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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Academia vs. 'Other stuff'

In their welcome comment on my previous post, "Anonymous" expressed the view that a half of me is expressing. That is, that having made the decision to concentrate on my degree which is after all the reason I came back to the UK, I should stick to that, and not be sidetracked so much by other distractions such as CILASS, my part time work, or Japan soc. I can't help but think that they are right ...and yet...

I find it difficult to weigh up the value of these activities. Academic study vs. extra-curricular activities. If those extra-curricular activities took the form of getting bladdered every night then there wouldn't be much of a debate, but the problem is, I'm getting so much out of these extra-curricular activities!

(self-justification follows)

My CILASS role gives me so much pleasure. Much of what I do is essentially, teaching & training. Teaching students, providing feedback to and training staff. I'm also learning how new systems (in this case teaching systems) are taken from idea to fruition, and also learning basic stuff like How to Hold Effective Meetings. (I'm then applying some of the stuff I'm learning through CILASS to Japan Society, with (what I perceive to be) excellent results). Team management is another key skill that this role is teaching me, something which will no doubt be a great asset in the future.

Then there's Japan soc. Now this one, I think, could be considered of questionable value, except that apart from the fact that I enjoy it, I also get to network, practice my Japanese (I write all the bilingual emails), and am able to experiment with the people skills I learn elsewhere. It's been a tough one though, as I find myself getting more and more involved, victim of having all the records (both on disk and in my head) of how the society has dealt with various events in the past.

My part-time job, along with the entry for the business competition, is teaching me a lot about starting one's own business. Once again a life skill.

BUT, by doing all these I'm neglecting my studies. The likely outcome is a 2:1 degree (or perhaps even a high 2:2, instead of a 1st.

I don't see this affecting my employment opportunities, I do see it disappointing myself, perhaps my teachers to to a certain extent, and some Mumblers!

And I don't want to disappoint myself. I don't want to disappoint those who have expressed their enthusiasm for me doing well academically.

So the big question is,

What would YOU do in my situation?

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would I do? Stop blogging, this should free up a good few hours in the week so you can do some more work

15/11/07 22:19  
Blogger Joseph said...

What if blogging was your form of therapy, necessary to maintain mental health?

15/11/07 22:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Errr...yeah, the post before me, is not...errr...me. Again. Maybe I need to come up with a crazy alter-ego or something to distinguish myself from the run-of-the-mill 'anonymous's...or something...how about *anonymous*...haha nah, nevermind.

ANYWAY. Well, I think from my previous comment you know very well my particular view on this.

(1) CILASS - fun? Yes. Useful? Perhaps. The only REAL purpose this serves is, perhaps, to give you some ideas what you may want to do with your life after Uni...help you to clarify what you enjoy doing and where your life is going...actually, for someone who "just loves life" (as you say ad infinitum) there is very little talk of the future on here...where are you GOING? What are your GOALS? Well, aside from ones connected with...you-know-what...don't want to say too much in case my comments are blocked again...aiiya.

(2) Jap Soc - Joseph JUST LET IT GO. Again, I'm sure it is a lot of fun but there is no need for you to be as involved as you are any more. In fact, it is sensible not to be. Your work is done, it's time to let go...other people have and you should too.

(3) Your "part-time job" - if this is what I expect it is, you well-know my views on this...but I have no doubt it will start consuming more and more of your time for very marginal rewards but I guess there isn't much I can say to stop this particular runaway train.

However, the great lengths you went to to justify your actions in this post seem to suggest that your mind is made up, whatever your "readers" may think...so I wondering what the point of this is...maybe you're just waiting for someone to comment agreeing with you sacrificing your degree for relatively futile activities. Make no mistake about it, for most people a 2.2 is a disappointment, for you it is a complete failure. High 2.2, low 2.2, who cares. So, let's get this straight...you are thousands of miles away from your fiance, the love of your life, for a whole year...for what? To come away with a 2.2? If that's the current state of play, I'd have just chucked in Uni and stayed in Japan if I were you. I'm sorry, that's the way it is. If you're happy with that, so be it.

All the stuff you've mentioned above is YOUR equivalent of "getting bladdered". That's how some people like to unwind/have fun/socialise - just because you choose to it in other, more "productive" ways doesn't mean that YOU don't have to make sacrifices to get what you SHOULD do out of the Uni experience.

In short, stop faffing around and sort yourself out Joseph. Rant over.

15/11/07 22:55  
Blogger Joseph said...

It's ok, I have a filter that determines whether its The Anonymous or just A Anonymous.

That other anonymous comment was far too short for you.

1) What are my goals? This is someting to be worked on when Twinkle is here at Christmas. They were fixed in paper on the wall, but the past few weeks have seen numerous other opportunities arise, and most of them don't necessitate a 1st, thus my thinking again.

2) Jap soc, let it go?!! Argh arghhh I know, but I'd be letting people down... And who would write the bilingual emails?!

3) My part time job is helping Will out with Willyaki, that is moving the trailer, selling octopus balls, attempting to sort the website out.

Yes, perhaps you are right, perhaps my mind is made up, but I know that I can also be swayed by persuasive arguments and am capable of 180 degree turns. Thus my inviatation for comments. I have had a couple more via email which are helpful.

I would disagree that things such as CILASS and JSoc are 'futile activities. As was pointed out today by the tutor I consulted about this 'issue', they make me far more employable.

If they were futile activities then of course it would be far easier for me to walk away from them.

I understand that you clearly place a great deal of emphasis upon a university degree. Perhaps you have found that doing so in your life has served you well, or perhaps you never took that path and regret it now, and are thus keen to see that I do not make the same 'mistake'. Wild speculation I know.

____

It's interesting having a complete stranger as an adviser. Some people would also say it's a bit silly listening to someone that you know nothing about - like I said in the past, you could just be a dog that has taught itself to type.

Despite this, I'm not willing to cast off what you say without consideration. Clearly, you do know a thing or two!

It also helps to be able to reflect upon what you write, and see how it sits with me. You remind me of someone who was once my coursemate but who, for his own reasons, decided that the uni was not providing what he had signed up for as there was too much "faff" in the form of modules other than the main language course. He has the ability to focus, as you are encouraging me to do. Perhaps I can introduce you two one day.

But yes, reflecting upon what you write, I can't subscribe to the notion that extra-curricular activities cannot be put in the same 'value league' as a degree course. I would still add greater weight to the BA, but the split would be something like 60/40.

As always, thanks. It helps me think things through.

Have you considered advertising yourself as "Personal Life Coach - As seen on TGW"...?

15/11/07 23:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, Joseph, you are constantly contradicting yourself. On the one hand you go on about not wanting to be an “employee” and how loads of your goals don’t require a first…then, in the next paragraph you are going on about all that CILASS stuff saying it makes you more “employable”…errr…what? So, either you care about your employability (in which case I’m pretty sure a first will trump any other cards you may have up your sleeve) or you’re sticking two fingers up to The Man and faffing your way to a 2.2…I think it’s pretty clear that your reasoning isn’t particularly clear on this matter. Plus, sure, you may not need a first to do a lot of stuff, hell there’s plenty of stuff you could do you don’t need any kind of qualification to do, but a first isn’t going to hinder you is it? Whereas a 2.2 might. So, what’s the choice…? Make a few small sacrifices and knuckle down for a few short months earning a very prestigious qualification, which you may or may not “need” or be (for want of a better word) lazy and sleep walk to a qualification which may hold you back somewhere along the line…it’s pretty simple really.

“I can't subscribe to the notion that extra-curricular activities cannot be put in the same 'value league' as a degree course”…yeah, perhaps not, but I’m pretty sure your bank-balance can. Don’t forget you are PAYING for this…it’s like going to a (very, very expensive) restaurant and leaving your dinner half-eaten. I’m not saying cut all social ties and lock yourself in your room for seven months, I’m saying just prune a couple things out (starting with J-Soc – we get it, it’s your baby…but, believe it or not, there are people who like Japan as much as you do/can write Japanese as well as you do…just let it go, who knows, it may just survive without you around…) and focus a little more on the thing YOU ARE THERE FOR. All the other stuff will still be there when you’ve finished…well, most of it…I’m afraid, you’re just going to have to be grown-up about this one.

“Some people would also say it's a bit silly listening to someone that you know nothing about” – au contraire…in a way, it makes complete sense. You know nothing about me, my life or the things I have done…if you knew all these things and knew where I was ‘coming from’, it makes it a lot easier for you to dismiss my advice/opinions because you can attribute it something from my life “Oh, anonymous is only saying that because…” or “anonymous thinks such and such because…”. We all do it, subconsciously we are all judgemental to some degree, whether we like it or not. Therefore, you take away these ‘judgement handles’ and you’re grasping at thin air…you have to accept what I say at face value without any ‘background’ to it. Makes sense, no?

“Personal Life Coach”? Haha…who knows…

PS: I can assure you, I am not a dog who has taught itself to type…although that would be bloody impressive…come to think of it, if I knew a dog that was smart enough to teach itself how to type I’d happily take it’s advice on any subject…

16/11/07 01:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could always try freebasing speed; I estimate that it could boost your productivity by approx. 300%, the long term effects however are not so desirable.

16/11/07 04:05  
Blogger Joseph said...

"Again, Joseph, you are constantly contradicting yourself"

If I wasn't, I wouldn't have these issues.

"Don’t forget you are PAYING for this…it’s like going to a (very, very expensive) restaurant and leaving your dinner half-eaten."

I'm paying to be a student at the University of Sheffield. I'm not paying for a degree.

I think I'll try the speed option.

17/11/07 05:35  

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