catching up ....

Since I started up this here blog I realize it's been a bit neglected. Apologies! With the holidays and my family's visit I was super busy and then there was the dreaded exam. But that is done and dusted, so I plan on being a better blogger from here on out. 3 posts a week is the goal. I hope you're as excited as I am! You can look forward to some exciting new posts about my life here in London but for today I'll catch you up on what it's been like getting my masters degree. Alot of you may already know this stuff but I think it's an important part of my story and my life in London. Plus after that exam it's what's on my mind at the moment and isn't that what blogging is all about? So read on if you want to hear me bitch or wait until tomorrow when I'll have a nice happy life in London post for your enjoyment :)

geek! outside my new school - King College London.
 The past few weeks I've been buried in my notes for my exam. For those of you that don't know - I am (attempting) to get my Masters in Human Resource Management and Organizational Analysis at Kings College London. This (verrry expensive) decision was based more on me wanting to stay in England than it was on me wanting to get my masters. As always, following my heart more than my head. Yes I want my masters - it will give me much better job opportunities than my lil old bachelors degree in psychology. Yes I am interested in HR - I think that when I am eventually given the opportunity to practice it that I will be damn good at it. But if I could just live and work (and be in love) in London without doing this masters degree would I do it? Probably not. The fact is that until Ash and I get married it is very difficult for us to live in the same country unless one of us is on a student visa. He had already found an awesome job here and I was still in the mood for adventure abroad. The idea of a masters degree sounded pretty good, doing something that was good for my future as well as for the future of our relationship - win win!

But boy has it been a struggle. I guess I was spoiled by the wonderful amazing beautiful school that is the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Where the teachers care about you - they actually teach you, and the grades are made up of a combination of projects, papers and exams. My experience at Kings College has been very different. The teachers can't really be bothered to teach - instead they just sort of read the powerpoint slides that they've printed out. After failing an exam I had a teacher tell me that he wasn't paid to nor did he have time to go over it with me. This particular teacher was not only the one who gave the exam but he was also my ''personal tutor'' (''advisor'' in UNCW language) so he really should have been willing to sit with me for half an hour to discuss my grade. I had another teacher who was assigned to be my dissertation supervisor, she was really interested in my topic and seemed really helpful. But once she found out about my 2 failed exams she was suddenly too busy to be my supervisor and suggested that I put my dissertation on hold and focus on passing my exams. How rude! I did end up with a good dissertation advisor in the end and I did manage to knock that dissertation out last summer but these are the kind of jerks that I am dealing with here!

UNCW - man I miss this place!

My grade is made up of my dissertation (passed!) and 8 exams. The exams are 2 hours long, 2 essay questions each. In my humble opinion, I do not think that this is the most fair way to assess what a student has learned. 2 random questions based on all the material that you have learned in the class? This goes against everything that I learned in my short time as an education major. What if the student doesn't work well under pressure? What if they really understand another topic but are a bit fuzzy on the one that happens to come up on the exam? Does this mean that they didn't learn anything in the course? Should failing 1 exam mean failing the entire course? No other opportunities to show your knowledge? Even though I felt that this way of grading was completely wrong, when I found this out I wasn't worried at all. I have always been better at essay style school work than multiple choice. I think I'm a decent writer and a decent bullshitter when necessary. I thought that I would easily pass all of my exams. Plus no little projects or essays to do as homework? Sweet! Wrong. I was completely unprepared. I knew I needed to write essays for the exam but I didn't know that I needed to reference and quote a bunch of material, I didn't know that I had to explain in detail things that the teachers already knew. At UNCW we were taught to say what you need to say with out dragging on. Parsimonious - that's the word for it, and I was good at it. (Do not use this blog as an example of my parsimonious writing skills!) I always got good grades. I did not expect that what I called a ''research paper'' is what my teachers expected of me for an ''essay question''.

2 failed exams (and a few more dollars) later that puts me where I am now. On Monday I retook one exam (results next month). Since I didn't know for sure if I would have to retake it or not until November, I wasn't able to retake the whole class. I went to the review session but basically had to take an exam for a class that I hadn't attended in over a year. See? The system is just so bizarre! Anyway, I think that I did OK. Not great but hopefully enough to pass this time around. I used all of my references and wrote and wrote and wrote until my arm was about to fall off. The questions were tricky (I think they do that on purpose!) but I think I may have squeaked by. Next week I'll start to retake the last class and I will have the exam sometime in May. Never ever did I think I would be taking a class entitled The Business and Financial Context of Management. Never ever ever ever did I think I'd be taking it twice!

UNCW graduation - I thought I was done!
It's been a crazy stressful year. Getting my masters is certainly not what I thought it would be. I said before that if I didn't have to do it that I wouldn't. This is true but if I had to do it again would I? Yea, I guess I would. Love makes you do crazy things doesn't it? It may not be what I thought it would be but it'll be worth it. One day I'll have a fun, interesting, challenging, exciting HR job. And in the meantime, getting my masters degree in London has allowed me to live with my wonderful boyfriend. That makes every challenge and every penny worth it. Who knows what would have happened to our relationship if I hadn't decided to do this? And all of these set backs and challenges have made our relationship stronger. Maybe I should start looking at applications for my PhD? Yea right!


  1. PhD? Ummm . . . are they maybe going to start offering free tuition for international students??! haha I am so proud of what you have accomplished so far!

  2. I'm so proud of you for getting your master's in London. Your master's degree should be worth A LOT more than mine because you seemed to have worked so much harder for yours. Also from a teacher..... those professors of yours might need to take a little class with me about teaching and assessment practices...WTF?!?!