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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Education - making us smarter.... or is it?

Hi everyone

Shall I list my gripes for the week? Actually the last couple of days have just been peachy when it comes to making Ashleigh bitter at the world. 

Firstly, as background information - I'm very tired. Yes I know that it is rare for me not to be tired, but it does impact on my life and my tether tends to get very short when I am more tired than usual. Although I will acknowledge that it is my fault, as I went out on Saturday night (cocktail party with the girls, then dancing the night away at a club - bliss), didn't get to sleep until 3.30am and then got up at 8.30, went out for breakfast with my mum (she is a firm believer that going out for breakfast in the city or Freo is the ultimate in city living and so we do it every time we catch up), then went to my grandparents (who just got back from Slovinia and Greece) and had to spend the entire day being chatty and smiley and generally acting like the prodigal granddaughter I am and of course, instead of going to bed early like a good girl and like I planned, as soon as an invite from Drunken Leopard came to play Wii in his flat, I went and ended up there till 12. But it wasn't an entirely fruitless day, as I did beat Horny Frog on Mario Kart on his favourite track (actually I came 1st) when I normally barely finish the race (I simply do not have video game skills - although I'm very enthusiastic). The victory was made so much sweeter by the fact Horny Frog was also very tired and therefore grumpy and subsequently sulked all evening :). Yes I'm still gloating 2 days later.

Then, last night I had the lovely Uni Games boys in the village and they were playing drinking games outside my flat. I swear if I have to hear one more rendition of the drinking song 'XXX is the captain of the ship, captain of the ship' or the highly intelligent 'tits out for the boys, tits out for the boys' chant, I will kill someone. So I have discovered that I have control issues and thus this situation made me very tense as I could not control any aspect of it. And the insomnia begins - even after they finished. Gripe number 1 complete.

Gripe number 2. 
The TAFE education system in Western Australia is appalling - I believe. Yes I am a bit of a snob and do think that university degrees reign supreme over Tafe diplomas/certificates but I can see (as any normal person could) that they are very good for people who don't necessarily want to complete a degree or want to get into a trade etc. I have almost zero time for people who do not want to complete any further education and even less for those who voluntarily drop out in high school - and do nothing. 

Anyway, I recently began a Tafe course to complement my degree (see I can see the point of tafe!) - a Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety. So I've been doing it externally, just one unit at a time, fitting it in around my degree. Today was one of those fitting it in times. I thought I would begin the second assignment (an essay/report type thing) by reading the sample assignment they had so thoughtfully provided. Well, I thought it was thoughtful until I read it carefully and it turned out they had just repeated the same 3 sentences 27 times!! I called up the lecturer and said that this assignment did not help me in any way at all and she told me that the words are just there to indicate that you have to put words under those headings, and in fact, the "sample assignment" isn't even the one that corresponds to my unit - its for a different unit. Now my big question is this - why even put it in there? The answer was that people don't realise you have to put words under the headings, and if the TAFE people only put 1 set of 3 sentences under a heading as opposed to 4 then people wouldn't realise that they had to put more than 3 sentences in. 

So this is adult education (as I was so kindly informed - she also spoke to me like I was an idiot - which I REALLY do not appreciate), and you are expected to work things out for yourself. But not enough that you might figure out that you need to put words under your headings. 
Is this 'adult education' really making us smarter? Or is it merely making us know more facts, but waste away our common sense by not letting us make decisions ourselves? Personally I have always been the kind of person who likes to work things out for themselves by using COMMON SENSE. 

Anyway there is my rant. Below are a couple of my favourite education quotes:

"There is nothing sadder in life than the waste of human potential. The purpose of evolution is to raise us out of the mud, not have us grovelling in it" Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider

"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance" Will Durant

Until next time...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Perpetually Tired Student

Hi everyone,

So it has been an uneventful couple of days. I woke for my 9.30 lecture yesterday, promptly groaned, switched off my alarm and went back to sleep until 11.30. This is becoming a disturbingly common occurrence. I don't remember what I did on Monday night, but I'm sure it wasn't particularly exhausting. 

Just as a side note - in Australia, lectures are NOT compulsory and I can listen/watch it online later, so its nothing detrimental to my education, just annoying and a bit more difficult to listen to later. 

Normally the mere thought of a cup of coffee is enough to propel me out of bed, no matter what time it is. I think I know what the issue was though.

Have you ever heard of a sleep debt? Or sleep bank?
We covered this stuff a bit in psychology (no I don't know exactly why we were talking about sleep habits, I'm pretty sure its because its linked to mental health). Basically, theres some equation that for every hour of sleep you lose, you need 8 hours to gain it back. Or something along those lines. So when you build up a sleep debt, you can't just have a massive sleep in to pay it off - you need to do it in increments every night. 
And when you consider the average uni student stays up late studying probably 1 or 2 nights a week, stays up late partying 1 or 2 (sometimes 3) nights and has to get up for classes/work/more studying at a 'reasonable' time, thats a lot of sleep debt! So when I went out on Friday night (in my defense, it was the Village Pirate Party and it was happening outside my window anyway) and had one of those fantastic nights where you end up awake until 4am, then finally sleep, then when you sober up in your sleep your body wakes you at some ridiculous hour (9.30am in my case) (the 'go-to-sleep-drunk-then-wake-up-when-you-get-sober theory' came from Flying Monkey - in my experience, its definitely true). 

So I have accumulated this massive sleep debt - which was probably never 0 to begin with, as I've had some major assignment dramas last week (one horrible moment when I finally went to bed at 12.30 after doing an assignment, then waking up at 1am only to realise I had forgotten about another assignment due the next day and having to get out of bed to do it) and so unless I start getting some serious 9 hour nights in, I will probably be tired forevermore. And since, there is little chance of me getting those coveted 9 hour uninterrupted sleeps, I will be tired until my holidays. But then I have an internship so that'll put me back a bit. So yeah, we are looking at Christmas for me to feel properly rested again. 

I think this is a fairly widely spread phenomenon around universities and maybe, just maybe, one day I will be able to go to my lecturer and say 'I'm really sorry Professor but my sleep debt is just HUGE, can I have one more day to do this assignment'. Of course, the response will probably be 'No Ashleigh, you shouldn't have gone to that party/club/potluck/drinking game last week. If you hadn't we wouldn't have this sleep debt problem'. Which is true. But I maintain that going to those parties/clubs/potlucks/drinking games is all part of being a student, and if I'm tired the next day, but I had an awesome night the night before - I reckon its worth it :)

Thanks guys
Ashleigh xo

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Here we go..

Ok so I've never done this before - and I don't even know if anyone is out there reading? 
I'll start with my basic stats - I'm at uni (obviously), doing a Bachelor of Commerce - Human Resource Management and Psychology. I live in the student accommodation on campus. I turned 20 not long ago. 

So I was procrastinating today - I had an advertisement analysis to do for a Psychology class - only 1500 words but you know some days you just can't be bothered - particularly when it is such a beautiful day and I can hear all the American exchange students mucking around in the pool. I grudgingly signed my contract for next year in the Village and my contract to stay here over Summer. I've been trying for the past few weeks to get out of this place, and have finally resigned myself to the fact I'm just going to have to stick it out a bit longer. Anyway, so I decided that it was time to finally put down on paper my 10 year plan/list. I figured turning 20 was a milestone in a way and for me, probably more of a milestone than 21 will be (coz the drinking age and everything in Australia is 18 - so, been there, done that) and it was time I figured out what I want out of life. I figured this would be a 10 minute activity, but it was surprisingly difficult. Who knows exactly what they want to do in the next 10 years? I decided I would have some major goals on there that I wanted to achieve and then fill the rest up with things that I wanted to just do/have. So after Googling for ideas, it is definitely a work in progress but I'm quite proud of it. 

- Get my Bachelor degree (June 2012 is my expected graduation date, so fingers crossed)
- Get my Masters of Human Resource Management (I recently found out when I graduate with my BComm I don't actually get to wear the hat - and I want a hat dammit! So I have to complete my Masters - plus I get the little letters after my name AWESOME!)
- Own an apartment (preferably inner city, like the ones on Friends if possible LOL)
- Travel 
- Own a silver BMW convertible 
- Get a kitten (as I have zero interest in children, I think I'll go with a fur-child)
- Have my company - Samash Consulting - Innovative HR and Recruitment Solutions (or at least be well on my way)

SIDE GOALS - but no less important
- Bet on a winning horse (I have appalling luck)
- Create my family tree
- Have an emergency fund that will cover 3-6 months of living expenses ICE (that's just good sense)
- Sky dive
- Have a snow ball fight
- Be on a TV show as an 'expert'
- Go skinny dipping (yes I can't believe I've never done this either)
- Take a road trip
- Do a bike tour in a foreign country
- Hold a spider
- Bungee jump
- Have a vegie garden
- Give a speech in a public place or at a large event 
- Donate and get my name on something e.g. a bench etc
- Go to the Olympics (2012 is probably out, but theres still 2016 and 2020)
- Swim with dolphins
- Volunteer for a charity
- Own a university jumper
- Travel with friends
- Take a cooking class in a foreign country
- Lose my bogan accent!
- Learn to change a tyre
- Fly a plane
- Get health insurance
- Be a mentor
- Live by myself for at least 6 months
- Call a customer service line and thank them for a good service
- Watch a meteor shower
- Learn to like eating seafood!
- Touch an iceberg
- Sing karaoke (this may require a few drinks)
- Milk a cow
- Fly first class - preferably with a free upgrade :)
- Drink a champagne cocktail in Paris
- Travel by myself
- Give blood
- Climb a mountain
- Invest $1000 a year in stocks
- Have a enough money to do all of the above!

So as you can see, a fairly varied list with sensible things, crazy things but I'm sure they are all achievable things. 
Anyway, I was going to grab a coffee but as its past 3pm I think I'll stick to green tea - I'm trying to improve my sleeping patterns. 
Let me know if you like what you read and I'll keep updating :)
Until next time

Ashleigh xo