(Posted December 2011)
I’ve noticed some of the other students have posted their study plans along with their current progress online. So here. It’s posted. My study plan with my progress (No longer Posted – Studies complete). I decided to take an easy start; told my coordinator I’m in no hurry. Studies here are no more harder or easier than at Eastern Kentucky, yet my easy start turned out to be a bit rougher than anticipated. Not having studied in a couple years and previously working in an unrelated industry left me with a lot of catching up to do (I’m still not at the level I’d like to be).
One big difference between studies here in Finland is that you are not penalized for failure. In the US if you fail a course it leaves a big dent in your transcript. Drastically pulling down your grade point average (GPA) and leaving a clear mark of failure on your record. Scholarships are also often based on GPA; it’s not uncommon for a student to withdraw from a course or simply avoid it in the first place because of this. In my own case, if by midterm I noticed I had an average grade and was slipping I would simply withdraw. A low grade was not worth the risk of losing the scholarship. Here, Education is free. One pressure and incentive removed. This idea of not being penalized is slowly setting in for me. If there is no penalty… why not just sign up for all exams? And all courses? And all seminars? Why not just overload on everything? It’s exactly what I’m doing for the next periods. Now, at least in my previous university, overloaded courses are now billed in addition to standard tuition. In general I believe it inhibits leaning, although one could argue without the added pressure one is not as motivated to pass. I’ve noticed here that a good portion of my classmates here already have stable jobs and are simply looking to get further education. This differs greatly from the American or even Chilean attitude of study full-time, get a degree, get a job. Just rack up enough points to move forward and enjoy life. I can’t deny that if I had a stable job I most likely would have never pursued this Master’s. But now that I’ve started I plan to complete it.
Here the weather is particularly nice. Thinking to head to Porvoo by bike (50 km) with a neighbor one of these days. We’ll see if my bike holds up.
Oh. and I’ve noticed these poster’s all over the city since I arrived. Big push for Chilean wine. Thought it was interesting.