28. February 2019 Jan Krajník

Feedback

Lately I have found myself struggling a little when it comes to these blog post. I am no longer a fresher who is excited about everything that’s happening. To be honest, there is not many new thing happening with my life at the moment. Or at least I don’t perceive them as interesting. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you think similarly, which is why I am, yet again, going to share the events and ideas that are happening in my life.

In the current academic year I have entered the Honours programme, which is not in fact as different as my first two years of uni. I still have to do assignments and write exams which is the only thing I believe I am doing at university. The biggest difference is, that the results from this and the following academic year are gonna count towards my final grade that I’ll hopefully have on my diploma. This was not the case in the first two years as they were supposed to be mainly exploratory and give you options to change your degree or choose different optional courses. To be honest I really miss the option to study something other than psychology as I did in the first two years. Actually I don’t have a single option about the choice of my courses which I find slightly troubling. I believe that by know I have already established a good sense of what I do like in psychology, or rather what I hate studying. I wonder whether this is ever going to change in my academic life: learning what you don’t want to learn. If I can give you any advice it is that you shouldn’t ever believe people who say that at uni you will only learn the stuff you want to learn. Of course there will always be some parts that you do and don’t like, but by now I thought that it won’t be the majority of what I do.

Every single grade counts, that must bring a lot of stress huh? Yes it really does, even though I am non-believer in traditional examinations and I usually prefer learning everything that’s in the lectures (not only the parts that are gonna appear in the test), I have to admit that I was struggling. Last semester I achieved two things, which I never managed to do. First, get good grades from assignments, and second, terrible grades from exams (terrible might be an exaggeration, in the end I am still here right?). For some reason, I have not manage to convey my knowledge onto the exam paper, even though I started writing with “Begin!”, and ended with “Please put your pens down”. I have written “for some reason” because I do not honestly know the reason. This might be hard to believe but please hear me out. At this moment I have stopped believing that there can be any academical model which would be 100% objective in assessing students’ knowledge?, at least when it comes to examinations (IB is still pretty good don’t get me wrong). I hear a lot of people complain about the Czech university grading system, the oral exams, professors having  favourites etc. When I came to Scotland I had hoped that the examination process will be more standardized, objective, and overall feeling fair for the students. I was yet again disappointed, as I was already by many thing concerning my life in Scotland. Long story short, there is not feedback for your exams which cover 75% of your grade. In order to clarify this, I went to a thing called “feedback sessions” there I was given my exams back. However, to my surprise there was not a single line of ink on them. The only thing I have received was the general instructions for exams, which were posted online almost a month before even receiving the grade. You can imagine how confused I was, which was the reason why I asked the secretary “Where are the comments?” to which she responded, “You can compare the general instructions to the stuff that you have written”. This is the only feedback I’ve got. Full Stop. Later on I was informed that there is no way of reassessing the grades, that teachers are not allowed to give comments for reasons that cannot be disclosed to me, that there is literally nothing I can do to change my grades. This left me feeling angry- maybe the angriest I have ever been in my life. Yes, there is a possibility that I have received the grades that I have deserved and I would be okay with that. I came to the “feedback” session humble with the hopes of receiving advice on how should I improve next time I am writing exams, but what I experienced left me astonished.

You might be asking “ Why is he telling this to us? Why should we care?”. the message I want to convey by describing what has happened to me reflects in many of my blog posts. If you are thinking of applying abroad always stay reserved when it comes to your expectations. Nothing is ever 100% perfect, excluding tank draft Pilsner Urquell. A Place where you think that you’ll feel comfortable in is much more valuable than any international university rankings. Choosing the place where you’d like to study and the topic you’d like to study should always be based on your opinions only, don’t let people convince you otherwise.
 

In the end there might have been something interesting happening to me, even though I did not think so at first. I hope I haven’t discouraged too many people from considering studying abroad, but believe me that it also has its upsides. Only now, I find it hard to see them. Now, I believe that I have to just struggle through, study more, and hope there won’t be any need to ever visit any “feedback” sessions. At least for now.

 

 

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