Back to school
Hello all and Happy New Year! After a stupendous three weeks in New Zealand, I’m now back at Keele
It’s actually the second week of term, but the last week of the semester! Confused? If you’re over 40 (maybe even over 30?) you will be
There are still, as far as I can make out, three terms in the academic year, but they are purely for vacation purposes, i.e. the first term ended in time for Christmas vacation, the second will end for Easter vacation and the third for summer
But all teaching and exams is based on the two semester system. First semester is 26 September to 20 January. Second semester is 23 January to 9 June
The point of all this is that the first two weeks of this term (the last two weeks of the first semester) are designated as exam weeks. In a particularly perverse fashion most students (thankfully Creative Writing eschews such mundane formalities as exams!) nowadays have (theoretically) to spend their Christmas holidays revising!
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but this never used to happen back in the seventies. Apart from FY, when there were some ‘exams’ (multiple choice tests) for the lecture course just before Christmas, all ‘serious’ exams only took place at the end of the second and third terms
I would have thought that all the Christmas revision could have been avoided by starting the academic year two weeks earlier and having all exams before the holidays!
Still it’s not as if the current crop of students lack for support during these two weeks. Per the Keele website, “Teams across the university have come together to help support you during what can sometimes be a stressful exam period”
First up there are free massages – 15 minutes per student on a first come first served basis. Then there’s free water and free fruit available in the library. The University’s Executive Chef, Peter has even created an ‘Exam Brain Booster Diet’ to go along with his year round ‘Ten Golden Rules for a Healthy Mind’. And there are a whole raft of services to help students ‘Stay Calm’. These include drop-in sessions at the Student Support centre in the Tawney Building, bookable appointments at the Counselling and Mental health Support service, special fitness classes at the Sports Centre, Relaxation Pottery Art sessions in the Library, and, my absolute favourite, the Puppy Room in the Students’ Union, where students can interact with Guide Dogs or puppies in training!
All a far cry from those coffee tablets (name?) that was all that was (legally) available to help us in the Dark Ages!