Monday, 13 March 2017

First Year Expectations

Last year I started at Murdoch University as a pre-service secondary educator. I came in a week late to classes because of a mix up with my TAFE records, but I got in none-the-less. I was here! Which is quite surprising considering the fact that when I dropped out of high school mid year 11 that I was never going back... Why I am is a mystery to me.

In my first semester I took three units. I couldn't do my first year prac unit because I didn't have my necessary clearances to be working with children. Instead I did Ideas and Identity which is an Arts foundation unit, Ideas in Education the Education foundation unit and Writing and Creativity for my English elective. My degree is combined, it is two fold. At the end I will be able to leave university with 2 degrees: Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing.

I was nervous coming in, especially a week late. I was over excited and full of enthusiasm which dried up quite quickly. Now I just have a sort of "ok" attitude. I am always excited for the beginning of a new semester, to see what units I am taking, what they are about and what we will be doing during the semester.

I learned quickly about the level of academic writing required for university and I was by far in no way prepared for it. As I have already said, I dropped out of high school so my literacy such as essays and critical responses lacked in experience... Which was made clear when I bombed a major essay right before final exams... Ops. I had my tutors in my English unit telling me to vary my sentence length and tutors in my Education and Arts units telling me to use long sentences... Which one do I listen to? I also learned that my hand writing while atrocious only some of the time becomes atrocious all the time when trying to speed write in lectures which has made me bring my laptop in with me, making it so much easier to write and get all the notes down and readable.

During end of year exams is NaNoWriMo... also known as the National Novel Writing Month. It is held in November and it's the goal of all participants to reach fifty thousand words written in the month... Sounds daunting? Well it's not actually, it's only 1667 words per day. But add on three units of study and zero motivation and ideas... You get about fifteen thousand words and fizz out. As I am doing English and Creative Writing as part of my combined degree, I am not only an avid reader but avid writer as well. I want to not only educate the next generation, but I want to get myself out there, my ideas, my feelings, my thoughts. Even if my novels aren't successful then at least they are out there.

Well I passed my units, I got a credit in Writing and Creativity, a pass in Ideas and Identity and a pass in Ideas in Education... Which I just scrapped through because of that bombed essay. I had expected so much, the stereotypical idea of university... Well that didn't happen and I was left out in deep water trying to swim in shark infested water, also known as the academic world.

Three months break gave me a lot to think about. As well as the passing of my beloved Golden Retriever Charlie, unfortunately passed just after my exams. And then we were gifted with a beautiful German Shepherd, a two year old female, named Abbie. She came exactly when we needed her most, and she has blessed our life with light, laughter and silliness in her sock stealing antics and always empty belly.

I am now back in action working harder than I ever have. Semester 2, final semester of Year 1. Four units now... it's a lot harder than before but it is really interesting and I look forward to see how the rest of the semester goes.