Forgive Me, Blog, For I Have Sinned...

By Andrew Price, 2005-12-15 01:48:31 in General. has been 6 days since my last entry. And this is inevitably going to be a steam releasing rant entry.

For the last couple of weeks the work has been piling up. I've had 4 pieces of very challenging coursework to finish within the space of about two weeks and I'm also expected to attend lectures. Besides the uni things I've had a lot on my plate too, with the party, the election, the usual build up to Christmas (buying presents, thinking of things for santa to bring me etc.) domestic trivialities like washing clothes and keeping myself fed, watered, slept and clean and besides all that I need to keep my brain on top form by taking a break now and then to enjoy life (ask anyone who has suffered a nervous breakdown from overworking and they'll tell you it just isn't worth it.)

Now, the last week has been hell. A deadline last Friday, one last Monday and two deadlines converging this Friday are keeping me more or less glued to my computer and probably making me seem like a totally ant-social and grumpy stick in the mud. I've already let Sara down once because I said we'd meet up for lunch at uni but when the time came I had been up until 3am the night before, coding, and was still too snowed under to even go to uni to attend my lectures.

I'm not usually one to get angry but I feel the university has really let me, and the other students in the same boat as me, down. In other departments students get their whole term worth of coursework at the beginning of the year. No doubt that lets them organise their time well in advance and get stuck into the easy and interesting work as soon as possible. So why can't we computer science students get shown the same consideration? We tend to get a couple of courseworks early in the term when things are nice and easy and a bit of coursework can be done in around a day. No sweat with the easy ones scattered around at the beginning of the semester. But now they've waited until about 3 weeks before the end of term and pulled the carpet out from under us with four pieces of coursework consisting of hard questions, relatively advanced subjects, boring subject matter and essentially more time consuming work than the courseworks are worth in overall course scores (5% here, 10% there...)

It seems that the university doesn't have any empathy for its students. There is evidence everywhere that if you pile a whole lot of work pressure onto a person, causing them stress and demotivating them, then they will obviously do substandard work. If they really want to be seen to be educating students well and churning out a high percentage of good degree graduates then they should start by giving students more freedom and relaxing the load to allow them to display their real potential instead of half-hearted, half-arsed work that the current system obviously promotes. Before I started out in university I worked in the Real World for three years and learnt exactly what bad organisation smells like. At the moment, the university reeks of it.


wedge writes:

Someone's kinda bitter... it's not me. Seriously, though, it does seem like most people get bits of work on and off then suddenly 2+ deadlines on the same day or near to it. I think that may partly be the fact that it's easy to overwhelm people if they see 5 pieces of coursework at once, no matter when the deadlines are. If you give coursework to some people, they put it off until the last minute, if you give it to them 5 weeks earlier than you thought you would, they may just forget about it! I'm not sure if the hard, dull stuff is meant to reflect the real life of a programmer or if it's just meant to indicate that you all need to improve your abilities.

2005-12-15 16:11:00