30. June 2018 Jan Krajník

Halfway done!

I can’t honestly say that I would ever consider my university studies as easy-going or fast paced. Every semester that I went through so far was, at least for me, rather lengthy. It was only after I finished my last exam in Norway when I realised that I am technically halfway done with my bachelor studies. In retrospect, I can say that it flew by quite fast.

In my previous blog post, I promised that I would focus more on describing the studying at University of Oslo (UiO). I would like to compare what I’ve experienced here with my other university experience at University of Aberdeen (UoA). The first main difference between the two universities is the number of courses one must take. Here at UiO I only had to take three courses, Abnormal and Personality Psychology, Psychosocial Development and Norwegian For International Students. Rather low number of courses meant that I had less classes that I needed to attend. What is more, the only lectures with compulsory attendance where those of the Norwegian language, where I had to go to 75% of all the classes.

I must say that I was very happy with this system as it gave me a lot of free time and a certain flexibility in my studying timetable. However, being the master of your time has its disadvantages as well. Nobody tells you what you need to do and when you need to do it, which means that you must pay more attention in how you organize your time. Firstly, it was quite difficult for me to keep up with the studying schedule, nevertheless this system taught me a lot about how to spend my time efficiently.

The second difference between UiO and UoA was the syllabus itself. I was pretty used to the fact that the total grade that I get at the end of the semester is a sum of the scores from many essays, exams and assignments. The final exam then does not have such an importance. However, at UiO, in all my courses, the final exam amounted for the total grade I would be getting from the subject. This yet again gave me more freedom as I did not need to spend as much time on writing.  On the other hand, this system induced a lot of pressure on me and my classmates since we were facing a 100 or 0 situation. Therefore, I was unbelievably stressed throughout the exam week. I could almost compare it to the unbearable pressure that I experienced just before the start of my IB exams back at Open Gate, which many of my former classmates can vividly recall. Nevertheless, I still passed all my exams and now I am looking forward to going back to Czech Republic and enjoy the summer.

At UiO I learned and discovered many useful and interesting things. However, studying itself, was not the first and last thing I cared about. I think that Oslo gave me more than just academical knowledge. At first, I considered my exchange as an opportunity to flee from Scotland where I was not as happy as I would have wanted. The crucial thing that I realised in Oslo is that it does not matter whether your university is 1st or 150th in the academical rankings, it does not matter whether you pass the semester with straight As or Cs. The only thing that matters is what you learn and how you improve, both academically and humanly. To achieve this though, you must be at a place where the learning process will not be impaired by the troubles of everyday life. Ultimately, when there is more hardship than joy, it is very hard to move forward. In this respect, I benefited the most from these insights in Oslo. It is important to yet again remind that none of this would have been possible without the grand of The Kellner Family Foundation and the Erasmus+ programme. My honest thanks belong to them.

I hope that I will keep the positive mind-set and take it with me to Aberdeen in September. I will probably need it because I will have more responsibilities and work then ever before. Mainly because I am joining the Honours programme and, because I will be representing my home country as a vice-president of the Czech and Slovak society in Aberdeen. Now, when all has been said, I would just like to wish you the happiest summer holidays.

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