December 26, 2004

Another year gone by . .

Well. Here we are, the end of 2004. I knopw it's a crappy title to a blog, but i'm tired and full, and hence unimaginative. Also, for all you pedants out there, i know it's actually only the 26th of December, and so not actualyl the end of the year, but still. It's close enough for me.

Been a while since my last update, much has happened. Dublin, for one thing – if anyone out there plays ay jazz stuff, you should join the Big Band, it's the best – not that i'm biased by being on the exec or anything. Anyway, we went to Dublin at the end of week 9 for the weekend – left on friday morning, returend sunday evening. Best bit was the fancy dress on the saturday night. i got to dress up as a transformer – yeh, thats right, you know you all want to. There should be a picture of it on here somewhere, if i can work out how to do it.

Looking forward to going back, i'm starting to get a bit bored at home – no more work for me to do,all i've got is this exam to revise for and this key skills presentation to do, which if you'll see one of my previous entries, you'll soon work out how much i care about. Looking at the past papers for spec exam tho, it appears we get to take all of our notes in, as well as our textbooks? no revision required then? After the first week tho, so much to look forward to – Law ball, music centre ball, more gigs with big band, more Jam's on wednesdays, oh, and Cardiff mini-tour! Plus more labs, so less lectures, new courses, it's gonna be great. Man, i sound so cool.

Hope everyone ad a good xmas, and overindulged as much as me. i thought this only happened in cartoons, but i was eating dinner, and the button actually popped off my trousers. how amusing. it was my third plateful tho, so it's only to be expected.

October 25, 2004

Physical Labs

Another monday gone, another year 2 physical lab completed. . .all except the lab report. I'm feeling somewhat disillusioned towards putting much effort into this, mainly due to the way in which they are marked.

It has been implied that it is impossible to get full marks, 10/10. In his own words, the course leader said "I may award a 9/10, but only if i think the student has performed this experiment better than i could myself". Now, i find this to be slightly unusual. If i do the best report that i can, it appears that the maximum mark that i can get is 9/10, so i'm missing out on 10% that is theoretically available to me. This 10% could very well end up being the difference between a I and a II.i.

All of our labs are assessed, and count towards our final degree mark. In the case of the second year, labs make up 30 CATS of our 120, so a quarter. That's 25% of the year, so even working to the best of my ability, even working better than the professors themselves, i've already lost 2.5% to the finer points of marking style. I'm particularly incensed over this as i'm applying for a placement next year, and they will be looking at my lab marks in determining whether to take me on, and if they see an equal student from another university where you can acheive full marks, they're possibly going to get selected over me.

Don't get me wrong, i enjoy labs, i see them as the best bit of our course, i just don't like working to a level that means i cannot acheive my full potential. If any of the academics can explain or give the reasoning behind this scheme, please comment – maybe there's some kind of moderation involved, i think all the second years would like to know.

On the plus side, at least these physical labs are better than last years!

Rant no. 2. . . .

Right, well, here we go . . time to move on from being annoyed with 9am's. Next up: everyone's favourite, Key Skills. . . .

Much as i agree with the opinion that a degree in chemistry will prepare it's students for a variety of jobs in the real world, I don't agree with the way that this module is taught. For those of you that don't know, it involves group and individual presentations, an essay, and the creation of a "web page". I say webpage, it's clearly just going to be the essay in a web-style format.

Now, yes, presentation skills are going to be useful in most jobs, but i don't see why we have to do both individual and group presentations. Surely the skills required are the same for both, so just doing an individual presentation is as good as doing both that and a group one?

As for the theory that it helps you to learn to research, i strongly doubt that anyone who is intelligent enough to acquire a place here at Warwick would have any difficulty knowing where to find information – we've all had to do it at school, for coursework and the like.

I guess the main reason that i'm annoyed is the way that all this hype about "transferable skills" continues. Again, i'd like to think that all students here are intelligent enough to know what makes a good presentation. I see things like this as a complete waste of time. If they want to teach us transferalbe skills, why not use them as part of the actual degree, rather than adding in a seperate module? I'd much rather have to do a presentation on a lab experiment that i've done, or a basic overview of one of the other courses. This would give us the same experience of learning how to present, but make it a useful learning/revision tool as well.

Feel free to correct me if you disagree, that's all i have to say on the matter.

signing off, time for sleep before, lets not be surprised, a 9am lecture tomorrow morning. Bring on week 5 . . .

October 22, 2004

Bloody 9am lectures

Well, here it is, i've finally gotten around to creating one of these blog thingys. . .still a bit dubious as to how useful it's gonna be, only time will tell.

Not sure what the university's purpose is in providing this – call me cynical, but i'm sure there's some kind of ulterior motive – student monitoring perhaps?

Anyway, that's all for now – shattered after another week of bloody nine o'clocks. I cannot for the life of me understand why the university has scheduled so many 9am lectures for 2nd year chemists, it's insane – the past two weeks, out of 10 possible, we've been timetabled 9 lectures at 9am. It's a joke. I'd much rather have had them last year, when you could roll out of bed at 8:45, and be back in bed by 10, rather than having to get up at 7:30am to catch a bus or scam a lift, spend and hour travelling in, and then sleep through the whole thing. It's surely counterproductive for both students and lecturers, as most students will be sleeping, meaning they'll fail the exam, and the lecturers will have to do more work setting resits and the like. I'm sure they appreciate it just as much as us.

And another thing, how can it go so busy in the morning? I find it incredibly annoying to come onto campus, and spend 20mins queueing from the A46 bridge, only to finally arrive and see car after car with just one person in, taking up (accounting for people with smaller cars) 4 times as much parking space.

Anyway, enough, i'm off down the pub

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