September 17, 2014

What's With All The Homework?

This is the first of a new style of post I want to incorporate into my blog. I want to look at some specific differences between life in Canada and that back in the UK. Don't worry, I'm still going to keep you up to date with the exciting goings on here, or at least I'll try to but the cultural differences fascinate me and so I wanted to write down my thoughts.

The first major difference I'm going to talk about, as I'm sure you can tell by the title is homework. The fact that I'm even saying that word is weird because homework is not something I have had to worry about since my days in Upper Sixth over 4 years ago (!) I even have a homework diary again! The system here is a weird mix between school and University and feels for me like taking a step back in terms of my academic independence. In Bangor, if I didn't do my required reading or my assignments, it was all on me and it would be my grade that suffered. While you're not about to get detention if you don't hand in homework here, there's still professors checking in and there's someone you have to explain yourself to. It's definitely been an adjustment.

Ooo arty photo of homework sitting at a jaunty angle on my desk with pen "casually" thrown on top ;)
There are, of course, advantages to the system, not that having someone to answer to is inherently a bad thing. Due to homework, class participation, mid-terms, assignments and finals, you're graded a little and often. This means that if you completely screw up your final, you have a load of other work to fall back on where as at home everything was resting on two or three assignments/exams. In fact, one of my modules in second year was entirely waited on a single exam. The system both increases and decreases the pressure. Lucky for me all of this is pretty irrelevant as I don't actually have to pass but I certainly do not envy the students here for having this kind of work load for four years.

I've only had two weeks of classes but already I'm having to organise my time far more carefully than I ever did in Bangor. It's easy with all the little homeworks to forget about the larger assignments and then of course there's the 40 pages of required reading for every class not to mention when you're supposed fit in life stuff like laundry, meals and socialising. How they have any time for extra curricular's I do not know. Granted I probably had a bit too much time to spare in Bangor, as my friends like to frequently remind me about, but surely there's a middle ground somewhere? I mean, is it too much to ask to be able to binge watch Orange is the New Black without permanently feeling guilty that I should be doing some homework or other?


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