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Academics, Academics & MORE Academics

It’s about that time in the semester where things start to get crazy. Mid-Semester break is just coming to a close as I finish vacuuming all the sand out of my room from the sunny coast, and UQ opens back up for classes tomorrow (Monday) with 8 weeks still remaining in the semester. The first half of the semester has been pretty quiet in regards to assignment because Australia’s education system is much more UK based than anything else. Most of the course grades come from final exams and long research essays/projects which are due near the end of the semester. It’s been a challenge to stay motivated not just because I’m in the beautiful country of Australia, but because the learning is so independently based that my mind is still having a difficult time adjusting. Even guidelines for assignments are much more vague than in comparison to those in the US. For example, while my school in the US might give a topic with bullet points of framework on what should be included, here at UQ the assignment instructions for one of my research papers is as follows: “Complete original research and assemble a 2000 word essay referencing secondary works for support”. It’s pretty frustrating for me since I like to have structure and know exactly what is expected from me, BUT there’s always some positive that comes with the negatives.

If anything, from the first 5 weeks of class at UQ I’ve learned that it’s pertinent to open your mind to different ways of approaching things or you can’t be successful. It’s forced me into discovering parts of myself that I never even knew existed, but what I’m gaining from experiencing a foreign education system is priceless and something that I would never get out of a textbook or an American classroom. I’ve learned how to properly conduct research via database for specific questions and how to find actual books (yes they still exist) in multiple libraries.

Advice for future students:

In Australia they value hard work and nothing is just handed out. So when lecturers tell you to read……you actually have to read or you will not know anything that is going on. Also, don’t ask if there is a study guide because your lecturer will legitimately stare at you for a good 2 minutes and won’t understand what that even means (from personal experience). It is really nice and refreshing though that they want to foster and cherish creativity rather than stifle it with traditional memorization teaching. Instead of asking for just factual answers, you’re expected to follow up with explanation and scholarly reference.

From a surface level perspective I miss American academics and the intense structure, but as I’ve had time to dig deeper and really try to integrate into the Australian system I’m thankful for the challenge despite the discouraging outcome at times. Here’s to 8 more weeks of class & heaps of assignment to tackle at UQ before finals!!! (With Melbourne, Cirque Du Soleil, ANZAC day and much more fun mixed in).

Turning a negative into a positive xxx

 

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