So Much Work!

I still cannot believe the time that a college lifestyle demands of you. I am writing this on a Saturday, and I haven’t experienced anything that could be considered a normal weekend activity yet. I haven’t read for pleasure, no music just for the sole sake of music, no watching TV or movies and very little talking to friends online (I do that during the week as it is). Being a college student is not as easy as it sounds, not unless you’re someone who pushes assignments off and doesn’t worry about them and instead goes out to party. There’s no way that all of these students I see going out don’t have any homework.

Two weeks ago, for example, my History professor encouraged us to begin reading Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle on a Wednesday and expected us to finish it by Monday of the next week, giving a quiz on that Monday. The quiz was taken off Angel on that Wednesday, so in other words, we had less than a week to read a 395 page novel, which is pretty slow and dry, mind you. This is especially ridiculous when you keep in mind that there are other assignments as well, such as reading out of the textbook, not to mention work for other classes. It just frustrates me when professors seem to think that their course is the only one you’re taking.

I’m not going to lie. Although, for the most part, I get all of my work done, there have been times where I have skipped over a minor reading or something like that, because I just don’t find it possible to complete every single assignment and read every single assigned reading that you receive. This Saturday, today, I have done nothing but read and write all day. It’s a bit much sometimes.

However, as strenuous and as stressful as college is sometimes, I have my mind on the winning prize, which is the success and the happiness that college is going to result in. I want to be a high school English teacher one day soon, and all of this work is helping me achieve that. That’s what I’m keeping in mind. So far, keeping that in mind is working. I just wish I had more time to enjoy and less to stress about. I am wondering if this is a relatively common concern of the average college student or if I’m doing something wrong.

Experimental Education: I know What You’re Thinking

I was thinking about the highlight of my week, and I have to say that my Bio- Psychology class was a true highlight for me. Bio- Psychology?! I know you are thinking what could be a highlight in that? I know I probably would would be thinking the same thing if I read that someone said that was the highlight of their week. However I must share with you why this class made me so excited. It was actually the lab portion of the class that I loved so much. Usually lab classes are never fun, you always end up writing boring lab reports and you walk out of there not learning anything because you spent the whole time rushing to complete the lab so that you don’t have to stay the whole three hours, Isn’t that true?

Well my lab class was not the typical. I must boast and say, there are no boring lab reports required.Students actually have the opportunity to engage in Experimental Education, a method that has been successful in enhancing education amongst learners. With Experimental Education, learners get the opportunity to work effectively while learning in a more enhanced and active environment. With experimental education learners get the opportunity to implement what they learn from textbooks or lectures.

In my class we had the opportunity to work on a real human brain!!!! It was so exciting, it was a real human brain!! First I have to say that I was excited for many reasons but the main one was because I had the opportunity to see an actual human brain! Not only did I see it, I touched it, I learned about the different parts of the brain by actually searching for them, and organizing the different parts with colored push pins. Reading the textbook had nothing on actually working on a real human brain. Do you know how much understanding that experiment provided for me? A much better understanding, I am excited I was blessed with the opportunity.

So I will say experimental education is a very important factor in education, and it should be practice to help provide a better understanding of the things learned. Some times it compliments others learning styles, overall it will increase understanding, but what is especially guaranteed is class interaction, and what’s better than that!

exam timeeeee :(

And so we enter the point in the semester that we all dread; final projects and exams.  For me, i usually always have atleast one presentation, at least 2 projects, and a couple papers to write for the end of the semester.  Luckily I was smart this time and began working on them early so everything wasn’t put off until the end.  I strongly advise at least starting your finals projects and papers, so you have an idea of what you will be doing towards the end… i know this info might be a little too late now, but maybe for next semester advice…. get everything started early!

Exams are also a pain in the butt, especially if they are cumulative.  fortunately i only have 2 this semester, which is nice, and after this week I’m pretty much done except for those exams.  Mt favorite place to study or  write final papers is the library…. i know i know, its sounds nerdy, but the library is really my favorite place on campus.  If you haven’t been there you should really check it out.  theres tons of resources and  lots of helpful people.  even if you don’t need anything from the library, its a great place to get some work done.  The third floor is completely quiet, and I swear time flys up there, and I actually get things done!  When I go with friends we usually either go to the reference room or the 2nd floor for a less-quiet, but still studious atmosphere.  However, watch out for the second floor, because there are lots of interesting magazines that tend to distract me from doing work!  But seriously, go check out the library, its a great place to study and find resources :)

Another day in Oz!

Hey everyone!

It has been a few weeks since my last post…classes are in full force and mid-terms were last week.  Our “spring break” started last Saturday and for the first part of it I went on a field trip to Orpheus Island with a few of my coral reef ecology classmates.  The trip was an absolute blast!  We were in the water for at least 5 hours of the day snorkeling around the reef flat and crest.  The course aspect of the trip was intense and a lot of hard work.  The class had to pick a process with respect to coral (i.e. recruitment, mortality) and then had to design a sampling method to measure the process.  Of course the next step was to go out and implement it!  My favorite study involved measuring coral recruits (<5cm colonies) along the reef crest with quadrats (see picture below) because each individual group had to design a sampling method and then compare results afterwards to see which design was more precise/efficient.

In other news, I am really enjoying my job as a skate coach at the ice rink and a lot of the kids are interested in playing ice hockey.  In order to start a youth program the rink needs to  register an adult team in an Australian league.  A few of us have been out recruiting and as of now we have about 15 consistent skaters every Saturday, so we are hoping to register a team very soon so we can start up the youth program.

I can’t believe I have already been here 2 months!!  The rest of break I plan on catching up on work and hiking/biking around the hills of Townsville.  I may take a trip up to Cairns to visit a few friends, but I am also planning on getting my advanced dive certification in October sometime so I might just relax.  Well I am off to lunch and then going for a run!

Hope all is well on your side of the world!

Kendall

Autumn

I love this weather! Autumn really is the best time of the year! A lot of my best childhood memories are from this time time of year. There’s the piles of leaves outside of school in the playground which makes endless fun jumping into. There’s apple cider. The best part of it, in my opinion, is Halloween, which is coming up really soon. Believe it or not, that was once one of my biggest concerns in regards to coming to college. I remember talking to someone a couple years ago about Halloween and saying, “But what if they don’t really celebrate Halloween?” to which I was told, “are you kidding me? College students love Halloween!” I am really looking forward to that.

Of course, being in college means a lot of those things aren’t going to be the same. Looking for a Halloween costume is going to have to be done online, not at Party City, which is where I normally do it. There possibly won’t be trick or treating, but I don’t really care about that, but there’s always decorating the dorm room, which is going to be so much fun! That I am excited for. I’d do it now if it wasn’t too early, but I definitely think it is.

I also feel like, for some reason, I have finally found a workable balance between a social life and a student life. This weekend, for example, I went out with friends quite a bit and also got a lot of homework done. Something happened recently, but I don’t know what. Possibly, I am just finally getting used to the college life. I just thought that maybe I’d share that with everyone just in case there are those out there who still feel lost and confused, because I am here to tell you that not only are you not alone but also that it does get better.

Grades

Yesterday, I received my first official grade here at SUNY Oswego, and I have to say that it was one that I was very surprised to have received. I consider myself to be a good writer, or at least, I know that, for the most part, writing is something that I enjoy doing. I don’t enjoy receiving writing assignments from professors, but it’s not because I don’t want to do the writing itself; it’s because I know that it’s going to take time away from my day, a lot of it if there is a lot of it to do.

Anyway, my point is that I am not used to receiving low grades on papers. Tests, yes. I am not and never have been very good at test-taking, even if I try to study. However, when it comes to papers, I think I may have received one C last year, but that’s it.

I received a D on my first Sociology paper. My first D, mind you. I thought I did everything I was supposed to do. I thought I followed the directions. I ultimately thought that I had completed the assignment in a satisfactory manner, but the professor had loaded the paper up with comments.

What this shows me is that I am not in high school anymore, and I have work to do. I guess that Sociology isn’t looking for the type of paper I’d write for English, and I’m going to pay close attention to the mistakes that I made and improve on them for my next paper, for which I am going to shoot for at least a B.

So, if you’re reading this, don’t make the same mistake that I did and think that the effort that you put into your work in high school is going to be the same amount of effort that you put into your work here in college, because it’s not. High school teachers warned me of this. I remember one in particular, an English teacher who has had a major influence on me, who said that he recalls receiving a D on a paper early in his college career, and he recalls the feeling of complete astonishment that he felt seeing it, so I guess maybe I should have kept that in mind when I eagerly awaited to see my grade in class, eagerly expecting a B, but was shocked to see a D instead, and now that I have undergone that hopefully one-time experience, at least in Sociology, I know that I have something I need to work on.

Workload

As a freshman here at SUNY Oswego, coming from high school was a very big change for me, as I think it is for most students my age. I was expecting college to be different from high school only through the fact that instead of being provided with a mere locker in the hallway, I’d have my own room. Well, it wouldn’t exactly be my own room; I’d be sharing it with a roommate, but I was excited about that. I was excited to meet someone and share a room with him, live with him and get to know him. However, what I was not expecting was the drastic change in the amount of homework I’d receive.

In high school, I took a fair amount of college-level courses that I actually received college credit for. I took SUPA English which consisted of two courses, a composition course and a narrative culture course. I also took AP Literature and MVCC Economics and MVCC Government. In addition, I took an MVCC French course. However, they didn’t really prepare me for the amount of work I am receiving as a college student, the reading especially. Of course, I really shouldn’t say that, because if all of my high school courses had been college-level courses, then maybe it would have been different, but now I am receiving, on average, three to four hours of reading to do every night, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration, and I’m not a procrastinator. In fact, in high school I often was ahead of schedule and completed assignments well before they were due, so I would hate to see how stressful it must be for students who do procrastinate!

However, I am not associating this with a negative experience so far in any way. The heavy workload is merely something I am not used to, and only time is going to change that. I have been thoroughly enjoying my stay here at SUNY Oswego. I love the campus, the faculty and staff is very friendly and seemingly altruistic and friends have also, for the most part, been easy to make. I have always been a hard worker as far as school is concerned, so in time, I will learn how to manage my time and get work done in a timely fashion while still finding time to have fun, but, again, I definitely love it here so far!