One Assignment Two Assignments Three Assignments Four..

First and foremost, I don’t really have four assignments waiting for me under my wings. The title is just a blatant plagiarisation of some nursery rhyme tune that I have playing over and over again in my head in the recent week. It doesn’t help that my stress is compounded by some other reasons (which perhaps is not such a good idea to reveal – as they are rather private) wreaking havoc on my mind. However, it is not up to me to dictate how the world goes. Rather, I can just merely hope that events would play out in a way that would alleviate the chaos that is my feelings right now.

As for assignments, this semester has had a lot of them; much more than last semester, anyway. Unfortunately, assignments are not the only challenge that you face in university; there are also the ever-present tutorials, the quizzes (which some professors saw apt to increase to 5 quizzes per module) and of course, the presentations which you have to do. I understand that the lecturers do this to inject life into the modules, but I can’t help but see the drawbacks of this particular arrangement.

We live in a boiling pot where everyone is trying to outdo each other. And this boiling pot’s name is Singapore (can’t help but be a bit dramatic there). Because of the sheer competitiveness here, grades are the father, the son and the holy spirit of your educational life in Singapore. Of course, when you apply for some tricky little thingys in the educational system like ‘scholarships’, they also say they look at your co-curricular achievements, but do not be fooled. The main yardstick you are still judged by is your academic score, grades and total number of As (which are exactly the same thing).

That being said, it should be painfully obvious to professors and students alike that throwing students down into the deep end with all these quizzes and assignments are a recipe for disaster. Again, that being said, disaster has already struck, but is still being treated with little or no importance, aside from a few emails from our esteemed president of the institution. And, true to our status as students with ‘too much time’ in our hands, myriads of ‘conspiracy theories’ have floated out into campus lore, colouring all parts of the visible spectrum, from feasible to extremely unlikely.

In my humble opinion, offering consultancy sessions to students who are stressed often do not help, if the source of the stress itself is not eliminated. It does not help that some people naturally have more stress than others, or are affected by stress from external sources as well. I have no idea when this has happened in university, but it feels as if the professors sees us as merely homework/assignment-churning machines, instead of the human beings we are.

You may object, even violently, to this. I know of professors who are not like that too, but who are really nice and likable people, just like you and me. Professors are just as human as you and me (yes – this is a major revelation in your life, i know). They would be nice to you if you know them well. Unfortunately for us, most of us are mere strangers to the professor, who they barely see or interact with. A wall would be more important than you, because a wall will at least block their way when they walk – you don’t. Thus, invoking the humanistic spirit that we all have, we couldn’t care less about other people, unless they’re dying, dead or suffering (of which we only fall into the latter – but hardly any human rights activist would consider studying too much a ‘suffering’) and even then, we might not care (refer to cases of social apathy? in psychology).

In the viewpoint of the professor : Will you be kind to a statistic who is not really suffering that much? You went through the same and survived. Why should you?

Perhaps it is time we introspect ourselves and see the flaws of the world as they are, like this for one. After all, what works is not necessarily what’s best or what’s right.

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