Aghhh. European schools are very different from American Universities. Or I should say, the University of Wolverhampton is really different from the University of Akron. At home, you have a syllabus which tells you all the things you need to get done and when you should have them done and what chapters to read and such. And more than that you have a clear concise explanation about what you need to do for papers. Here, you have a module guide. And there are only 2 assessments. One exam and One Essay (I think this is pretty general, but I am sure that some classes are different). So to tell the truth...I don't know what to do with myself. There's no attendance policy. And I don't have to turn things in to the professor. But most importantly, so much of the work that is due is vague. Like, I have to write a paper on gender representation in American Beauty, using 3 close textual analysis's. Um...now you know the same exact information about it that I do! lol. I swear. At Akron I would get much more than that. And then I have to write an essay in American Literature. And the questions are up on the Internet guide thingy. And they are just plain. I mean. I don't know. I think they expect their students to know what to do and do it. Poor lil ole American me needs a full explanation of what the hell I need to do. I will do it. And I am sure I will do okay, but I just don't know what to do with my time. At U of Akron people are always asking...How many references do I need, how many pages, what font, blah blah. That usually gets on my nerves t. But no one asks that here and I want to! Ack.
I have free time on my hands...But not really. Cause I should be studying and figuring out what I want to say. I think graduate school is a lot like this. It is my responsibility to structure my time and make sure I get my assignments done. Not any one elses. And no one is going to tell me what needs to be done. I should know what is expected of me. And its so funny, cause I have no problem with content. I understand everything, its actually easy going and easy to comprehend. Its the assignments that have me worried because I don't know what to do and when to start! But I will get the hang of this...wait, no I wont. lol. Another thing is that your given so many chances at my school. If you do poor on your test, theirs always the quizzes, if you don't do well on those, you have your attendance points, if those suck then you have extra credit. Nope, just TWO assessments and no attendance policy. So you fuck up once, you got one more time. But even then you still probably won't do well in the class. Fuck up twice...uhhh. Yea. And my one professor told the class only 2 of us would get A's and the rest should aim for good B's.....I was like...so are you saying you think we'll give you crap work and this is what is going to happen? Or are you saying that you only give out 2 A's. Shit.
I think that the biggest thing that makes European college different is money. Seriously. In America, all the students that are really there to learn aim for A's and they pay lots of money for college. And many people have scholarships that depend upon their grades which is important. And because college is so expensive in America, you tend to not want to bullshit...that is if your paying for I guess. But here, people are a little more relaxed about college. And people do well here. I do like the atmosphere, its so much more laid back.
Actually, I had a workshop about being an international student and someone asked what should we call our professors. And the workshop person said that we should call our professors by their first name because calling them by their last name is a little formal and most don't like to be called Dr. Whatever. But overall to make sure to ask if we're not sure. I was so surprised by this! And someone else was as well. And the workshop person just said that making students call you Dr. or by your last name tends to be a power thing more than anything else and a lot of professors are laid back.
And hes right! All of my professors are called by their first name. And nothing else is expected. They all have doctorates. I wish the hell I would walk into some of the professors that I have had at Akron and say...Hello Bob. A lot of professors do like to be called by their first name or just professor but many aren't having it! And you call them Professor and let them tell you if they want to be called anything else. Whereas here, its expected that you call them by their first name and they will state if they want you to call them something else. Now, I am sure over at Oxford its not the same. Ha.
I think America is all about power and I think that Colleges and Universities are big power structures. I don't even know why I put think instead of know. Because I think that's common knowledge. But even I feel weird calling all my professors by their first name. I just think...you spent all that time getting a doctorate, the least I can do is call you Dr.
But I will tell you one thing. Students tend to not challenge professors here. I asked about, because as you remember in one of my earlier posts, I said I didn't agree with my professor and the room got quiet quick! Well, a friend of mine from here said no, they tend to not question professors. At least not....um...how can I say this...well shit, not like I do. lol. I feel like if I am not questioning professors, what am I doing in the class room? I don't ignorantly challenge professors, but what they say isn't gold. They can be wrong and I would like some clarification if I think they are. That Doctorate isn't fool proof playa! My professor in Representation in Cinema said this "Men are feminized by being raped and beaten." I don't even have to put that fucking sentence in context. I so badly wanted to raise my hand and start questioning her definition of femininity. I wanted to ask her a lot of things actually. This is the same professor that keeps talking about emasculation like its the saddest "practice" in society. Ugh. But I kept it to myself. Kept it to myself. I just believe that their should always be respect in the classroom but their should always be an atmosphere that welcomes discussion and sometimes debate.
I will get the hang of things here. Promise. Ill go now since this post is just super long. :o)