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Holly
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So as y'all might or might not know, I've been living in Dusseldorf for the past 4 months, and as well as visiting lots of theme parks (Phantasialand, Liseberg, planning to go to Heide Park before I leave) and enjoying the glorious weather of summertime in North Germany, I've also been dabbling in a bit of studying. 

 

And today I had my last exam. Basically, In Germany, you can only access the next year when you have a certain number of credits to do so. IN Germany, you need 60 credits to progress upwards. However, you yourself pick and choose which modules you do, and how many you do. You can do a semester studying only two modules and then achieving 2-4 credits for each depending on the subject's difficulty, and simply put, you just have to keep doing this and eventually you will reach 60 credits and be allowed to progress to the next year. So in effect, your first year at uni could last up to 10 academic years. Most people take assessments in a module called BN or AP, BN's are usually worth 2 extra credits and AP's are worth anywhere between 4-7 because they are harder, 8-20 page-long term papers that typically are only done one-per-semester. 

 

Now, in the British system, a German "credit" is worth two British credits, because we operate a different system to the rest of Europe. So in English Universities, you need 15 credits per module and you have 4 modules per semester and two semester in a year, meaning that at the end of the year, you need 120 credits to progress to the next year. Progression is a mandatory requirement though and you will automatically receive 15 credits for completing a module and not failing. If you fail, or miss an assessment, you automatically score 0 in that module and need to redeem that module/assessment or retake the year if your credit score is below 100 (at least, that's the case at my University). So basically, each module in Germany needs to be worth 7.5 if I am only planning on taking 4 (I am taking 5).

 

So, when you do what I do, and go on the Erasmus Exchange Programme for one semester, you need to fill out a Learning Agreement that verifies that you are taking enough modules to earn yourself 30 German credits (or ECTS credits) will equate to 60 English credits (or UKTS credits). So you need to go to your lecturer of the modules you are doing and ask for them to give you extra credits because you are an Erasmus student and will not be allowed to return to your home institution without an equivalent of 60 UKTS credits.

 

I currently take five modules in Germany, one of which is a module from Winchester. So here's how my credit sheet breaks down:

 

English Morphology meets Phonology: 6 credits

Language and the Brain: 7 credits

Old English: 7 credits

Volunteering (Winchester Module): 7.5 credits

Deutschkurs als Fremdsprache: 4 credits (+2 for Erasmus Students)

 

Which means I have 33.5 credits and plenty to progress to the third year at Winchester. After this, I just need to ensure the grades I achieve aren't fails, or the credits won't count. 

 

I only get formally marked on the first four however. The last one - Deutschkurs als Fremdsprache, is purely to make up the 30 credits. Without it I would only have 29.5. 

 

So today I received my grade for Language and the Brain. I had my exams for the first two in that list on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Now let me talk a bit about the German grade system and conversion:

 

German Grades and estimated conversion rates:

 

1.0 = 80

1.3 = 74

1.7 = 69

2.0 = 65

2.3 = 62

2.7 = 59

3.0 = 57

3.3 = 53

3.7 = 45

4.0 = 39

5.0 = <34

 

Yeah, messed up.

 

But I just found out my grades for the first three modules! (Finally getting to the point). And after stressing unbelievable amounts, I was awarded 1.3 for both Old English and English Morphology meets Phonology, and a 1.0 for Language and the Brain! 

 

Really rather happy about coming to Germany now. :)

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  • 3 months later...

Potentially unpopular opinion ahead...

 

When I was at school, going to university was a big thing; something for the elite, the very best, not everyone who didn't fancy going out and getting a job yet. The way it is now seems like madness to me, it's like it is a right for anyone and everyone to go to university as standard, regardless of having any sort of ability or even desire to apply them themselves to anything. People who are startlingly unintelligent (including people lacking even basic literacy or reasoning skills) are able to just pick a few uni's and one will be desperate enough for students that they get accepted.

 

Why? What is the point of it? What do you need from uni to go out and get going in a 'normal' career? Yes it can be fun, especially if you don't plan on doing any of that tiresome studying between the parties, but then a couple of years later you are saddled with a massive debt and a qualification that gets you nowhere. It's a wasteful drain on us all.

 

This isn't aimed at anyone particular on here, there are clearly some rather brilliant minds among us. I just think it would be a very good thing if the number of people able to go to uni was drastically reduced to those who can prove themselves to be able, who are the best, rather than those who just fancy it. Ability, not funding, needs to be the limiting factor, and that can be done if the spend is concentrated on fewer students.

 

If you know you're not too bright do yourself a favour, go out and get a skill or a job instead.

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What reason would you have to anyway Tommy? :P

 

I don't know where I stand with this whole university thing.

I'm getting to the age where I should seriously start considering if it is something I want to do straight out of school. I'm not too far away from starting my AS levels, and you know, moving on in school. But I have had such a rubbish time in school I'm not sure if uni is for me. I have always hated the idea of continuing the dull, boring life that is the school one, especially in the last couple years where the bullying peaked, and when that died the homework has grown and grown.

 

I know what I want to do with my life, and there is one perfect course I would take (at least in England) if I wanted to do university. I just really don't know if it is cut out for me. 

 

How does the feeing system work in university?

Is there even more work then there is at A levels?

Is it easier to fit in?

Is it worth taking a gap year?

Should I go to a university that is far from my home?

Would it be worth it to take a course I am unsure of?

How do I know it'll help me get the job I want to get to?

 

All these big questions circle round my head every time I think of what happens after school, when I have lectures, and when I think of my results and people talking about jobs. ITS SO UNCLEAR AND I DON'T LIKE IT MEH

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This topic is going to get people in a mess pretty quickly. I know people who have failed first year due to not bothering but it's their loaned £9000 plus living expenses. I've also seen people crumble under the pressure. No I don't think going to university should be the default. Universities are turning into businesses due to sheer numbers of students and the government reducing funding. I truly hate the bureaucracy surrounding most universities but there we go.

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My school was awful for this. The way they spoke to everyone made it obvious they were mainly in it for the 'how high-a percentage of students can we get to Uni?' regardless of whether it was right for them or not. I haven't done Uni yet purely because I don't see the point if it won't be leading me anywhere, but that's just me personally as I'm not 100% on where I want to be going career-wise. Learning life skills at this stage is just as important and there should be less pressure on college students to only focus on getting a degree straight away.

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Agree with what was said by Dan about schools.  Plenty of schools / colleges have the mindset of making people apply/go to uni to help increase their own profile, rather than necessarily doing what is best for the person themselves.  Then, of course, there's the 'party culture' thing which many people associate with uni (even though, of course, not everyone is like that!) and that there's little contact hours, especially when you compare it to the world of work.  Those two things coupled together make university seem like the easiest choice for most people, when it is very much the opposite!  Definitely think there needs to be change lower down in the system.

 

During my time at uni, I have seen plenty of people who really shouldn't be here in all honesty.  So many people who just coast through, seemingly treating it as three years to get drunk, high and christ knows what else, whilst getting 'paid' for the privilege.  It just bamboozles the mind to think that these people were able to get into uni in the first place really...

 

---

 

Anyway, I'm currently in my final year at uni.  As you'd expect, it's a lot of work, and very difficult.  This term, I've got 16 hours of contact time (lectures and 'support classes'/seminars).  I'm doing 4 modules and each have their own assignment - all of which are for credit too - every one to two weeks, which is essentially a page of problems.  

 

For a bit of context, assignments are usually given out 7-10 days before they're due. I rarely get an assignment fully finished 24 hours before the deadline, not because of laziness, but simply because of the sheer length and difficulty of it all.  I've just finished writing up an assignment in neat, and it totals up to 22 sides of A4.  It's probably taken about at least 15 hours (spread out over 10 days) to get that all done.  And that'll be worth 5% of a module, which itself is only about 7-10% of my year.  Just goes to show that this well and truly is a full time thing.

 

I'm also currently applying for Masters / PhD programmes.  It's kinda weird to think that these applications are determining not only where I'll be for the next 4 years of my life (probably), but who I'll be working with, what I'll be working on, etc..  But, at the same time, very exciting.  Research and academia has always been something I've considered, and during summer, I really did realise it was something I would enjoy doing, and could see myself doing.  Some have said to me it's a cheat way out, or that I'm just prolonging going into the "real world".  But meh, I'm doing something which I enjoy, I'm good at and contributes to something productive - what more could you want?

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I'm getting to the age where I should seriously start considering if it is something I want to do straight out of school. I'm not too far away from starting my AS levels, and you know, moving on in school. But I have had such a rubbish time in school I'm not sure if uni is for me. I have always hated the idea of continuing the dull, boring life that is the school one, especially in the last couple years where the bullying peaked, and when that died the homework has grown and grown.

 

I felt the same way in school in terms of the boring homework and lessons etc...

 

I know everyone says it but does honestly get SO much better! I was in a Grammar school from year 7 to 12, and then I dropped out because I wasn't academic, I was more of a creative student! Trust me, if you find something you love to at College, everything sort of straightens a bit out and now I feel so much more relaxed about my future! Plus in school you have exams and everything is just awful. In year 12 I got to the point where I didn't bother turning up to lessons because I didn't understand them and it was so dull :(

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I gave a research seminar-style talk today!

 

It was based on the research I did over summer; giving a background to it all and explaining the results and conclusions I've reached so far.  It was quite nerve-racking (and I did get a couple of tricky questions during the talk to keep me on my toes!), but I think it went okay.  Hard to tell how good any sort of feedback is though, as people always seem afraid of giving criticisms (even if it is constructive), but heyho.  

 

Definitely a great experience and hopefully the first of many such talks I give...

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What reason would you have to anyway Tommy? :P

 

I don't know where I stand with this whole university thing.

I'm getting to the age where I should seriously start considering if it is something I want to do straight out of school. I'm not too far away from starting my AS levels, and you know, moving on in school. But I have had such a rubbish time in school I'm not sure if uni is for me. I have always hated the idea of continuing the dull, boring life that is the school one, especially in the last couple years where the bullying peaked, and when that died the homework has grown and grown.

 

I know what I want to do with my life, and there is one perfect course I would take (at least in England) if I wanted to do university. I just really don't know if it is cut out for me. 

 

How does the feeing system work in university?

Is there even more work then there is at A levels?

Is it easier to fit in?

Is it worth taking a gap year?

Should I go to a university that is far from my home?

Would it be worth it to take a course I am unsure of?

How do I know it'll help me get the job I want to get to?

 

All these big questions circle round my head every time I think of what happens after school, when I have lectures, and when I think of my results and people talking about jobs. ITS SO UNCLEAR AND I DON'T LIKE IT MEH

 

Okay, you sound exactly like me two years ago so hopefully I can manage to give some semi-decent advice! Firstly- don't worry if you're not sure about uni yet! I wasn't even sure until midway through year 13 so don't stress: as you go through A levels you receive so much information and advice from staff, guest speakers and other such people that you will be able to make a more informed decision and have more coherent thoughts on this a little later :)

I also HATED school, secondary school that is, not 6th form, I loved that. Only studying a small selection of subjects I genuinely liked really helped me become more enthusiastic about education and as you get older everyone is so much more mature and it gets less cliquey. I used to be bullied like crazy in the first 3 years secondary school and never did a single piece of homework for any of the sciences during GCSE but A levels saw me becoming a happy and socially accepted nerd so they're definitely something to look forward to!

 

Regarding your questions I can only answer a few as I'm not actually at uni yet, I'm on a gap year- something that I would HIGHLY recommend! Going out and getting a job away from education has helped me realise how much I love learning and has made me more certain about the course I want to take next year. In fact, it has given me a chance to learn more about myself and about the offerings at my chosen university and I have actually changed one half on my joint honours degree since taking this year out. Similarly, you may find a gap year opens doors for you that you never expected: you could find a job you love by chance and stick at it. Of course there is also travelling that many people do in a gap year and those I know who are currently off around the world are loving it!

 

From what I know from my friends at uni, there is more work than at A level but also less time spent in classes that you can use to do it. So long as you're doing a subject you love, work can never be TOO painful anyway haha. They have all made friends pretty quick too, I suppose being forced to live with people can do that! As for distance, all my friends have gone to uni's far away because the courses there suited them really well, so do some research into what you want to do as this may help. I personally am choosing to stay closer to home, though still a good hour and a half away. I&#39;m the sort of person that change scares and its good to know my home will only be a short train journey away! Things like distance are very much up to personal taste, but the courses themselves should also be considered in this decision.

 

At the end of the day- no one can predict if their degree will help them to get their desired job, unless of course you plan to do something such as teaching (like me) for which you specifically need a PGCE in order to do so. Talking to uni's about their graduate employment rates may help you with this! For example, the course I was originally going to do before I switched saw many people being set up with jobs before they even left.

 

Anyhoo, sorry I couldn't answer everything but I hope what little I know and have experienced can help you a little =) I remember being in the same mindset as you and I promise you it gets better and less confusing! good luck =)

 

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Everything has been kicking off at my university the past couple of days...

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire-30325135

http://www.channel4.com/news/cs-spray-taser-police-warwick-university-student-protest

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/dec/03/warwick-university-students-police-tuition-fee-protest

 

Long story short - a peaceful protest was organised at one of the university's main buildings for yesterday.  About 25 attended.  There was an incident whereby someone assaulted a security guard and the police were called.  Things seemed to snowball, the protesters seemingly thought the police were there to break up the peaceful protest and things escalated (so much for being peaceful).

 

Fast forward to today, the university's official position and the SU's official position differ.  The Vice Chancellor feels that it's a shame that what happened happened, and that things escalated to the point that they did.  The SU feel that the amount of police force was unnecessary and disproportionate.  

 

Another protest occurred today to focus on 'Cops off Campus' and to stand up against what happened yesterday.  Somewhere in the region of 1000 people apparently turned up, 'occupied' one of the main buildings (a different, larger one to yesterday), which also resulted in the evacuation of a learning space on campus.  Seems to have ended up being peaceful this time, with nowhere near the escalating that occurred yesterday.  

 

 

Hard to say where I side with all of this.  There doesn't seem to be a clear story on what happened yesterday..  I can completely understand why the police were called yesterday, and it seems that a misunderstanding / miscommunication led to protesters thinking their peaceful protest was being interrupted, so the amount of force used sounds excessive.  But when you watch the videos, it doesn't exactly seem like those who were there helped themselves.  

 

I'll probably end up doing what I always do with these sorts of situations - keep my head down and carrying on working.  The Maths department here generally seem quite blasé about these sorts of things, with few staff and students having strong political leanings.  With the actual building being away from the core of the campus too, it makes it quite easy to forget that all this is going on and just carry on with day-to-day uni life... 

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  • 3 months later...

Naughty me double posting, but oh well...

 

 

I've got a conditional offer for a Masters course! :D  It's been a bit of a long road to get to this point following a couple of rejections and not being able to find the reasons for them, but I've finally got one from Warwick.  So if all goes very well this year, I'll be staying on here at Warwick for another year, before hopefully moving onto a PhD (which I'd actually like to do at Warwick anyway, so staying for another year is a good thing..). 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

So I spent thousands of hours of work to have the privilege spend £50 on a set of robes that I wore for 3 hours so that I could shake a guy's hand and get a paper.  But hey, at least the 3 years leading up to it were fruitful...  Yep, I've graduated!  

 

11737840_10207195946120033_8042386820540

 

(and you can also see my baby brother in the picture! :P )

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  • 11 months later...
2 hours ago, Matt Creek said:

I graduated yesterday with  2.1 honours in Music B.A at Brunel University.  I feel happy of how much I've achieved in the last three years which have unsurprisingly flown by faster than Wodan.

 

Next stop, finding or making work.

Very well done, Congratulations, you'll just have to judge at what tempo to proceed at.

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  • 1 month later...

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