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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Shorter days

With a rousing chorus of "Auld Lang Syne" still ringing, I troop upstairs to my office, once more to plunge into a series of now impossible deadlines. The final year of the degree is stratospherically more difficult than the previous two for a number of reasons, and has been, and will continue to be a struggle against deadlines and poor planning. For once, most of the poor planning though, is not, in my humble opinion, mine, but rather a disjointed and uneven series of final year modules. Oak table syndrome still afflicts me, and I had expected the final year to be a coagulation, a synthesis, a concentration and a summation of all that has gone before, but instead I am finding myself awash in new unexplored and unrelated modules that test patience not intellect. An example is my Work Experience Module. Firstly, it is surprising to have a Work experience Module on a degree that is not vocational. Secondly, I hardly need more work experience as an exercise, although the paid sort would not be unwelcome. And finally, the module is, in a word that has become my second least favourite in the English language, 'underpinned' by 'theories' of reflection and situated learning.

This all causes me a few difficulties. Firstly, underpinning is something that is done to houses under adverse soil conditions, and I cannot avoid, cognitively, making the connection, so that whenever I consider this particular module, I picture it as a dangerously unstable edifice, lurching slightly to the left and under imminent possibility of collapse. Secondly, much of the academic work published related to reflection includes within its title the other hateful word "Towards...". My own personal opinion is that academic work that includes the title "Towards..." should be referred back to the author on grounds of incompleteness. I am fairly sure that Einstein would not have published a paper called "Towards a Theory of General Relativity - some incomplete equations" and equally would not have included in that paper the mathematical expression e=m multiplied by something I havent worked out yet. And Andrew Wiles would not have started his famous proof of Fermat's Last Theorem with "Actually, chaps, I havent quite worked out all the details yet, but if you guys can just use your imagination in the bits where I've left big blanks, I'm sure I'll get round to it sooner or later..." .

Unfortunately, no matter how much discomfort I have with some modules, they must be completed, if only because I think my chances for rising in the League Tables of Academics from joint-second to first would be greatly enhanced by achieving at least a 2:1 in an undergraduate degree. So its back to work and back to normal.

Whatever that is.


Grasshopper said...

Happy New Year, Martin and all the best to you and Nell as you head into this last year of your degree - as trying as it might sometimes be!

MJN said...

And all the very best to you and Burt. Its a deadline a week from now until the end of January, and in truth its mostly fun. Its just that I struggle with humanistic stuff - there's so little to get hold of, yet apparently so much to say.........