death by paper cut

{October 27, 2007}   SWOT for an Arts Student

swot vac or swot vacation is the week after the twelfth and final week of semester and before any exams start. i.e, swot vac starts now. no wonder uni kids were frolicking on the (south) lawn during the final week of semester in the lull before the storm.

i’ve never really come across the term swot till i came here. we just called it study week in ntu/nie. although i have been called a “swot” by a friend for being such a nerdy brainiac, which i then inferred swot vac to be nerdy-brainiac-week. wikipedia concurs with this definition as a “british slang for an inoffensive person who nevertheless offends his peers by giving too much attention to his schoolwork.”

wikipedia also defines swot analysis as a tool for assessing “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective.” even in the context of assessment preparation, this variation of swot seems apt.

all my assessment are essay based, no fixed date, no designated exam room, no memorizing involved. however, as i qualify to friends who are envious of my position, what i lack in exam papers, i make up for essays which i have to generate at the rate of no slower than a 2000 word paper every 1.5 teaching week.

on top of essay preparation, i have a very heavy reading commitment for all 4 subjects on a weekly basis. for an idea of how heavy is heavy; think 2 novels and 150 pages of course reader material every week.

click image for a closer look at the subject titles.

the upside of being an arts student however is that i only have 10 hours of weekly contact time, no project work and the mid-semester breaks to give me some slack. over the 4 semesters here, i’ve somehow managed to complete just that – a 2000 word essay every 1.5 teaching week – which essentially means that my semester break starts at the end of the 12 weeks of semester most of the time. (on the basis of 8 essays each semester hence 1.5 x 8 = 12)

each time this semester, i’m usually off to some holiday destination while my peers begin their exams. its not that arts students are professional slackers, its just that we’ve have paid our dues and have sweat, toiled and bleed in different ways. 16,000 polished words every semsester is quite a feat.

but for the case in this semester, i do have one more essay question that will only be released at the start of the exam week i.e. the following monday, as a take-home-exam with a one week deadline. so till then, i’m just waiting and feeling paranoid that there’s something else i’m forgetting to do between watching dvds, oh and cooking up a storm. more details in the next post.



that guy stuck his leg highhigh up!

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