(Sadly) It’s not all play
After being promised my study abroad year was almost ‘like a gap year but without the cost’, I was all for spending my year somewhere exotic. Spending every weekend on the beach and going to bars every night sounded like my idea of heaven. And truth be told, the first few weeks of term definitely lived up to this expectation, but as term commenced fully and now I’m only 2 weeks away from exams, it’s time to get real: your year abroad isn’t just all play.
Luckily I chose first and second year modules this term so the workload is slightly less than what it could’ve been, and the topics are similar to things I have already studied – this drastically reduced my study time and gave me a head start on all my essays. But unfortunately there are essays, and exams, and graded presentations – not fun. The past week I’ve been spending all my time working in the library or in study rooms trying to get all my essays out of the way before exams start, so I can finish my exams and have a relaxing couple of weeks before my flight home!
I think the worst/hardest thing about the deadlines at Monash is that they all come out in week 1: all of your deadlines are listed in your unit guides so that you know exactly when the essays will be due so you can (in theory) start them early. But, we’re all uni students here and we all know that’s not what happens! Having been used to receiving essay titles all the way through term, and having my lecturers reinforcing when these are due every week prior to the due date, it was a huge struggle for me to adapt to Monash’s new system. I kept forgetting deadlines and only managed to remember them when classmates would bring it up, or luckily for some reason I would be checking Moodle. So here’s one tip for your year abroad (or even just your time at Warwick): WRITE DOWN YOUR DEADLINES. In your diary, in your calendar, in your phone; whatever it is just write them down somewhere you’re going to look quite frequently so there’s no chance of you forgetting them!
Another huge difference for me was the style of marking compared to Warwick. Thankfully they don’t have a 17-point scale and, instead, they have a marking rubric telling you exactly what you need to do which makes life a whole lot easier. Their marking system highlights which areas of the rubric you reached and how far into the grade you reached which definitely helps when you want to improve on your future essays. It also gives you a very detailed view of how they have marked your paper so you can see exactly where you went wrong, or you can question your tutor about a very specific area. Also (don’t tell your tutors) but they grade you a lot higher too!
I just have a couple more essays to get out of the way and 2 exams and finally I’ll be able to relive my year abroad dream that I came here with! I hope this has given a brief insight into the work at Monash and (hopefully) hasn’t put you off!