I don’t know about you, but in college as well as in college, grades were all that mattered. And on the one hand, he may understand the need for institutions to measure the performance of their students and teaching, but it is very clear how this also triggers a loss of taste for learning and a shock when faced with the real world. The ratings do not
Professors and institutions are evaluated according to the performance of their students in academic tests and since reputation is at stake, teaching is limited to preparing ourselves in solving these tests.
It is so much so, we can have 3 exams in a semester of studies for each of the subjects we take: first term, second term, and final exam. We spend most of our time preparing to solve tests instead of absorbing new knowledge.
Teachers encourage participation and attendance with phrases such as: “What we work on in the next class will come out in the exam” or “those who participate will get half a point that will add to the results of the final exam.”
We go to class to take note of what the teacher says and nothing to question his ideas because rather! We remember what our parents told us about taking teachers “in the good” because from experience they understand that they can affect our grades.
In this way, we focus on memorizing and stop wondering about the information we receive. In other cases, we may even generate a kind of fear for these authority figures.
Although this does not happen to everyone, even those of us who survive the system crash when real-life puts us to the test: there come different moments in our lives when we have to think for ourselves something we are not used to.
At school. The year 2008
I was one of those who understood the system: the teachers liked me, memorized for the exam, and always did what they expected of me. In school, he got good grades and different academic and disciplinary recognition.
In college it was no different, although there were times when I faced authority figures, I understood the power they had and it resulted in lowering my head and working harder so that a ‘dispute’ will not affect my grades.
To finish my undergraduate studies, in the last semester I had the opportunity to choose between an undergraduate thesis or professional practice, which was not a difficult decision because what I wanted most was to apply the knowledge I thought I had and start my professional career from one once and for all.
The good performance that I had obtained in the university (weighted average of 4.2 out of 5) helped me to classify in the selection process in different multinationals – which generally asked for a minimum of 3.7.
Then, in the selection processes – which generally consisted of more than 4 stages (profile scan, psycho technical tests, group problem/case study, and interviews) – I was able to excel in reaching the last stages in companies. The latter offered me the position of brand assistant.
I started with all the motivation that a primiparous can have. I did what was asked of me and offered my help whenever I saw the opportunity. I stayed up late at night to help my boss with whatever he needed and I tried to help my coworkers with what they asked of me.
I quickly realized how time was not enough and although I felt that I was giving my best, my results showed the opposite.
Lack of initiative, analysis, and prioritization were things that my boss told me I should improve or what is the same: to think for myself!
Facing the world of work showed me that real-life problems are often not specific but abstract, that I cannot expect to be chewed up, and that I must make my own judgment about the information I receive.
I was able to get good grades in college and university, but I needed to develop other more important skills and the worst thing was that it would take many more attempts at work as an employee to realize that.
Closing a cycle: writing the thesis in Albania
I paused my volunteering in Naples and decided to stay for a month in Zaranda, Albania to do what I had to do. You will think that a month is not enough to finish a thesis but I knew cases of people who wrote it in up to a week.
Besides, I didn’t care all I wanted was to finish.
I paid 150 euros in a hostel near the sea, with an impressive view and breakfast included. It is too cheap a country. And since it was the off-season, I was alone most of the time, which helped me focus on what I had to do.
However, the first two weeks I made no progress. As I was not sure what to write about, I let myself be guided by what my supervisor wanted, but that blocked me more because it was a subject in which I did not believe.
It crossed my mind once again to send everything to hell but I decided to put my frustration aside to start writing. Sometimes we let a problem block us when all we need to do is get started.
In this way, I stopped what I had been writing what my supervisor asked me to do and I focused on a topic that I liked. I wrote down several ideas and then I was able to see one that I could relate to my business administration studies.
I ended up writing about positioning strategies. A subject that interests me and that academically there had not been much researched.
It was two weeks in which I researched and wrote from 9 am to 5 pm. Fortunately, when I told my supervisor that I would change the subject and showed him what I had done, he also liked it a lot.
I finished writing the thesis in Greece, during the volunteer that, despite the precarious conditions, offered me a lot of free time. I delivered it on January 14, 2017, and now from the Philippines, I can say that I am calm. I have done my part and this adventure must continue.
Thank you very much for everything Denmark!