Tag Archives: student

Student Confidence

Something I see quite often with the higher education students I’m around is a loss of confidence in themselves.

On the surface they appear to be growing, both physically and mentally, but underneath not all is well. Most I see come straight from school, teenagers, where they have worked themselves up to ‘top-dog’ position within their own school hierarchy. They come in to start their degree courses and it’s all new and novel. For many it’s the first time they’ve truly been away from parental control! This is all something different to be explored, they’re often a bit nervous but it’s still really exciting. This is at the start, what about at the end.

The courses I see them do typically last five years, so having come in full of the joys of proverbial youth they are leaving as adults. Maybe relatively young adults, but still very much adults.

They’ve grown up!

Sometimes this transition into adulthood can happen quite quickly. I’ve seen students I’d class as teenagers at the start of a semester, but by the end, 12 weeks later, I realise I’m talking to an adult. That’s a fast change! More usually it’s a gentle development spread over three or four years. However for some it can cause problems.

As they start to grow up there is the realisation and appreciation that their actions do have consequences, and in turn other people’s actions have consequences upon them. Things you did as a teenager would just be passed off as a bit of fun, as a bit of youthful exuberance. It really didn’t matter as tomorrow would be another day and yesterday would soon be forgotten. Now however those same actions are viewed differently, you are being held responsible for your behaviour in the same way that you now hold others responsible for their behaviour. So there develops a need to gain the approval and acceptance from others of what you’re doing, you can’t just brush things off as if they don’t matter.

For some this is just part of growing up. For others it can make them stop and question what they did before, and this in turn lead to uncertainty as to what they are doing now. When 17 or 18 I thought I was reasonably grown up and mature, but looking back I can see I really wasn’t. How could I have had that attitude then, but I currently now think I’m ‘gown up and mature’, so in reality are my current activities of similar worthlessness?

What about the future? As a teenager I saw the future as just something out there, for tomorrow, not now; but ‘now’ has arrived and there’s uncertainty as to what will happen tomorrow. (All through education you had a fair idea where you would be this time next year – back in the class room; but once you get into final year, where will you be in 12 months’ time – you will not be here!)

For some this can lead to a crisis of confidence in themselves. Where are they going and what do they want to do with themselves. Uncertainty which in turn can lead to depression; a mix of not knowing and what’s the point anyway. Usually by the time it comes to them leaving with their degrees most have developed enough to get a workable amount of control back into their lives. For others though, uncertainty can remain. However in current society showing ‘weakness’ is itself seen as being weak, so up go the false walls and barriers.

But like it or not, it is eventually time for them to move on, life does not stand still. Whatever happens, you just have to do the best you can to suit whatever situation you find yourself in. That’s life!


Vlogs, Traffic problems, students.

First few 1 minute videos up. So far so good. It does, however, take me hours rather than minutes to get each one done. What has been interesting is looking around one or two other experienced, regular YouTube / BlogTV uploaders who are doing the VEDA thing, and seeing that this putting something up every day has been giving them problems. Even for experienced vloggers it’s not been as easy as it looks; a bit reassuring for us mere mortals. I’ll just stick with my attempts of twice during the week and once on the week-end.
Doing it just for 1 minute dose add an extra level of complexity to it though. No, ‘oh I’ve finish early so stop now’. No being able to take time to talk about something. Just 60 seconds to work with. Though I will admit my 60 seconds is plus or minus 5 seconds or so. I’ve mentioned in other places, peesemould, who managed to do a YouTube minute a day video for a year!

Easter long week-end over. Managed to get out on my bike (Honda 500) for the first time in ages. Went down to a local seaside town of Largs. Headed down mid morning time (holiday Monday) and the traffic was not too heavy. Left to returned to Glasgow (earlier than anticipated in order to meet a friend) about 2 p.m. and on my way out passed around 4 miles of stationary traffic all trying to get into the town! Then I found myself in a bit of a queue of slow moving vehicles, however being on a bike enabled me get passed everything fairly easily. What was causing the blockage – one of those ‘old grannies’, I’ll guess around 70 or 75, could hardly see over the steering wheel, travelling at a speed that was causing huge problems to other road users. I do appreciate that, especially in more rural areas with limited public transport, the car is important to enable people to travel and get around. However a style of driving that may have been acceptable 40 years ago when there was far less traffic on the roads (and the whole of life went at a slower pace) is now a style that is not suitable in today’s conditions.

It’s a two week Easter break for the students, but most are in busy building projects. It’s really showing now with deadlines approaching; those who have made the effort and those who have not!

January exams, and a Sheffield Gathering

New Year’s come and gone, some good BlogTV stuff over that period. And now it’s the middle of exam time at Uni. Whoever had the ‘bright idea’ of having exams at the start of January should have their bollocks crushed between two bricks! Why not start the Uni term / semester a couple of weeks earlier and then hold the exams before Christmas, even if they are not marked till January?
Of course, with the students concentrating on exam stuff they’re not bothering me with prokect work. This does mean I have no excuse now for not getting on with all those tasks that I hate doing but have managed to delay and delay. Oh Shit, never mind.
Another Gathering attended in January, down in Sheffield. Well attended with a few well known YouTubers, which was nice. A bit too cold and wet, but then it is the middle of winter, so what in the fu*k do you expect!!! However I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Sheffield may be very nice as an open-planned city centre, but it does mean that there are very few covered places that a large crowd can go to and not be in the way, or upsetting security staff. Not a problem being stuck outside when it’s warm, but not when it’s cold, wet and rather windy. But still had a good time 🙂

Week 3

O.K., so we’re only into week 3, but by the end of this week we’ll be 1/4 the way through the semester already. Funny really, each time I mention this to the students, and then ask them ‘what have you learnt in this first quarter’, they all turn round and find some quite novel ways of expressing themselves back to me.
One or two are (at last) starting to think about their projects, I hope they get their fingers out soon, or we’ll have the usual thing of everyone turning up towards the end, wanting everything engineered and made up for them, all at the same time!
Anyway, by the end of next week it’ll be 1/3 of the semester gone! Oh well, exams before you know it!

Semester start.

Well, Uni’s started again, and the place is full of the usual crowd of lost souls wandering around (cluttering up the corridors) trying to find their lecture rooms and the like.
The computer labs have filled up. Not much study mind you, but lots of on-line games and catching up on YouTube and BeBo. There’s always one ‘silly game’ which becomes the favourite for that year – by this time next week it should become apparent what it’ll be.
I guess I’ll have to admit that it’s kind of nice to see some familiar faces around, and find out their marks from the previous year’s projects, especially those that I was involved in.

I’ve found I can split the students into three distinct groups:-

A minority group who really should not be here. The amount of effort they put in is minimal, and expect everything to be done for them. They’re usually easily spotted – when they hit a problem they don’t understand, their reaction is to say something like “…but we haven’t been taught that…” No, or little effort to discover or to find out, just expect everything to be handed to them. Sorry, this is not a school with ‘teachers’, but a university where you are expected to get off you arse and do some research.
They also very rarely bother to say ‘thank-you’ when people help them. Most will get through the course and get their degree, but…. Oh well.

A majority middle group of good guys and girls who get on and get their stuff done. Generally an O.K. group to work with. They’ll get through their courses, probably with mixed marks – though usually in the mid to high area, and end up with some nice jobs. Good for them.

Then a final minority group who really do make the effort. They are usually, but not necessarily the brightest, but really do knuckle down and when they hit a problem they don’t understand, their reaction is to go and investigate it and sort it out themselves. When they do ask for assistance they usually want to know how to solve the problem, so they can then go and do it themselves, rather than just to be given the answer. This crowd, I must admit, is really good to work with, and from whom I learn lots. The sad thing is that they will end up with the same overall type of qualification as those who really made bugger-all effort, but got through the system. Such is life.

First TFI

It’s nearly the end of September, so Uni is starting again shortly. Seena few familiar faces around the city, the Student’s Union is filling up, and yesterday was the first of the new season’s TFIs. Though it was reasonably full, I’ve seen it fuller. But this is just Freshers’ week, not all the serious TFI head-cases are back yet, but a few were there! Be curious to see what it’s like next week when everyone’s back for lectures. Did get a couple of web-cam type video clips taken of some of the TFI stuff, and uploaded them to YouTube. Should get one or two views.
It’s a good thing most parents haven’t figured out things like YouTube yet – they’d probably have a fit if they saw what their lovely little offspring get up to after a few beers too many!

Get the right crowd in TFI and in the right mood, and the atmosphere in there is Absolutely Amazing. It doesn’t happen so often now (since a change in drinking policy), but when it does, then it’s just so awesomely mind-blowing.

I’m off to Cornwall for a couple of days. Make a nicebreak from here. Though made sure I should be back for next Friday!