my university, unfortunately, is not flexible with the times. What do I know, I’ve only been to this one university? Wait a minute, now. I have the majority of my friends attending another university. Their contact hours consist of maybe eight to ten hours, even if it is a double degree. Seems like what people had been talking about – I mean, that many hours per week is ideal; means I’ll have time to work, relax, and to study. But not for me. My contact hours for the week has reached up to 27 hours over five days. That doesn’t seem too bad from a high school perspective, I suppose, but from someone who knows of what my timetable could be like had my course been offered elsewhere, it’s frustrating. And on top of that, I probably spend around three to four hours commuting to and from university each day that I go in. Then, the lecturers and tutors expect us to do maybe three extra hours of independent study on top of pre-class readings, online quizzes, assignments, and studying for other subjects; which then piles on top of (at least for me) work (on the weekend), a social life (despite how pushed for time someone can be, I’m a great believer in moderation – so if you work hard, take a break!), and going to the gym. This life is simply crammed too much! And if you fall behind on a subject in my situation, all hell breaks loose. My friends at the other universities don’t understand – they reason that their lack of contact hours is compensated for the amount of assignments they do. Newsflash people, we get assignments as well – if it’s any less, it’s not that much less than your work load! Yes, maybe it’d be easier if I moved out of home to somewhere closer to university, but then I have to consider the distance to work, let alone being able to afford it. What frustrates me as well about my university is it’s sickening pride. I understand that as a university, you require integrity – you need to show off that you provide the best for your students, domestic and international, with the newest facilities, most experience lecturers, and the near 24/7 commitment of the university in assisting you wherever they can. I do. But it annoys me when you have already deprived us of however many days worth of a social life (which university life should promote) and sleep, you still have the nerve to take away holidays: while other universities take a fortnight off for a mid-semester break, mine takes one; wouldn’t be as bad, if it didn’t overlap the break with public holidays as to ensure that we don’t miss out on that extra day. Poof – there goes our long weekend. And when your friends are still on holidays when you’re back at university, toiling away and struggling to stay awake, you really feel aggravated. To promote how fun university is to attract new students should entail the university actually enabling the students to enjoy the university experience – especially when there are other universities competing with you and with the knowledge that everyone ends up coming out with a piece of paper and the same fundamental skills for the job, you really ought to offer a lot more than excessive, laborious hours of friend and sleeplessness; or at least, if you don’t want to be broke and empty.
The only reason I’m here is because without it, I have nowhere else to be. And for providing a place to be, I thank you, but for making things difficult, well…
Yup, that’s it. Despite having had great education-success in primary and secondary school, because of university, I have managed to epitomise my procrastination ability, so much so that I may fail my first-ever subject and that I have managed to procrastinate sleeping. Thank you…
Thanks for reading, and hope to talk to you soon.