Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tough Stuff

Wow, it has already been a month since my last post. My return wouldn’t sound nice without an explanation. It was really a tiring month. Loads of assignments, many term-end projects, last minute submissions, and above all of that, research and semester exams. Only God could have come to my rescue.

I know I sound a little melodramatic, but that's honestly how I felt. I stayed up late almost every single night. So, now it’s time for me to take a break. I am planning to visit my friends place for a sumptuous barbeque dinner. But before I leave, let me pen down some info about the course work in NUS.

Like any other western university, NUS also works under a modular credit system (most popularly known as MC’s). For a graduate masters by course work, you need at least 40 MC’s for graduation. This works out to an average of 10 grad courses, whereas for PhDs it’s only 24 MC’s. But PhDs also have to do their research simultaneously. So, on an average, if you consider the work load, it’s pretty much the same, which is really heavy. 

The main purpose of these courses is to give students necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to understand and tackle real world problems. Also, one shouldn’t forget that the scholarship, which is awarded at the beginning itself, doesn’t guarantee its validity till the end. It is renewed every semester, after evaluation of the grad student’s performance in both course work and research. Hence, it becomes much more important to score in these courses, at least to cross these minimal barriers.

Based on the assessment criteria, all these modules can be classified under three headers: Continuous assessment, open book or take home assessment and our conventional end semester exams. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages. But in my opinion, what it takes to clear any of these is the same thing - your conceptualization and understanding of the subject. Hence, all your assignments and projects contribute a lot.

Presentations and report writing will become a part and parcel of a grad student’s career. Hence I suggest that one equips himself with the required soft skills. A laptop with a wireless adapter is another essential tool, which will come handy during these days.

In conclusion, if you are looking at deepening your knowledge with your grad degree, then this coursework will act as a support, which will train you to sail through your grad life and equip you to take up challenges on a real time basis. Though the path you are following is going to be hard and tough, thinking of the end results will encourage you to move forward.