Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back to school with a vengeance!

Last week's activities did not prepare me for the onslaught of academic work this week. We had our first set of classes yesterday. The morning class (from 9.00 am to 11.30 am) in Environmental Science of Natural Environments and the next (from 1.00 pm to 3.30 pm) in Environmental Law and Policy. Both courses required that we do substantial amounts of readings prior to the classes. This is just a small preview of what we should expect from this programme. Luckily today it was just one class in the morning on Natural Resource Economics.
Having said that, it is important to point out the merits of reading widely (which is what is encouraged academically in the States). It gives you a much broader perspective on any given issue and encourages critical thinking whilst generating healthy debates. It has been mentally exhausting at this beginning stage (and I find that the other international students feel the same way), and presents many challenges in terms of assimilating new terminology and learning new ways of thinking.
The challenges however, make it even more interesting for me, inspite of my present difficulty in calculating chemical equations and in econometrics. The wonderful thing about the system in US universities is that they make things easy for students. There are always newer and better ways to make the academic experience enjoyable (student-friendly really) and easier. I expect that at the end of nine months, I would have recorded considerable growth and added to the knowledge and experience I acquired in my two years at Wits university in Johannesburg.

3 comments:

themba nyauza said...

Hang in there young lady everything will turn out well. The fruits of burning the midnight oil will definitely pay out well- both materially and psychologically . I am busy poring o n my booksas we speak. I have to produce a research proposal and do weekly dicsussion papers from the thick books being prescribed in my course. The thing is I got bored of sitting at home and decided to have a go at it again.....cheers.

Valentin said...

Dear Ijeoma,
it seems that it will be quite a hard academic work there.
Yet, Themba is right, very soon you will see the merits and fruits of your hard work.
As you say, in the US they encourage you to read widely, that's what I have also heard.
Well, at the end, you only win and you don't lose.

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Hello Themba and Valentin, thank you for your words of encouragement. I have had a really hard week but I think I am in a better position to evaluate the situation and find a practical solution to it. I need to manage my time better and more importantly prioritise. We have a lot to cover in such a short time. Themba I'm glad that you decided to rise to the challenge and get back into the academic saddle. As you so aptly said, it is the means that justifies the end.